Report Card: Ohio schools will be judged with star rating

By J.D. Davidson - The Center Square

COLUMBUS — Ohio parents will continue to evaluate their children’s school success with a letter grade, but they now will use stars to decide whether their schools or school districts are making the grade.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 82 into law, creating the new state school report card and making the ACT or SAT optional for students in order to graduate.

Students currently must take one of the college entrance examines as part of Ohio’s graduation requirements. Parents or guardians now can opt students out of the tests, beginning next year.

Paying for and administering the ACT test for all high school students costs the state nearly $5 million, according to the Legislative Service Commission.

“This bill embraces local control for school districts and parents,” said Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton. “Some high school students may have a different career path that doesn’t include going to college, and Ohio taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for unnecessary testing.”

The Senate added to the bill the new state school report card that replaces letter grades with a five-star rating system. The five rated components are achievement, progress, gap closing, early literacy and graduation rate. A sixth component — college, career, workforce and military readiness — will be reported but not graded for three years.

“This new report card plan will make it easier for parents and faculty to understand how each school is performing in order to help improve Ohio’s overall education system,” Cross said.

The move drew praise from the Fordham Institute, a national education policy think tank that has a presence in Ohio.

“In passing House Bill 82, state legislators made much-needed reforms to Ohio’s report card. The new model will be fairer to schools by placing more emphasis on students’ annual progress, no matter where they start the year,” said Aaron Churchill, Ohio research director for the Fordham Institute. “And, through its five-star rating system, the report card will offer Ohio parents and taxpayers clear, user-friendly information about the performance of their local schools.”

By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square

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