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Ohio School Districts Graded on Remote Learning, Technology

The state of Ohio’s annual report cards for school districts, set to be released today, will include data on absenteeism and the impact of remote learning, but not overall performance grades and district rankings.

Mike DeWine signing bill.jpg
Gov. Mike DeWine, seen here signing legislation on Tuesday, signed 13 more bills into law on Thursday, including measures to list judicial candidates’ party affiliation on ballots and change the state’s “report-card” system for schools and school districts. (Jeremy Pelzer,
Jeremy Pelzer
(TNS) — The state plans to release report cards for Ohio’s school districts Thursday, but without overall performance grades and without rankings.

This is the second year the state won’t rate school district performance with a grade of A to F – a decision legislators made because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on education.

The U.S. Department of Education required states administer standardized tests last spring to illuminate where kids needed extra help. But the federal government also gave states permission to not penalize schools with poor test results or low attendance on testing days.

Today’s release will include data collected for each district on a variety of points, some of which were added to help sort out the impact of remote learning through the pandemic.

“Our thought is it’s always great to have data,” said Mandy Minick, chief communications officer for the Ohio Department of Education.

The pandemic turned traditional public school education upside down, forcing districts to go to remote models and find ways to teach students in non-traditional settings.

Some of the assessment information is linked to that, such as data that will look at delivery models and use of technology, Minick said.

The reports will also have data about absenteeism, an area that presented challenges with remote learning.

But other data areas won’t be rated in this year’s report cards.

The General Assembly removed school performance index ratings, rankings for gifted programs and those for value-added by the district’s educational approach.

The intent of the report cards released this year is to report all available data for the purposes of recovery and improvement planning, according to the Department of Education.

Districts still are sorting through all the impacts of the pandemic on education, and it may still take a year or two before a complete picture is developed, Minick said.

Beginning next year, that system will be replaced by one that awards districts stars based on their level of performance.

The new system was approved in June by the General Assembly, discarding the grading system that had many critics, who objected to the practice of labeling districts as failing if they received low grades.

“This will be, according to all parties, a vast improvement over the current report card system, which will be more reflective of what is going on in our schools,” state Sen. Andrew Brenner, a Columbus-area Republican who helped lead the compromise, said when the Senate approved the legislation.

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