The Ohio Department of Education plans to roll out last year’s school report cards in two segments with the first release coming in January — about half a school year later than usual.
After a year of new and rigorous testing in 2014-15 that resulted in parent and teacher blowback, Ohio lawmakers in July canceled their contract with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, better known as PARCC.
The consortia developed and sold Ohio its English and Math tests as states joined in an effort to establish national academic standards. Parents and teachers said the tests consumed too much time.
The results from those tests are a major factor in the report cards, which usually come out in August or September.
Report cards have shifted to a letter grade system for multiple categories. The Ohio Department of Education, which expects proficiency scores to be lower in the next report cards, is blaming PARCC for the slow turnaround.
In a statement this week, the ODE acknowledged that the change in tests was expected to cause delays, but “unexpected, multi-week delays caused by the late delivery of PARCC results pushed these timelines back further.”
“Next year, the ... schedule will be similar to that of previous years and the 2016 report card release will be no later than Sept. 15, 2016,” the department said.
This school year, Ohio will use tests developed by AIR, or the American Institutes for Research. This test company designed Ohio’s new social studies and science tests. It will deliver all state tests next year.
Individual school districts were to begin review of last year’s test data this month so that they can identify errors before report cards are released. Some are already reporting issues a week after release of raw proficiency scores.
Akron’s director of curriculum and instruction, Ellen McWilliams, said the school district’s PARCC data is “relatively clean” while the data from AIR — which is the company hired by the state for next year — are “missing thousands of records.”
The public will see results on three component grades on Jan. 14, including how well elementary students are reading, whether schools are hitting graduation targets and if graduates are prepared for college and the workforce.
A second set of grades to be released Feb. 25 will cover achievement (which typically favors wealthier schools), learning gains (developed to control for poverty) and whether subsets of students based on race, poverty and other factors are catching up to higher-performing students. Information on the performance of gifted students and how districts spend money will also become available.
Lastly, the department will release new report cards on career-education programs — formerly known as joint vocational schools — and dropout recovery charter schools, which are exempt from closure for two more years.
Though giving A’s and F’s may grab the attention of parents and prospective home buyers, legislators have postponed many penalties for teachers, schools and administrators as the state continues its rocky transition to a new report card system and testing regimen.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @DougLivingstonABJ.