Districts wait for new school rating system; Gov. DeWine signaled he'd sign the bill with changes

Posted at 8:07 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 08:07:00-04

CLEVELAND — A bill that made it through both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly would change the outward facing way school districts in Ohio are ranked. Instead of using a letter rating, it would implement a star system.

If Gov. Mike DeWine signs the bill; it would be the second time the performance system for state schools changed in a decade. The current letter system was implemented in 2012.

"Ohio school report cards are very kind of a high profile, high visibility thing," said Chris Woolard the Senior Executive Director for the Center for Performance and Impact for the Ohio Department of Education.

Woolard said there isn't much difference between a star and a letter grade "And part of it was designed to, in fact, make it simpler."

The start system will go from five stars to one star:

  • 5-Stars: Significantly Exceeds State Standards,
  • 4.5 to 4-Stars: Exceeds State Standards,
  • 3.5 to 3-Stars: Meets State Standards,
  • 2.5 to 2-Stars: Needs Support to Meet State Standards,
  • 1.5 to 1-Stars: Needs Significant Support to Meet State Standards

Some of the metrics used to calculate the final rating will change which means schools could see a difference in their overall rating.

"The main reason for this kind of system is to drive improvement," Woolard said. "So, whether it's a system or a star system, there's going to be a lot of supports in place that are designed to target those who are who are struggling or have certain challenges in certain areas."

Oberlin City Schools received a "D" rating on the last report cards which were released in 2019.

"It shows that we have to grow, whether it's A, B, C or D report card or whether we are in two or three stars to show that we have to grow," said David Hall the superintendent in the district.

More than 120 districts in the state had "D" grades on the 2019 report. Four had "F" grades including East Cleveland City Schools. Currently, a school with an F rating would be considered "academic emergencies" and students would be eligible for vouchers.

Hall said the report cards are a good measurement, but they don't show everything.

"It's not a true reflection, the current report card, of things that are going on within Oberlin City Schools," he said.

Hall said more emphasis needs to be placed on "the whole student" which includes the social and emotional aspects of education not just classroom metrics.

"Hopefully, this report card will have some components and we'll be able to measure a holistic child with the social emotional pieces as well as the academic pieces," he said.

Schools may see the new star system in the reports that are released for the 2021-2022 year. The report cards coming out this Fall will only have data. No letter grades will be assigned to districts because of the pandemic.