Examining The State Report Cards' A-F Labeling System And The Data In Behind Those Grades

Report card time is often a stressful one for students, and it’s turning out to be that way for school districts and charter schools in Ohio as well, with the release of state report cards that have gotten angry reactions from some school officials. State school superintendent Paolo DeMaria says report cards show important data, but that the letter grades aren’t the only factor that determines good schools. But Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) says he’s working on legislation to scrap the A-F grading system he once supported. House Education Committee chair Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) says the report cards are important, but he’s open to moving away from overall letter grades too. But Senate Education Committee chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) says the letter grades aren’t the real problem with the report cards. And Becky Higgins with the Ohio Education Association says the data is complicated, but one message comes through clearly.

There’s a massive amount of data buried in the report cards, and experts are still sifting through it. One of those people is Howard Fleeter with the Ohio Education Policy Institute, which analyzes that information for the state’s traditional public schools. Chad Aldis is with the Fordham Institute, a pro-charter school research group.  Fleeter and Aldis agree that the data in the report cards is vitally important and that the report cards measure what they’re capable of measuring – and that the negative reviews of the report cards are gut reactions to the information in them. And while they work with groups with different perspectives on K-12 education, they agree on other things as well.





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