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Ohio School Report Card Data Will Leave Off the Important Bits

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Rubik's cube

The situation is somewhat puzzling.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Education will release a limited set of school performance data.

But it will not release the calculated performance measures that actually have consequences for schools -- even though it will release the numbers used to calculate those measures.

That's weird, right?

The information released tomorrow will not include the performance index (a weighted average serves as a single overall measure of a school's standardized test performance) or state grades.

Those two measures are used to determine things like which students can get private-school vouchers, where charter schools can open, and which charter schools must close. They decide which low-performing schools must change their operations and which high-performing schools get extra state funding.

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Those things are kind of important.

The release of the full set of report card data is on hold pending the outcome of the state auditor's investigation into whether schools have falsified student attendance records.

Sure, you might be able to take tomorrow's data, maybe combine it with already released preliminary information and run it through this formula (page 8, if you're interested) and figure some districts' grades out for yourself.

But one might think it's the state's job to do that.

(If you do decide to run your school or district's numbers, let us know.)

Question Time with Ohio Department of Education Spokesman John Charlton

Q: Why won't the state release the performance index figures tomorrow?

A: "It hasn't been calculated yet."

Q: Was that because the department ran out of time?

A: Nope. "We have chosen not to calculate it."

Q: The performance index is based on test passing rates. The department will release those tomorrow. Is the department confident that those test passing rates are accurate?

A: "Very confident."

Q: So if the underlying data is accurate, why won't the full set of performance measures be released?

A: "We have chosen not to [release them]."

Q: That's kind of puzzling, hm?

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