Superintendents disappointed in state report cards

SIDNEY — Area superintendents are disappointed by the lack of information provided in the 2020 Ohio Report Cards released this week by the Ohio Department of Education.

The state released an abbreviated version of the report card which do not contain overall grades for any district or building, individual grades or ratings for given components or performance measures. The report cards also do not include any information about student performance on state tests, the academic growth of students during the school year and the extent to which achievement gaps are being addressed for students. This is in keeping with legislation passed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that also canceled the administration of most state tests for the last portion of the 2019-2020 school year.

“Today (Friday) is the first day I’ve had a chance to even look at it. It’s really useless and some of the data is wrong. It’s says that only 87.5% of our principals have a bachelors degree. All of our principals have a Master’s. It also says that 98.9% of our teachers have a bachelor’s degree again that’s false. All the data from the state is suspect at best,” said Sidney City Schools Superintendent Bob Humble.

Versailles School District Superintendent Aaron Moran agrees the report card provides little to no information.

“I do not see the report card as being useful this year,” said Moran.

Botkins Local School District Superintendent Jeff McPheron said his district is proceeding with plans already in place.

“At Botkins we plan to move forward with our goals from last year. We feel we have unfinished business with those areas of focus due to the school year being cut short and no face to face classes in the spring. This year’s report card does not give us enough significant data to change goals or change areas of focus for this school year,” said McPheron.

According to the state, the edition of the Ohio School Report Cards does, however, provide information on graduation rates, Prepared for Success indicators and some other measures. In addition, much of the usual demographic and enrollment data is available along with other district and school operational details.

“While schools have less information available than in years past, we still emphasize the importance of gauging where students are in terms of academic achievement and using available district data to inform improvement to instruction,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “The educationcommunity’s goal is to carry forward the teamwork, collaboration and care we’ve seen since last spring through this new academic year and beyond. We have never been more focused, united and determined to ensure each child is challenged to learn, prepared to pursue a fulfilling post-high school path and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society.”

Some highlights of this year’s report card results include:

• Continued improvement in the high school graduation rate– The four-year graduation rate stands at 85.9 percent for the Class of 2019, up from 85.3 percent the previous year. This is an increase of 7.9 percent since 2010.

• More students are meeting the Prepared for Success measure– The statewide percentage has increased to 42 percent with 3,994 more students contributing points to the readiness indicators compared to last year. The statewide percentage has increased every year this measure has been reported – up 7.8 percent since 2016.

• Gains in industry-recognized credentials and dual enrollment- Nearly 18,200 students in the Classes of 2018 and 2019 earned industry-recognized credentials, an increase of 3,427 from the previous year. The number ofstudents earning dual enrollment credits jumped 6,121 from the year before and has grown 58 percent since 2017.

Given the limited data available on the report cards this year, the state said, it will be challenging to gauge how well a particular school or district is performing. All the more reason individuals interested in understanding school performance should talk with parents, students, teachers and graduates for insight into what a school really means to students, families and the community.