District News

Ohio report cards provide incomplete picture

Posted on: January 14, 2016

The Ohio Department of Education today released its first round of 2014-2015 report card results for the state’s school districts.

This release covers only a small part of the overall report card in part because of the delays in receiving testing data from last spring’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test.

Problems with deploying the new online test, plus outcry from school districts and the public over the amount of class time taken up by the test, prompted Gov. John Kasich to scrap PARCC for good as part of his biennial budget in June 2015.

In addition to technology problems with the test, parents all over Ohio chose to not have their students participate in state assessments, including more than 250 such instances at Little Miami. The state counts these scores as zeros, resulting in an incomplete representation of a district’s performance.

Little Miami Superintendent Greg Power said he strongly disagrees with the state releasing data from a PARCC assessment that has been scrapped, then applying a letter grade to school districts from those results.

“While we believe strongly in accountability, we question the nature of state-mandated assessments and the report card,” he said. “I think our lawmakers may be using this for something it was never intended: To be used as a political instrument.”

A state lawmaker agrees. Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, chairwoman of the Ohio Senate Education Committee, recently said that parents and communities should disregard the portions of the report card that are based on PARCC results.

“The scores will drop. They will drop precipitously,” Lehner said in a Jan. 10 article in The Columbus Dispatch. “It is not to be taken as a sign that anything bad is happening in your school. Any data that was derived from the test last year, no one should really pay any attention to it.”

Educators at Little Miami use several assessment tools outside of state-mandated testing throughout the year to gauge student achievement and to identify where students may need help.

State assessments capture only a snapshot of a district’s story, Power said. Little Miami and more than 60 districts throughout Ohio release an annual Quality Profile that includes additional accountability measures that better define a high-quality education and are not included in the state’s report card.

Click to view Little Miami's 2014-2015 Quality Profile.