A great school is set up to help students succeed academically. School leaders focus on empowering teachers to focus on teaching. They minimize the disruptions and distractions so that students can focus on learning and maturing. They don’t make excuses – the school leaders, teachers, and students all work hard together and have fun learning.
When it comes to evaluating a school’s quality, a little bit of research will help you find out how the students perform and progress academically in each school you're considering.
State Report Cards for Public Schools
Every public school building and district receives a report card from the State of Ohio that evaluates the achievement and progress of its students. A school’s state report card lists an A-F state rating, which is a snapshot scorecard of how the school’s students perform academically.
On the Ohio Department of Education’s website, you will find report cards for all public school buildings and districts, including charter schools and career technical education centers. You can check a public school’s report card on the Ohio Department of Education’s website.
The Ohio Department of Education is moving to a new way of rating public schools. They are using an A-F rating system to grade particular areas of each school’s academic performance. In two years, schools will also begin receiving an overall A-F rating. For now, schools only receive a grade for the individual sections that you will see below.
- A+ (Excellent with Distinction)
- A (Excellent)
- B (Effective)
- C (Continuous Improvement)
- D (Academic Watch)
- F (Academic Emergency)
Reading a Public School’s State Report Card
Over the next couple of years, Ohio’s leaders are raising the bar for Ohio students. This is a great step forward to make sure all Ohio students are prepared for college and the workforce. But most schools expect to see their ratings drop down. This is likely to happen all across the state and represent more accurately how schools stack up to college and career standards.
There are different types of data included on the state report cards. The following components are graded on each school and district’s report card:
- Student achievement data show how many students reached each academic level on the state achievement tests.
- The Annual Measurable Objectives measures the academic performance of specific groups of students. These data might be especially interesting for you if your child has one or more of these characteristics. You will find this in the Gap Closing section of the report card.
- Racial groups
- Special Needs
- Economically disadvantaged
- Limited English proficiency
- The value-added data show if students learn a year’s worth of material, relative to their peers in the state. It basically illustrates whether students are catching up or falling behind. You want to choose a school where students are making positive (+) value-added gains each year.
- A B-rated school with positive (+) value-added scores may be even better than an A-rated school with negative (-) value-added scores. This is because the students are actually falling behind at an A-rated school with negative value-added scores.
- In addition to the value-added data for all students in a school or district, the report card also includes value-added data for specific groups:
- gifted students
- students with special needs
- students who are in the bottom 20% of achievement statewide
This grade represents the percentage of students who entered the 9th grade and graduated 4 and 5 years later.
K-3 literacy (coming soon)
This component will measure how well schools are helping young students who read below grade level.
Prepared for Success (coming soon)
The component grade will be based on the percentage of a school or district’s graduating class that demonstrates college and career readiness. Using multiple measures for college and career readiness allow districts to showcase their unique approaches.
The Ohio Department of Education has a helpful resource guide to help you better understand the information presented on the new state report cards.
Schools that don't receive state report cards
You can still learn about the quality of these schools by asking to see the schools’ test data from past years to find out how their students are doing. You can also ask them if they have any testing data that would specifically relate to your child, for example testing data for students with special needs or gifted students.
Now that you've determined what makes a great school,
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