Earlier today, the Ohio Department of Education released report cards for the 2020–21 school year. Due to emergency legislative measures enacted due to the pandemic, this year’s report cards do not include any school ratings (those are slated to return next fall). These data, however, allow parents, educators, and the public to get a clearer picture of where students stand amid much disruption to their education.
“Publishing and analyzing these report card data are a critical first step in Ohio’s academic recovery efforts,” said Aaron Churchill, Ohio Research Director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “While student achievement has declined across the board, the data will allow state and local leaders to set a baseline and track progress moving forward. The detailed information about achievement by student groups and grade levels will further allow policymakers to target resources to the children who most need the extra help.”
According to a Septemberof spring 2021 state test data, researchers from Ohio State University found that low-income and minority students lost more academic ground during the pandemic than their peers. The steeper declines in the performance index (PI) scores of Ohio’s high-poverty “Big Eight” schools offer further evidence of this pattern. Note, however, that the achievement losses were greater in Ohio’s Big Eight school districts than in Big Eight charter schools, suggesting that charters on average may have more effectively remediated learning losses.
Note: The Big Eight district and charter averages are weighted by the enrollment of each district and charter school. The Big Eight cities are Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. The statewide average decline was -14.4%. The performance index is a composite measure of student achievement across all state exams.
“Ohio has a tall task ahead to get students back on track and doing reading and math on grade level,” continued Churchill. “The challenge, however, is not insurmountable and starts with an honest reflection of exactly how our students were impacted by the pandemic.”