On September 15, Ohio released report cards for approximately 600 school districts and 3,500 public schools (district and charter). These report cards are based on state exam results from the 2015-16 school year, along with several other gauges of student success. This year’s report card analysis, Setting Sights on Excellence, offers a close look at the report card data while also placing them within the context of Ohio’s major policy reforms. With the aim of readying more students for college and career, such reforms include a shift to higher learning standards and more rigorous state assessments. 

The key findings:

  • Reflecting Ohio’s higher learning standards, fewer students in Ohio are deemed “proficient” on state exams than in previous years. In 2015-16, roughly 55 to 65 percent of Ohio pupils met the proficiency bar in the core subjects. Nevertheless, Ohio’s proficiency benchmark still falls short of matching a rigorous, college and career ready standard.
  • In turn, school ratings across that state have declined. In urban areas, public schools receive almost universally low ratings on proficiency based metrics: On the state’s performance index—a key gauge of student achievement—94 percent of urban schools received D or F ratings in 2015-16. This reflects both higher standards and the persistent achievement gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
  • Ohio’s urban schools, however, can perform well on the value added measure—a gauge of student growth that is not correlated with demographics. In 2015-16, 29 percent of urban charter schools received an A or B rating on value added, while 19 percent of district-run schools did so. This report recognizes twenty-five high-performing urban schools that have earned strong value added results over the past three years.

In addition to analyses of statewide data, Setting Sights on Excellence provides an in-depth look at the performance of charter and district sectors in the Ohio Big Eight cities (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown). Download the report today to learn more about Ohio’s report cards.

Aaron Churchill is the Ohio research director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where he has worked since 2012. In this role, Aaron oversees a portfolio of research projects aimed at strengthening education policy in Ohio. He also writes regularly on Fordham’s blog, the Ohio Gadfly Daily, and contributes analytic support for…

View Full Bio