Numerous changes to Ohio’s educational system continue to take place, with many operational details for 2015 – 16 still unknown. We continue to expand our understanding of the third grade reading guarantee, new graduation requirements for the Class of 2018, and new report cards for districts and buildings. Following is a brief summary the changes.
Testing: Ohio’s testing system proved to be very controversial last school year. As a result, the PARCC tests in math and English language arts will not be used. However, there are both federal and state requirements with regard to tested grades and subjects. Recent legislation made the following changes in order to maintain legal requirements, and provide more time for classroom instruction. There will be one testing window in the second half of the year and testing time will be reduced from last year. Current plans call for online testing to replace paper pencil tests, with districts having a choice next school year. The vendor for the math and English language arts tests will be American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR is very familiar to Ohio. It is the current vendor for Ohio’s revised science and social studies tests, as well as former tests, the OGT and Ohio Achievement Assessments. Finally, results from last year’s tests will be released sometime next fall.
Third Grade Reading Guarantee: The third grade reading guarantee requires that to be promoted to fourth grade, students must meet minimum proficiency on a test that measures reading. The test has been the third grade reading OAA. However, last year was the final administration of the third grade reading OAA. It will be replaced with the English language arts test that all students in grades 3 – 8 must take. The guarantee further requires students be evaluated and those not reading on grade level in grades K -3 be placed on a reading improvement plan.
Graduation Requirements: As a result of HB 487, the OGT will be phased out, and the Class of 2018 (2014 - 15 freshmen) and beyond will take seven end-of-course exams in algebra, geometry, science, American history, American government, English I and English II. Additionally, all students will take a nationally recognized college admission exam (such as ACT) in 11th grade.
Students graduating in 2018 and beyond will have three ways (in addition to course credit) to qualify for graduation and earn their high school diploma:
1. Earn a cumulative score on seven end-of-course exams.
2. Earn a “remediation free” score on a yet to be selected nationally recognized college admission exam (such as ACT); or
3. Earn an industry-recognized credential or state license for practice in a vocation and achieve a score that demonstrates workforce readiness and employability on a job skills assessment.
Two years ago Ohio began phasing in a new complicated report card system for buildings and districts. Schools will receive letter grades (A-F) on measures like graduation rate. The grades for measures will be combined into broad categories called components. Each component will also receive a letter grade. Component grades will be combined into an overall grade for the building or district. Overall letter grades will be first issued in 2017 – 18. The phase in of Ohio’s new accountability system began in August of 2013. Below are the components for the next report card which is currently scheduled for release in January 2016.
Achievement: Achievement consists of two measures, Performance Indicators and Performance Index. Performance Indicators show the total passing percentage for each tested area. We do not know the percentage of students that must reach proficient or better on last year’s tests to meet or get “credit” for achieving an indicator. The Performance Index calculates the achievement level of every tested student. Schools and districts are graded based upon how well each student does on all tested subjects and grades. More points are awarded for students achieving at higher levels (advanced, accelerated, proficient, etc.).
Progress: The Progress measure looks at the annual improvement or growth for each student. In other words, did a student gain more or less than a year of knowledge? It is the same as the former Value Added measure, except the component rates growth in multiple student groups in addition to overall progress.
Gap Closing: Gap Closing is similar to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Districts and schools success on meeting passing percentage targets called Annual Measureable Objectives (AMOs) determines the letter grade earned in this component. These targets increase annually. The calculation is based upon passing percentages on the reading and math assessments for every student group that has 30 or more students. Additional measures are used for grade demotion when a district or building earns an A.
Graduation Rate: The Graduation Rate component includes two measures, the percentage of students that entered the 9th grade and graduated in both four and five years. There are separate targets for each.
K-3 Literacy: K-3 literacy measures how well schools and districts help young students who are reading below grade level. It focuses on students who are not on track by comparing their starting progress with their success at meeting reading goals and passing the third grade reading OAA.