The Akron Area School Superintendents’ Association, representing member districts from across Summit, Portage and Medina counties, criticized the Ohio Department of Education’s 2016 Report Card in a joint statement released Sept. 15.
“Our primary concern as educators is to ensure our students’ academic growth, while preparing them for college and careers . . . In the next day or so, the Ohio Department of Education will release the 2016 Report Card. The entire purpose of this document is to help identify strengths and weaknesses of each district’s educational program. However, as we explain below, this report card is seriously flawed and is not reflective of the quality of education being provided to our students. As such, we urge you to view the results of our individual report cards in the proper context. The following are just a few examples of this report card’s flawed nature:
“The new Prepared for Success measure looks at students over a two-year period. In late June, the state made a change in how the data was to be reported; districts were not permitted to update data derived from the first year of the period. As a result, improvements made by districts that added additional college courses are not considered or included in the score.
“The Achievement metric shares how well students perform on state tests. The state has expanded testing on federal requirements, adding nine additional tests in all content areas, and has changed test types three times in as many years. While teaching and learning standards have remained constant in our districts, the assessment requirements have repeatedly changed making it very difficult to make comparisons and improve instruction.
“The K-3 Literacy Rate compares the results of a student’s preliminary reading assessment to their proficiency on the Grade 3 test. This new test, however, now incorporates reading and writing. As such, this measure is flawed in that it calculates a rate based on a reading score to a reading and writing score. As a result of this flawed comparison, the calculated score does not reflect actual literacy attainment.
“We, as responsible school leaders, welcome accountability and transparency and recognize that Ohio’s accountability system is in transition. However, it is difficult to utilize a report card that is a constantly changing document, made up of flawed components. This report card does not consistently measure how local school districts are actually performing.
“It is important that as superintendents, we notify community members about these flaws so residents know the facts before they arrive at conclusions based upon faulty information. We want to assure our communities that our districts work hard each day to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.”
The statement was signed by Walter Davis, Woodridge Local Schools; Joe Clark, Nordonia Hills City Schools; Mary Jane Stanchina, Six District Educational Compact; Jeff Ferguson, Tallmadge City Schools; Todd Nichols, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools; Tom Bratten, Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools; Joseph Iacano, Summit Educational Service Center; Phillip Herman, Hudson City Schools; and Kathryn Powers, Twinsburg City Schools, as well as 13 other district superintendents.
The superintendents’ association serves “a wide variety of communities with long histories of excellence in education.”