— And people continued to debate the value of the state report cards, as most schools' results — in Honors Diplomas, ACT scores, college completion — closely tracked the wealth and poverty of their communities.
“The fact that the state recognizes that any 2020 letter grades and rankings would be useless without spring testing data proves just how overly reliant the existing grade card system is on standardized tests,” said Scott Dimauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.
The state government’s Department of Education suggested residents and families look beyond the data to understand their schools.
“Given the limited data available on the report cards this year, it will be challenging to gauge how well a particular school or district is performing,” ODE officials said. “All the more reason individuals interested in understanding school performance should talk with parents, students, teachers and graduates for insight into what a school really means to students, families and the community.”
With letter grades and performance index and student progress missing, the most recognizable data point on the 2019-20 state report card is the graduation rate. Graduation data is reported on a one-year lag, so the “four-year graduation rate” statistics are for the high school Class of 2019.
Twenty-six small Ohio districts had 100% graduation rates. Among larger districts, Springboro (98.5%), Bellbrook (97.3%) and Troy (96.8%) were highest locally. After Dayton’s 72.2%, Mad River (81.3%) and Xenia (81.8%) were lowest locally.
A few local districts saw their four-year graduation rates change significantly from the previous year. Northridge’s graduation rate rose more than 7% to 90.2%, while Bethel (95.9%) and Piqua (90.6%) also saw 5% increases.
Piqua Superintendent Dwayne Thompson credited his district’s Success Bound plan, which gets students from elementary school to high school thinking about college, military and career options.
“Once students explore these options, they also learn what will be needed to graduate and successfully transition into one of these pathways,” Thompson said. “It has brought a great deal of focus to the work our students and staff engage in.”
Piqua High School students look at the district's Success Bound Plan last school year. The plan lists needed courses and career exploration steps, and has countdown clocks to graduation by grade level.
Credit: Contributed photo
Credit: Contributed photo
New Lebanon was the only school district where the graduation rate decreased more than 5% from the previous year, to 89.6%. Other districts dropping almost 5% were Kettering (90.7%) and Trotwood (85.9%).
ODE said the statewide four-year graduation rate increased again in 2019 (from 85.3% to 85.9%). While some huge, big-city districts have graduation rates around 80%, the median four-year graduation rate among Ohio’s 608 school districts was 94.3%. That’s within 1 percentage point of districts like Northmont, Beavercreek, Eaton and Valley View locally.
Prepared for success
The state’s complex “prepared for success” measure attempts to gauge college and career readiness based on ACT/SAT scores, Ohio Honors Diplomas, job industry credentials, College Credit Plus achievement and more. ODE said statewide scores improved again for the class of 2019.
Oakwood ranked sixth in Ohio in that category, behind other wealthy suburbs such as Ottawa Hills near Toledo and Indian Hill near Cincinnati. Oakwood ranked in the top 12 districts in Ohio when it came to ACT score data, honors diplomas, Advanced Placement test scores and percentage of students completing college degrees within six years.
Springboro ranked in the top 5% of the state on this measure, along with small north Miami Valley districts Minster, Russia and Fort Loramie. Bellbrook cracked the top 10%.
Tiny Jefferson Twp. schools, listed with only 276 students from K-12, ranked last in the state on “prepared for success.” Trotwood and Northridge were also in the bottom 10 districts statewide.
Four-year graduation rate for Class of 2019, by school district
100.0% Twin Valley
98.0% Cedar Cliff
96.9% Miami East
95.9% Tipp City
94.1% Yellow Springs
94.0% Valley View
93.8% National Trail
93.8% Preble Shawnee
91.1% Tri-County North
89.7% Jefferson Twp.
89.6% New Lebanon
89.4% Huber Heights
85.1% West Carrollton
81.3% Mad River
Source: Ohio Department of Education