OH Report Card Release Illuminates Need for State Testing/Reporting Reform

OH Report Card Release Illuminates Need for State Testing/Reporting Reform

The Mason City School District takes accountability seriously. Our community sets high expectations for our children, and we are committed to delivering the kind of high quality education our community expects. That’s why we use many different data points to guide our classroom instruction. We examine the results from locally developed assessments (things like unit assessments, and formative assessments), standardized tests (like ACT, PSAT, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), Advanced Placement) and state tests.

The individual results of the 2016 Ohio State Tests were released in June, and Mason City Schools teachers and administrators are reviewing students’ results along with other measures of growth and achievement that are benchmarked to curriculum standards. Information from all these sources inform instructional plans and guide individualized support and enrichment to help all students be successful.

“There’s always room for improvement and we use our data to shine a light on areas that need our focus and attention,” said Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent.

In contrast, the 2016 Ohio Report Card grades released this week are less helpful. This year’s grades are based on three different versions of state assessments in three years, rendering year-to-year comparisons impossible. While the report grade itself seems simple (A-F), the 30 different calculations to arrive at that grade are anything but simple. The grades leave plenty of room for statistical error, yet no standard deviation is even reported.

"We recognize the need for assessments and accountability. However, the state has struggled to find the right balance. It is time to reduce state testing, and the reliance on the report card to simply rank and sort districts,” said Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent.

The Mason City School District advocates that Ohio reduce the amount of state testing to federal minimums and simplify the report card grading system. Currently the federal testing requirements include reading and math in grades 3-8 and one high school test. The state of Ohio expands on those minimum requirements to include testing in reading, math, science and social studies in grades 5-8, and multiple end-of-course exams for high school. The existing report card grading structures make all that data even more complex, and add calculations that open the grading system to statistical errors and faulty conclusions.  

Quality Profile Presents Fuller Picture of High Quality Education

"In Mason, we know that a high quality education includes a lot more than what is measured on state tests and report card grades. That's why we will be releasing our fourth annual Quality Profile later this month.”

The Quality Profile helps characterize the overall educational value of public education beyond standardized testing.  

In 2012, 10 Southwest Ohio districts – Forest Hills, Indian Hill, Loveland, Madeira, Mariemont, Mason, Milford, Oak Hills, Sycamore and Wyoming – surveyed residents to determine factors they value in their child’s education that were not represented on the state report card. The result is a collaborative report that shares an expanded story of each participating school district.

Now adopted by over 80 districts in Ohio, the report is supported by the Alliance for High Quality Education, an education consortium that works to improve educational opportunities for students and represent member districts on matters of educational policy and funding.

Examples of Mason Quality Profile Benchmarks Not Measured by State Report Card

  • 86% of MHS students enroll in college within one year after high school. 92% of those students return for a second year of college, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

  • 61% of the MHS Class of 2016 reached the ACT college readiness score in mathematics, science, English, and reading. This compares with 26% nationally, and 33% in Ohio.

  • Nearly 18 percent of the Class of 2016 was recognized by the College Board for National Merit status. In 2015, Mason High School had 20 National Merit Finalists, 20 National Merit Semi-Finalists, 28 National Merit Commended Scholars and three National Hispanic Scholars.

To truly capture our students’ readiness for life after high school, we need to help them think beyond grades, standardized tests, and term papers. We need to help them become lifelong learners, adaptable to grow in a world where change and innovation are the norm. Our students need to know how to chart a course for their learning, set goals, and reflect on their progress. We are excited to step up to that challenge, and invest in a team of educators who help our district stay focused on what really matters,” said Kist-Kline.
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