1/4/2019 Superintendent’s Blog: 2018…An Exciting Year in Ohio Education


Superintendent’s Blog: 2018… An Exciting Year in Ohio Education

By: Paolo DeMaria


As we welcome the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments. I’m proud of what Ohio’s education system achieved in 2018 and excited for 2019! Perhaps the best place to start is with an amazing undertaking that brought our state and local education systems together to set the direction for our future. Ohio’s new strategic plan for education, titled Each Child, Our Future, reflects the honest analysis and best thinking of Ohio Department of Education leaders, the State Board of Education, 120 Ohio-based organizations with direct interests in education, and 1,200 local teachers, administrators, community members, business leaders, parents and state lawmakers.


The five-year plan will enable our education system to organize its work around three core principles and 10 shared strategies that can ensure a high-quality educational experience for all children, promote equity and high-performing schools, and nurture the physical, social, emotional and intellectual child in each of our students. Each Child, Our Future can put us on a pathway to our goal: increasing annually the percentage of Ohio high school graduates who are experiencing education or career success one year after commencement.

I’m happy to say that so many of our other 2018 achievements aligned in one way or another with Each Child, Our Future. Here are a few highlights:


We have so many great teachers in Ohio, we wanted a way to honor and thank more of them. In 2018, the Department launched its #OhioLovesTeachers campaign to promote appreciation and recognition for our first-line educators. We asked people to share their favorite stories about teachers or teacher teams they admire on Twitter and Instagram, then shared our favorites on the Department’s social media channels.

A few months ago, we borrowed the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year, Jonathan Juravich, from Olentangy Local Schools to serve as the Department’s teacher-in-residence until the end of this school year. We plan to continue the residency with each annual Ohio Teacher of the Year. Here’s more exciting news: we’re now developing an ongoing Teachers of Ohio Representing Character and Heart (TORCH) recognition program in which each Ohio

Teacher of the Year and that year’s finalists will evaluate TORCH nominations from the field and select winners.


This year, the Ohio Department of Education and several state-level partners developed a School-Based Health Care Support Toolkit that offers guidance and resources to help districts bring these services to school campuses. Ohio already has inspiring, local success stories in this area. Pioneering districts like Alexander Local Schools in Athens County, Lima City Schools in Allen County, and Manchester Local Schools in Adams County have forged partnerships with local health care providers that have improved student health and led to fewer disciplinary problems, less absenteeism and higher graduation rates. Read their stories on our School-Based Health Care Support Toolkit webpage.



Ohio granted $33 million of a $35 million federal Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant to 46 school districts or partnerships of districts to drive literacy improvement for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grants to these ambitious districts will help them improve learning prospects for their students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students with reading disabilities.

The Department also worked with a devoted group of literary educators and specialists from around the state to publish Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literary Achievement. The plan sets forth the ongoing work Ohio will do to improve language and literacy development in our children.


Launched in 2017, Ohio’s SuccessBound initiative strives to bring schools, businesses, students, families and communities together to adopt practices that move students seamlessly from school to postsecondary education or training and jobs. In 2018, the Department developed and posted toolkits for each of these partners to help them take active steps to become SuccessBound.

Ohio also initiated the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal, a designation high school students can earn on their transcripts by demonstrating they have the personal strengths, strong work ethic and professional experience businesses need. The OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal gives a student the district’s endorsement that the student is ready to pursue work experiences.


Educators don’t need Ph.D.s in statistics to learn about data-driven evidence of successful teaching practices and bring about powerful change for their students. Ohio’s Evidence- based Clearinghouse, launched this year, can help districts and schools identify critical student learning needs; research and select evidence-based strategies; examine, reflect on and adjust those strategies; and support efforts to improve student success.

The powerful source for evidence-based teaching practices brings together resources from many clearinghouses and will continually change to meet the evolving needs of Ohio educators. Every evidence-based strategy in the clearinghouse meets one of three levels of the Every Student Succeeds Act’s criteria for evidence-based instructional practices. Users can find strategies aligned with the focus areas of the Ohio Improvement Process, which include curriculum, instruction and assessment, school climate, and supports.


All Ohio students can benefit from a high-quality arts education to help them develop important skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. Ohio’s public education laws call for one credit hour of instruction in fine arts — music, visual arts, dance or drama — as part of the prescribed curriculum.

Because we know the arts are so important to our children’s development, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Department of Education felt parents, educators, school administrators, and local and state policymakers need to know what arts education Ohio’s individual schools and districts are offering. Users can see the number and percentage of students enrolled in each type of fine arts education in Ohio schools and the number of students who have no access to arts education. The dashboard is searchable by county, school district, school type and location.

Ohio is proud to be one of the first few states in the nation to provide an online arts education data system available to the public.


If Ohio’s schools are to be sensitive to the cultural and circumstantial needs of all their students, a focus of Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education’s “whole-child” approach, we can’t ignore our 34,000 Ohio students from military families.
To recognize schools that are doing an exemplary job of serving students and families connected to our nation’s armed forces and inspire more schools to follow their examples, the Ohio departments of Education, Higher Education, Veterans Services and Adjutant General, created the Purple Star Award. Purple Star schools must meet specific criteria to demonstrate that they engage in practices that support students of military families. These schools receive a special Purple Star logo to display in their buildings.

In 2018, Ohio recognized 134 new Purple Star schools. What makes me even prouder is that six other states have adopted or are planning to adopt the Purple Star Awards program verbatim.


The State Board of Education recommended and the General Assembly adopted a proposal that the alternative options for graduation be extended to the class of 2018, the class of 2019, and, with modifications, the class of 2020. Based on the experience of the class of 2018, thousands of students, particularly those who are challenged to demonstrate what they know and can do using standardized tests, were able to graduate and start a new chapter in their lives. These options will have a similar impact on the classes of 2019 and 2020.

Ohio, however, needs a permanent solution to this issue. In fact, during 2018, the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for High School Graduation Requirements developed and the State Board adopted a proposal for a new graduation requirements approach. This approach gives students options to demonstrate what they know and can do through a variety of means — including both test-based options and non-test-based options. You can learn more about the proposal here. In the upcoming year, the Department will be working to support the adoption of this proposal. It may go through further revision during the process, but the fundamental objective of giving students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do without relying on tests makes a lot of sense and will benefit many students.


Though 2018 has been a strong year of achievement, Ohio Department of Education staff and I have more in mind for 2019. Look for another ExtraCredit blog soon that highlights what we plan to undertake this year.

Paolo DeMaria is superintendent of public instruction of Ohio, where he works to support an education system of nearly 3,600 public schools and more than 1.6 million students.


2018 Community School Sponsor Evaluations Released

 November 16, 2018

To help ensure accountability and quality in Ohio’s community school system, the Ohio Department of Education today released the 2017-2018 sponsor evaluations. 

High-quality sponsors are the foundation for an effective community school system,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “The sponsor evaluations are an important piece of Ohio’s accountability system, driving continuous improvement and helping to ensure Ohio’s families have quality school choice options.”

The sponsor evaluation system assists the Ohio Department of Education in its oversight of sponsors and helps increase the quality of sponsor practices. The evaluation framework is made up of three equally weighted components:

 Academic Performance;
 Compliance with Rules and Laws; and
 Quality Practices.

The Academic Performance component determines how well students are performing academically at sponsors schools. The Compliance component rates whether sponsors are compliant with all relevant laws and rules and whether sponsors are monitoring their schools’ compliance with laws and rules. The Quality Practices component, which was created using national standards and input from sponsors, looks at sponsors’ adherence to quality practices.

All three components are scored on a common scale (0-4 points) to allow for simple calculations. Sponsors receive points for each component that, when added together, provide a summative rating. The point scale for 2017-2018 can be found at: http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Community-Schools/Sponsor-Ratings-and-Tools/2017-2018-Sponsor-Evaluation-Tools/2017-18-Sponsor-Eval-TechDoc.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US

Ohio law includes a set of incentives for sponsors rated “exemplary,” as well as a set of consequences for sponsors rated “ineffective” and “poor.” For example, a sponsor rated “exemplary” for two consecutive years is able to take advantage of incentives, including receiving a longer term on its contractwith the Department. Any sponsor that receives an “ineffective” overall rating is prohibited from sponsoring any new or additional community schools, and the sponsor is subject to a quality improvement plan. Any sponsor that receives a “poor” rating or three consecutive “ineffective” ratings is subject to revocation of its sponsorship authority. An appeals process is available to sponsors that are subject to revocation of their sponsorship authority.

The 2017-2018 community school sponsor evaluations can be found online by clicking here.


DATE:October 28, 2018

TO:Members of the State Board of Education

FROM: Paolo DeMaria

RE:Weekly Update –Week of October 22, 2018

October is almost over…..yikes! That was fast. Happy Halloween everyone! 


#EachChildOurFuture World Café: On Wednesday, November 14, as part of the Board meeting agenda, we have set aside time for you to experience the #EachChildOurFuture World Café. What’s a “World Café?” – you might ask. Wikipedia defines it as “a structured conversational process for knowledge sharing.” We co-designed the Café with a handful of local school district partners to help ODE staff better understand components of the strategic plan and how their day-to-day jobs enable its success. All ODE staff are experiencing the café, and we will also use it, as appropriate, with stakeholders and partners outside of the agency. We wanted to give you the opportunity to experience it as well. You may find it a useful approach if you find yourself sharing the strategic plan with a group. There is no preparation required for this interactive and upbeat experience. 


Report Card Workgroup: The Extended Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee had its final meeting this past Wednesday. Draft recommendations will be prepared based on the discussion and circulated back to members of comments and feedback. 


EMIS Advisory Committee: This past week saw the first meeting of the newly constituted EMIS Advisory Committee. This group will be a forum to share feedback, reflect on improvement opportunities, and generally inform our efforts to ensure that EMIS continues to be an effective and well-regarded data collection system for Ohio’s schools. We have an excellent roster of members, and the work is off to a great start. 


Meetings/Activities: This past week included a number of notable events. 

 School Visits: I visited a couple of schools this past week. I was accompanied by Rep. Kyle Koehler for these visits. Interestingly, while visiting Springfield we stopped in to his family-owned manufacturing business – and had a chance to discuss workforce and career education issues. 
o My visit to Tecumseh Middle School was wonderful. My first stop was the choir room to hear a great choir share a few of their upcoming holiday concert pieces. So energizing – and what a great sound. I also had the opportunity to see some great social-emotional learning work in practice. The school uses the E + R = O program (“Event” plus “Response” equals “Outcome.”) The idea is that the only thing we, as individuals, can control is our response – so we need to be deliberate and attentive to that response. It was great hearing from students and teachers about what the culture at the school was before this program and what it is now. Impressive stuff. 
o I visited the School of Innovation and Lincoln Elementary in the Springfield City School District. The School of Innovation is a new effort to support a high school that is focused almost exclusively on project based learning. All the classes are focused on strategically selected problems that guide the learning and classroom activity. Lincoln Elementary has a beautiful courtyard that has been converted into a learning space. By growing plants and creating community art projects that student have contributed to a learning space that is beautiful and functional. I also happened to stop in to a class that was studying bats – different kinds of bats, and how two types of bats have things in common, but also things that are different. (They were developing the concept of intersecting sets.) 

As you know, whenever I visit schools I never fail to be impressed by the awesome students! I’m always energized to see wonderful learners. 

In the coming weeks, I have the following notable events/activities:

 National Dropout Prevention Conference: I will be providing a keynote address during the lunch of this conference on October 30. My comments will reflect Ohio’s new strategic plan and the notion of how hope, learning environments and student connectedness are keys to preventing students from dropping out. 
 Ohio Manufacturers Workforce Summit: I will be attending part of this conference to gain a better understanding of both the workforce needs of Ohio’s manufacturing community as well as strategies being used to address those needs. 
 Future Health Professionals Leadership Conference: I will stop by this conference of one of the career-tech student organizations focused on health care professions. I look forward to seeing students competing and displaying their skills and abilities. 
 School Visits: I’ll be visiting school in the Kings Local School District and also the Dayton Early College Academy. 
 Latino Education Summit: I’ll be providing some brief remarks at this summit that is focused on the education of Ohio’s Latino students. 


Sweeping Graduation Requirements Passed Out Of SBOE Committee

This is a draft document for discussion purposes and is not intended to reflect final action of the committee, State Board of Education or Ohio Department of Education.

Graduation Requirements Advisory Committee Recommendation

DRAFT 7October 2018


Andrew Brenner, State Representative

Peggy Lehner, State Senator

David James, Superintendent – Akron City Schools

William Hampton, Superintendent – Marietta Schools

Jim Fritz, Superintendent – Anthony Wayne Schools

Tom Perkins, Superintendent – Northern Local Schools

Shelly Vaughan, Superintendent – Mercer County ESC

Dan Murphy, Director – RG Drage Career Technical Center

Jesse Maxfield, Career-Technical Education Director – Mad River Local Schools

Tony Gatto, Superintendent – Arts and College Prep Academy

Dustin Miller, Principal – Dublin Jerome High School, Dublin City Schools

Heather Powell, Principal – Williamsburg Local Schools

Sam Scavella, Principal – Glenville High School, Cleveland Metropolitan Schools

Paul Kidd, Director of Student Services – Medina City Schools

Tanya Ficklin, Counselor – Cincinnati City Schools

Sara Williams, Counselor – Union-Scioto Schools

Sara Hoffman, Counselor – Whitmere High School, Toledo City Schools

Keith Ahearn, Principal – Lakewood High School, Lakewood City Schools

Karie McCrate, Assistant Superintendent – Dover City Schools

Tim Littell, Executive Director of Student Success/Associate Dean – Wright State University

Leann Jones, Parent – Ohio PTA

Stephanie Dodd – State Board of Education

Laura Kohler – State Board of Education

Pat Bruns – State Board of Education


In May 2018, the state superintendent convened the Graduation Requirements Advisory Committee to discuss graduation requirements for the classes of 2021 and beyond. Thecommittee consisted of 25 members who occupy roles as school district superintendents, high school principals or school counselors, career and technical center directors, state board of education members and elected representatives. The committee also included parent and higher education representatives. The committee met a total of seven times from May to the end of September 2018. The charge to the committee was to generate recommendations to the state superintendent of public instruction that create a long-term approach to high school graduation requirements for Ohio.

The work of this committee builds on the work of a prior Ohio Graduation Requirements Workgroup, convened in 2017, which generated recommendations that responded to concerns specific to the graduating class of 2018. The 2017 recommendations recognized the need for a long-run approach to graduation that would be less reliant on standardized assessments. The current Graduation Requirements Advisory Committee was convened specifically to develop the “longrun” approach.

In approaching this work, the committee was informed by Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education,Each Child, Our Future. The committee’s work is explicitly part of the strategic plan’s primary goal as follows:

One Goal: Ohio will increase annually the percentage of its high school graduates who, one year after graduation, are:

Enrolled and succeeding in a post-high school learning experience, including an adult career-technical education program, an apprenticeship and/or a two-year or four-year college program;
Serving in a military branch;
Earning a living wage; or
Engaged in a meaningful, self-sustaining vocation.


The work also was viewed as specifically supporting Strategy 10 of the strategic plan, as follows:

STRATEGY 10: Ensure high school inspires students to identify paths to future success, and give students multiple ways to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for high school graduation and beyond.

The discussions of the committee also included a review of the strategic plan’s Attributes of a Graduate and how the recommendations should align to the attributes. In this way, the committee’s work attempts to capture the four equal learning domains—foundational knowledge and skills, well-rounded content, leadership and reasoning, and social-emotional learning identified in the strategic plan.

Design Principles

The committee created a list of principles to guide its graduation requirement recommendations. These principles are listed below.

Graduation requirements should:

1. Recognize the individual needs, differences and interests of every student.
2. Be neutral to a student’s circumstances (school, district, part of the state, socio-economic circumstances, race/ethnicity, etc.).
3. Recognize that every student can be successful when provided opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and competencies.
4. Reflect a balance of academic content knowledge and other skills known to be important, based on challenging expectations for learning and content and skills mastery necessary for future success.
5. Accommodate multiple methods of demonstrating the acquisition of knowledge and skills by students and accept that the mix of knowledge, skills and abilities necessary todemonstrate post-high school readiness may be unique for each student (as aligned to a student’s passion and aspirations).
6. Allow a student to take an active role in developing the plan for graduation and carrying it out.
7. Motivate students to be thoughtful about their post-high school plans throughout all high school years.
8. Be, to the extent possible, easily explained and easy to administer.
9. Be, to the extent possible, fairly and consistently measured across the state.

5Graduation Requirement Policy Tensions

As the committee discussed how graduation requirements may change, members struggled with some of the tensions inherent in creating graduation requirements policy. A significant amount of time has been spent on the discussion of these tensions, though the balance of these tensions has not yet been determined.

1. Personalization vs. Standardization

The committee acknowledges that, like so many policies in education, there is a desire for consistency throughout the system namely, that a diploma reflect a common accomplishment. Such standardization supports ease of implementation and understanding. At the same time, the committee recognizes the future success of each child can be highly variable success can be achieved in many different ways relying on very different combinations of skills and abilities and a graduation system that acknowledges those variations will have many different manifestations.

2. Simple vs. Complex

As human beings, we often crave simplicity. Ideally, a graduation requirements system should be easy to explain and easy to implement. We recognize, and are willing to tolerate, some degree of complexity in the interest of greater customization and flexibility.

3. Academic Content Knowledge vs. Non-Academic Skills

Sometimes in conversations, we hear a tension between academic content knowledge and non-academic skills acquisition. In our minds, and consistent with the strategic plan, the graduation requirements system needs to require both, and students need to acquire a mix of skills that best ensure future success.

4. Identify Graduation Pathway Early vs. Later in High School

The committee had numerous discussions about when a student might best identify a particular path to graduation. Clearly, conversations about potential careers and future aspirations can start in middle school or earlier. Specific conversations about a student’s chosen path could begin in the sixth grade, as state policy requires that students begin their postsecondary exploration and planning at this time. However, allowing students to gain greater exposure to academic and career activities during high school before determining their paths also provides additional opportunities for personal growth and exploration.

5. State Direction vs. Local Flexibility

While Ohio is a local control state, there are times when establishing norms at a state level are important. Many education policy issues often hinge on whether the state should establish requirements and parameters or whether the local district should have authority. Establishing graduation requirements is one area where public policy should seek a balanced approach that includes some level of state direction while also allowing some local flexibility.

Key Themes

Over the course of the meetings, the committee has come to agree on a few key themes. These themes have appeared in conversations again and again and are identified below.

1. Equivalent Pathway(s)

The committee supports the concept of multiple equivalent pathways. The committee is cognizant that no pathway should be viewed as “easier” or as a “lesser” path the paths should be viewed as equally rigorous and prepare, but not limit, students for the paths they choose. Our goal is to ensure any student successfully completing any path is equipped for future success.

2. Promoting Student Interests and Passions

The committee is excited by the idea that graduation requirements should allow students opportunities to explore and expand on individual interests and passions and not restrict them or not simply march a student along a predetermined sequence of classes and events.

3. Students Responsibilities and Motivation

Members of the committee want every student to be excited, engaged and motivated by the prospect of beginning to chart their future courses in life. Students should have a voice and, in some respects, have responsibility to manage their own pathways to graduation.

4. Strengthening the High School Experience.

The committee’s discussions made it clear Ohio should continue to engage in discussions and actions about redesigning the high school experience. The first two years should be an opportunity for career and academic discovery and broad learning. The second two years should be an opportunity to allow for greater focus and the identification of interests, passions and aspirations. Students should be able to explore multiple career options and gain a better understanding of the world of work. Districts should be empowered to explore innovative and flexible approaches to the high school experience and provide integrated learning experiences for students.


1. Permanent High School Graduation Plan

The committee recommends the state adopt the graduation requirements framework described in the attached document, A Proposed Approach for High School Graduation Requirements in Ohio. The committee developed this proposal as an approach to graduation that includes multiple methods for students to use to demonstrate what they know and can do including both test and non-test options. Successful implementation of this “show what you know” approach will take time but, in the end, stands to provide a more robust, engaging and motivating approach to graduation than can be achieved through the current system. The committee strongly recommends this plan first apply to an incoming class of freshman at such time as all the various components and rubrics are completed, and sufficient professional development has been made available.

2. Transition Period

The committee recognizes implementation of the proposed approach will take time andrequire districts and schools to make significant changes to their current systems. Implementation will require the state to design and prototype a variety of tools and resources, which should not be done hastily. Consequently, the committee supports the continuation of alternative graduation requirements similar to those adopted for the class of 2018. The committee respects that there may be a desire to modify some of the components of the alternatives for the class of 2018 viewed as not sufficiently rigorous. The committee is supportive of modest modifications that still allow flexibility for students. Ideally, the transition period should extend until a new class of students entering high school is given clarity about the specifics of the requirements under the proposedapproach.

Implementation Considerations and Conclusion

The committee recognizes there is still much work to be done. Schools and districts will need to be supported as they transition to a new way of graduating students. The Ohio Department of Education will need to provide technical and professional development support, as well as other resources. Specific guidance will need to address mobile students, transfer students and students seeking to earn diplomas past the time of their expected graduation dates. We are committed to working together to address these issues.

We also must recognize the education community must hold itself accountable to ensuring the approaches recommended in this document are implemented with great care and a commitment to ensuring the highest standards of integrity and rigor. As always, diligent attention to professional development and quality implementation will be essential.

Ohio’s education community is committed to the work necessary to make the recommendations in this report highly regarded, meaningful and reliable representations that students are ready for future success.


This document was created for discussion purposes only. Nothing in this document should be construed as reflecting the opinion or perspective of the Graduation Requirements Workgroup, the Ohio Department of Education or the State Board of Education until further action is taken.

A student’s high school years are an important time for learning and transition. It’s a time to think seriously about the future — to deeply consider interests, passions, career goals and more. High school is the culmination of a period of knowledge acquisition and skills development leading to the next chapter in a student’s life. What a student knows and can do at the end of high school will have a tremendous impact on his or her future success.

Currently, in Ohio, there are three ways to earn a high school diploma. Each requires students to perform at a certain level on one or more tests. It’s not a bad approach. In fact, many students graduate by meeting the current requirements. But, there are some students who have gained meaningful knowledge and skills and the required tests aren’t the best way to show it.

This proposal is designed to reframe Ohio’s graduation requirements to better allow students to show what they know and are able to do in multiple ways. It reflects Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education, Each Child, Our Future. As shown in the graphic below, it’s built around five areas. The first three English, math and technology are essential because they enable all other learning. Well-rounded content represents learning ranging from science and history to art, music and technical areas. Finally, leadership/reasoning and socialemotional skills represent competencies that relate to applying andsynthesizing knowledge, critical thinking and succeeding in settings that involve interacting with other people, like on a college campus or in an office or workplace.

The design recognizes each student is different and the manner in which a student demonstrates his or her knowledge and skills in each area can be different. In the first four areas, students can demonstrate what they know in any number of ways including:

Tests – Including end-of-course exams, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, WorkKeys tests, WebXams(in certain cases), ACCUPLACER and others.
Class grades – Including the GPA for high school courses in a subject area or the grade received in a College Credit Plus course.
Demonstrations of Learning – Challenging activities designed to allow students to show their knowledge in English or math or other demonstrations of well-rounded content knowledge, like earning an industry credential, completing a career-technical education program and associated WebXams, or designing and completing a Culminating Student Experience (similar to a capstone project).

In the last area – leadership/reasoning and social-emotional learning, students will have many options to show what they can do. Districts will have the responsibility to establish expectations for student demonstrations of these skills through different approaches ranging from the use of tools like the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal to community service or other accomplishments.

The Culminating Student Experience concept is fundamental to this new approach. The experience is intended to be a significant project or set of projects aligned to a student’s interests, passions and aspirations similar to a capstone project. It is meant to be an opportunity for a student to integrate learning academic as well as leadership/reasoning and social-emotional and demonstrate knowledge in multiple ways without the need to rely on test scores. The experience can include (as needed) specific and rigorous demonstrations of knowledge and skills in three areas writing, quantitative reasoning or mathematics, and presentation. Each of these would be scored against a rubric by qualified adult.

It’s important to understand that the various options available to students included in this proposed approach are each intended to be challenging and generally reflect a sufficient level of competency to contribute to a student’s success. It’s also important to understand that every student still needs to meet the state and district course completion requirements and take the necessary high school end-of-course tests (to support, at a minimum, school and district accountability purposes).

Students, parents and educators also should recognize that leaving high school without the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t make sense for a student to drop out or want a high school diploma that doesn’t reflect a level of accomplishment that actually translates into future success. Students should recognize it is better to take more time to be ready than to rush into the future unprepared. Students also should expect the teachers, administrators and other caring adults in their lives will do whatever is necessary to support them in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to succeed even if it takes more time.

To “show what you know,” as reflected in this proposal, represents a better, fairer, meaningful, more equitable and more motivational approach for students to demonstrate they are ready for future success and worthy of receiving a diploma. It will allow more students to thoughtfully consider their future success and reach levels of accomplishment that will support their goals.

More details about this proposal are available in the detailed description below….


This document describes a proposal for a personalized student approach to graduation that would allow multiple ways for each student to demonstrate knowledge and skills sufficient to earn ahigh school diploma. It relies on the use of multiple methods to measure a student’s knowledge and skills and providesvarious opportunities for students to demonstrate readiness for post-high school success. This “show what you know” approach is expected to be a better, fairer, meaningful, more equitable and more motivational experience for students to demonstrate their readiness for future success and worthiness to receive a diploma.

This approach would require students to demonstratecompetency in English, math and technology knowledge and skills through various options, including traditional tests, classes, grades, experiences, existing high school programmingand other demonstrations of learning. Students also would have the opportunity to demonstrate competency in well-rounded content through a Culminating Student Experience, which would allow a student to focus on particular passions and aspirations and make connections among ideas and concepts.The plan also promotes a student’s cultivation and demonstration of leadership and reasoning skills including, but not limited to, those on the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal and social-emotional learning skills.

An important aspect of this student planning process is the deliberate nature of thinking ahead and identifying a set of activities and experiences that allow a student to demonstrate what he or she knows and is able to do with sufficient time and opportunity to accomplish it. Conceptually, a student could begin work on a graduation plan as early as ninth grade. The plan would be refined and honed in 10th grade and perhaps again in 11th grade. A plan could be completed as early as 11th grade but more likely will be completed during the student’s senior year.

The proposed plan reflects the four learning domains of Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education, Each Child, Our Future. The objective of the proposed approach is for each student to demonstrate satisfactory accomplishment in all domains through one or more measures of success. The foundational knowledgedomain is separated into English and math. Also, for simplicity, the leadership and reasoning and social-emotional learningdomains are combined because the competencies for both domains are foundational in the required activities. The grids below show a variety of options for students to demonstrate knowledge and skills in each of the domains. In some areas, the requirements allow students and schools to identify other demonstrations of learning that, in the judgement of the school or district, show the student demonstrates the satisfactory acquisition of knowledge and skills to ensure future success.

This proposal also reflects an approach to demonstrating knowledge and skills that may be particularly suitable for students who appreciate an opportunity to take more time than afforded during a testing session to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. This proposed planning process would be a diploma-earning strategy for any student, including gifted students, students with disabilities and English learners. This proposed approach requires no specific accumulation of points on state tests (unless selected as options for the various domains). For some students, it will make sense to meet the requirements primarily through tests. For others, it will make sense to meet the requirements primarily through non-test demonstrations. Still, others will use a mix of tests and non-test demonstrations.


Items marked with * generally reflect Ohio’s current test-based graduation path.
Items marked with + generally reflect Ohio’s current industry credential path.
Items marked with ^ reflect an example of a non-test reliant path.
A. English, Mathematics and Technology Knowledge and Skills

The two grids below present options for demonstrating English and math skills. Students would need to meet at least one of the items listed in each grid. The scores established below are for illustrative purposes. Under this proposal, the State Board of Education would be responsible for establishing the required scores for graduation purposes.


How will you show you have skills in reading and writing?

(Satisfy one)



3 (proficient) or higher on English language arts II test; OR
Combined score of 4 on English language arts I and II tests*


College Credit Plus: Pass English Comp or equivalent College Credit Plus course with grade of C or better.


GPA: Average 2.5 GPA or better for at least two full years of high school English courses.


Other Tests:

Advanced Placement (AP) English: 3 or better;
International Baccalaureate (IB) English: Comparable score;
WorkKeys: Graphic Literacy (score of 4 or better) AND Workplace Documents (score of 5 or better)+;
ACT/SAT: English – Within one standard error of measurement below remediation-free level;
WebXam: Score proficient on any WebXam certified to require reading and writing knowledge at the 10th-grade level;
ASVAB: Verbal skills test;
College Placement Tests: This would include ACCUPLACERand other commonly used placement tests as determined by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Scoreremediation-free on writing AND reading.


Online English: Successful completion of a state online English course. (suggestion)


Writing Demonstration: Achieve “Satisfactory” on rubric for Writing Demonstration related to Culminating Student Experience(see description below).^


How will you show you have skills in Math?

(Satisfy one)


3 (proficient) or higher on Algebra I test; OR
3 (proficient) or higher on Geometry test; OR
Combined score of 4 on Algebra I and Geometry tests.*


College Credit Plus: Pass college Algebra or similar course from a list of approved non-remedial college courses with a grade of C or better.


GPA: Average 2.5 GPA or better for at least two full years of high school math classes.


Other Tests:

Advanced Placement (AP): 3 or better on any of the quantitative AP courses;
International Baccalaureate (IB) math: Comparable score;
WorkKeys: Applied Math (score of 4 or better)+;
WebXam: Score proficient on any WebXam certified to require Algebra 1 or Geometry level knowledge;
ACT/SAT: Math – Within one standard error of measurement below remediation free;
ASVAB: Math skills test;
College Placement Tests: This would include ACCUPLACER, ALEKS and other commonly used placement tests as determined by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Score remediation-free on math.


Online Math Course: Successful completion of a state online math course (suggested).


Mathematical Competency or Data Analysis Demonstration:Achieve “Satisfactory” on rubric for mathematical competency or data analysis demonstration related to Culminating Student Experience (see description below).^


(Satisfy one)

Demonstrated Competency: The student successfully used technology — including, but not limited to, software products such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, presentation software, media development or modification software — in some way as part of the high school experience.

B. Well-Rounded Content

The well-rounded content requirement is designed to ensure each student has been exposed to and gained knowledge in a variety of content and skill areas. Clearly, the course requirements for high school graduation already are a significant contributor to the well-rounded content requirement. Additionally, students who participate in career-technical education programs gain knowledge and skills that contribute toa well-rounded content experience. This proposal reflects theidea that it is important for students to demonstrate successful performance in at least two areas beyond English and mathematics. (These areas do not need to be science or social studies.) The scores established below are for illustrative purposes. Under this proposal, the State Board of Education would be responsible for establishing the required scores for graduation purposes in consultation with experts and with appropriate oversight. Additional tests that may be identifiedmay also be added as appropriate.

Well-Rounded – Other Content Interests:

(Courses, tests and experiences that will round out your education experience. Satisfy two.The two can be in the same category.)


3 (proficient) or higher on any non-English/non-math end-of-course tests;
6 points combined on the Science, American History and American Government end-of-course tests* (counts as two).


College Credit Plus: Pass a College Credit Plus course with a grade of C or better


GPA: Average 2.5 or better for any subject computed across all classes (must include at least four semesters) in that subject (for example, science, social studies, art, foreign language, technology).


Seal of Biliteracy: Complete the requirements for receiving the seal of biliteracy.


Other Tests:

Advanced Placement (AP): 3 or better on any other AP course exam
International Baccalaureate (IB): Comparable score in other subject areas.
WebXams Series: Proficient or better on a complete set of career-tech program WebXams (counts as one).


Industry Credential: Complete industry credential or group of credentials of 12 points or more.+


Portfolio: A portfolio of work in an area of concentration consistent with the requirements of the portfolio for Ohio’s honors diplomas.


Culminating Student Experience with Presentation Component:Satisfactory completion of the Culminating Student Experience with the Presentation Demonstration (see description below) {OR District Capstone Course}.^

C. Leadership/Reasoning Skills and Social-Emotional Skills

For the final two domains, each district or high school shall adopt a policy specifying what students are required to successfully complete to demonstrate sufficient acquisition of skills in this category. The district policy may include, but is not limited to, the following:



Social-Emotional Skills:

How will you show you have acquired leadership/ reasoning skills and social-emotional learning skills?

(Requirements to be determined by each district.)

Culminating Student Experience with Presentation Component:Satisfactory completion of the Culminating Student Experience with the Presentation Demonstration (see description below) {OR District Capstone Course}.^


OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal: Completion of the requirements to earn the seal.


Extracurricular Service: Students complete at least 125 hours of extracurricular activity participation each year enrolled.

Description of Culminating Student Experience and Demonstrations

The proposed Culminating Student Experience and Demonstrations are designed as an option for students to meet the graduation requirements in each of the four domains as laid out in the grids above. The following are detailed descriptions of the various components:

1. Culminating Student Experience:

The Culminating Student Experience would be a project or set of activities and experiences identified and completed by a student (and verified by an appropriate adult) that would allow the student to demonstrate a collection of knowledge and skills that affirm a student’s readiness for post-high school success. The experience could include in-school and out-of-school activities. (The work done as part of the student experience would be conducted as a separate course for which the student earns credit. However, student work in other courses — for instance, junior or senior English, Algebra II, etc. — may support various components of the experience and accompanying demonstrations, as needed.) The experience may be embedded into existing school programming and may allow students to earn credit through other arrangements, such as a district’s credit flexibility policy, integrated coursework, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework, or College Credit Plus.

The Culminating Student Experience would be identified and defined in such a way as to support the Demonstrations of Knowledge and Skills (see section 2 below) if these are selected as preferred demonstration approaches by the student and advisor/counselor. This means the experience should include activities during which the student writes for the writing demonstration, shows mathematical competency or conducts some data analysis for the mathematical competency/data analysis demonstration, and for which apresentation can be made. The experience also should be designed to allow the student to demonstrate leadership/reasoning skills including, but not limited to, those on the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal and social-emotional learning skills.

The Culminating Student Experience could include any meaningful collection of activities and experiences. Depending on the composition of activities, the experience and/or demonstrations can serve to meet requirements in all four domains. The below list illustrates, but is not meantto be exhaustive, examples of what could be included as part of a Culminating Student Experience:

Major research or portfolio project, including, but not limited to, a portfolio of artworks created, writing samples, computer applications developed, videos produced, robotics projects and agricultural accomplishments.
Major community service project/experiencedesigned by the student working with an advisor (including Eagle Scout project, Girl Scout Gold Award project, FFA state degree, science fair project or other major project experiences that include leadership roles of significance in career-tech student organizations or other student organizations). “Community” can include the school itself.
Major and significant work-based learning experience/internship/apprenticeship with evidence of a student making a meaningful contribution and positive evaluations (250 hours or more).
College credit plus courses or other formal learning experiences (including Early College programs) that result in the student obtaining an associate degree or the completion of a substantial number (at least 15 semester hours) of college credit among courses that focus on a particular area or field.
Completion of a career-technical program, which must include at least four courses in a single career pathway and passing the respective WebExams for those courses.
Set of activities leading to the accomplishment of an in-demand credential or certification or group of credentials or certifications of at least 12 points.

In addition to a major activity similar to those listed above, the student experience also could include other related but minoractivities such as:

Completion of the OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal and creation and maintenance of an OhioMeansJobsBackpack.
Completion of a social-emotional skills reflection exercise (*new idea; to be developed).
For students interested in military service, taking the ASVAB examination.
Developing a resume and/or completing a job application.
Journaling of a student’s reflections on the experience.
Interviews or job shadowing of individuals who work in the field of interest to the student. For example, a student interested in a career in business could interview business people.

Students, advisors and counselors should not feel limited by the above list and should exercise creativity and personalization to identify the set of activities and experiences aligned to the particular student’s aspirations, interests and future plans. The experiences selected should challenge the student and facilitate continuing learning.

2. Demonstrations of Knowledge and Skills

Based on the Culminating Student Experience, students have the opportunity to complete any or all of the following based on identified demonstration approaches selected as part of the student’s High School Graduation Plan:

a. Mathematical competency/data analysis demonstration(if needed to satisfy math requirement). Created from the Culminating Student Experience, the student should demonstrate the ability to identify and analyze data or otherwise demonstrate fundamental mathematical concepts and skills related to the experience. The student should be able to describe the relationship between the math competencies demonstrated and the culminating experience or draw conclusions from the data analysis. (This can be incorporated into the writing component discussed below.) Students may use this demonstration to also demonstrate technology competency by using Microsoft Excel or other computational or statistical software.

State Standard Alignment: This task is in alignment with Ohio’s Learning Standards for Math for high school —specifically the statistics and probability standards identified as necessary for students to be college and career ready — which expect students to interpret categorical and quantitative data and make inferences and justify conclusions from these data. (See Appendix A.)

b. Writing demonstration (if needed to satisfy English requirement): Students must complete an extended paper that integrates key information about the anchor experience, key learnings and reflections on the student’s future post-high school plans. The writing component also should include a student’s self-reflection on interests, career readiness skills, leadership/reasoning skills, classes (including grades), strengths, weaknesses, career aspirations and requirements necessary to succeed in the identified career field.

The writing assignment can be supplemented with various written artifacts. Such artifacts could include, but are not limited to, project/activity logs, journals, a completed job application or a resume. It can demonstrate technology competence if prepared using word processing softwareand includes images, tables and graphs.

State Standard Alignment: This task is in alignment with Ohio’s College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing, which expect students to produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience. Students also are expected to engage with technology as a part of the writing and researching processes and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying new approaches. As part of the research process,students should be able to identify credible and reliable primary and secondary sources of information. (See Appendix B.)

c. Presentation demonstration (required for all culminating experiences). Create and present to a review panel a summary of the culminating student experience, lessons learned and implications for post-high school actions. Students also should be able to respond to questions by the panel. To demonstrate technology skills, the presentation could be enabled using PowerPoint, Prezi, a student-produced video or other technology-based feature.


State Standard Alignment: This task is in alignment with Ohio’s College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, which expect students to present information, findings and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and organization.(See Appendix C.)

Student and Mentor Pledge. For any of the demonstrations listed above, the student and faculty mentors (teacher, counselor, supervisor, etc.) should affirmatively attest all work involved in the student experience was the student’s and the final product satisfactorily met all requirements and will be available for review by employers or postsecondary experience providers.

Note: Students pursuing the custom graduation plan process stillare responsible for taking required courses and, for school and district accountability purposes, end-of-course exams. Schools and districts, at their discretion, may require students who score below proficient on any tests to participate in interventions and retake tests. Also, schools and districts are responsible for providing all students grades 612 with career counseling experiences consistent with districtadopted policies, including activities related to student success planning and other activities consistent with Ohio’s Career Connections K-12 Framework.

Implementation Considerations

Implementing the High School Graduation Plan may include a variety of issues that will need to be worked out and will take time. Some of these are as follows:

Rubrics: Rubrics for the various demonstrations will need to be created to ensure student work is satisfactory and meets the particular standard being demonstrated.
Training: Appropriate training would need to be providedaround use of rubrics.
Quality Assurance: Mechanisms would need to be established to support quality assurance of the process.
Staffing: A school district would need to be attentive to identifying staff support for student plans. While the expectation is that students would have ownership of his or her own plan, a counselor or a teacher advisor (or a combination of both) would be needed to support the student’s plan design. The writing demonstrations could be supported by teachers in the English courses students are taking. The math or data analysis demonstrations could be supported by teachers in math courses. It also may be appropriate to utilize advisors who are external to school staff.
Advising: As with current Ohio requirements, it is not always easy to know how best to advise students who may not be on track regarding any of the proposed options in each category. For example, if a student is not meeting the end-of-course requirement in a category, is it better to support additional intervention and retakes or to shift focus to the GPA or demonstration approaches? Schools and districts ultimately will improve in advising students, but it will take some time to understand what makes the most sense.

Summary of SB 216 – as passed by Senate March 26, 2018


State Board of Education

Tess Elshoff, President – Nancy Hollister, Vice President

Paolo DeMaria, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Summary of Senate Bill 216

As Passed by the Senate

State achievement assessments

• Requires the Department to request an analysis from the test vendor explaining how questions on each of the state achievement assessments and end-of-course exams are aligned to the statewide academic content standards. (ORC 3301.078)

• Requires the Department to request from the test vendor information and materials for assistance with the state achievement assessments, including practice tests and other preparatory materials. (ORC 3301.078)

• Permits public and chartered nonpublic schools to administer the third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade state achievement assessments in a paper format or a combination of online and paper formats. Allows schools to administer the assessments in either format on a student-by-student basis. (ORC 3301.0711)

Kindergarten readiness assessment

• Requires the Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment Advisory Group to make recommendations for improving the kindergarten readiness assessment. (Section 6)

Reading improvement plans

• Requires a school district, community school, or STEM school in which less than 80% of its students attain a “proficient” score on the third-grade English language arts assessment to establish a reading improvement plan supported by reading specialists. (ORC 3301.0715)

School mandate reports

• Requires the Department to establish, distribute, and monitor a school mandate report for school districts. Requires each school district or school to complete and file a school mandate report on an annual basis and provide a written explanation to its board of education if an item within the report was not completed. This report includes: (1) staff training on the use of physical restraint or seclusion on students; (2) staff training on harassment, intimidation, or bullying; (3) staff training on the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators; (4) the establishment of a wellness committee; (5) compliance with nutritional standards; (6) screening of students for sensory or health problems and developmental disorders; and (7) compliance with open enrollment laws. (ORC 3301.68)

State report card

• Increases from 10 to 30 the minimum number of students in a subgroup for student performance data to be reported. (ORC 3302.03)

Nonteaching employee contracts

• Requires nonteaching school employees to be employed for seven years, rather than three years, prior to receiving a continuing contract (tenure). (ORC 3319.081)

Educator license grade bands

• Sets educator license grade bands as only preK-5, 4-9, or 7-12. (ORC 3319.22)

Educator licenses for substitute teaching

• Requires the State Board to establish new standards for obtaining an educator license for substitute teaching that require a post-secondary degree, but not in any specific subject area. (ORC 3319.226)

• Allows unlimited time in the classroom for substitutes with a post-secondary degree in education or a subject directly related to the subject area of the class. Allows a substitute to teach for one semester with a degree in an unrelated subject, and allows for longer periods upon approval by the school board. (ORC 3319.226)

Teaching outside of subject area or grade level

• Allows school districts to assign a teacher to a subject area for which the teacher is not licensed or to a grade level that is within two grades of the teacher’s licensure grade band for up to three years, if the teacher has at least three years of experience and passes a context exam. Allows the teacher to become fully licensed in the new teaching area or grade after one year if the teacher completes the pedagogy and instruction in teaching reading required for the new assignment. (ORC 3319.361)

Excessively absent students

• Specifies that when determining whether a student is “excessively absent” for the purposes of an absence intervention plan, a school district or school must consider only that student’s unexcused absences, rather than both excused and unexcused absences as under current law. (ORC 3321.191)

Special education preschool staffing

• Requires that a minimum of ten hours of services per week be provided for each disabled child served by a center-based teacher, unless otherwise specified in the child’s individualized education program. (ORC 3323.022)

Professional development for gifted services providers

• Requires the State Board to revise gifted operating standards so that a teacher designated as a gifted services provider must have at least 60 hours of gifted professional development over the first four years of the designation, except that an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate teacher must have only 30 hours over that period. (Section 5)

Intervention Specialists

• Requires licenses for intervention specialists to specify the grade band (preK-5, 4-9, or 7-12) for which the teacher is licensed, but requires licenses for mild-moderate or moderate-intensive interventional specialists to be for grades K-12. (ORC 3319.2210)

Alternative Licenses for Career-Technical Education

• Requires the State Board to adopt rules establishing requirements for career-technical workforce development educator licenses for grades 4-12. Requires issuing an initial license to an employed applicant who has five years of work experience in the subject area and is enrolled in a career-technical education teacher prep program. Requires issuing an advanced license upon completion of the program and passage of a summative performance-based assessment. (ORC 3319.229)

Early College High Schools

• Creates a four-year, non-renewable provisional license to teach grades 7-12 in an Early College High School. Qualifies the teacher for a professional license upon completion of four years of teaching and passage of a pedagogy exam. (3319.262)

Highly Qualified Teachers

• Eliminates references in law to “highly qualified teachers.” (Various sections)

Ohio Teacher Evaluation System

• Requires the Department to revise the State Board’s state framework for teacher evaluations, based on the recommendations of the Educator Standards Board, and to submit a summary of its revisions to the State Board by May 1, 2019. Requires school districts to update their teacher evaluation policies by July 1, 2019. (ORC 3319.111 and 3319.112)

• Eliminates student academic growth as a specific percentage of the evaluation. (ORC 3319.112)

• Requires that the evaluation use “high-quality data,” as defined by the Department. (ORC 3319.112)

• Retains the option to evaluate “skilled” teachers every other year and “accomplished” teachers every third year, as long as the teachers have submitted a professional growth plan. (ORC 3319.111)

• Prohibits shared attribution and the use of student learning objectives. (3319.112)

• Directs the Department to do a pilot program for the 2018-2019 school year to test implementation of the revised framework. (Section 7)

Professional Development

• Requires use of professional development standards in developing professional growth plans. (ORC 3319.075)

College Credit Plus

• Lowers the secondary school’s share of textbook costs from 100% to 50%. Increases the student’s share of textbook costs from 0% to 50%, but requires the school to pay 100% of textbook costs for students with a family income up to 200% of the poverty level. (ORC 3365.072)

• Requires the Department to conduct a study on the results and cost-effectiveness of the College Credit Plus Program. (Section 3)



It’s a complicated issue that requires partnerships with parents and the community.

Educators know that students need to be in school in order to take ownership of their learning and their future!




Editorial: Yes on Issue 1 for congressional redistricting plan

Source: Editorial: Yes on Issue 1 for congressional redistricting plan

A lot of good folks worked many hours to get enough citizen signatures and to get this on the May Primary Ballot!

This is what democracy looks like!


Now we all need to do our research about issues and candidates                                                               and then……..GO VOTE!



UPDATED – July 3, 2018

Note: This report is a summary of committee recommendations to date.

It does not reflect official policy of the State Board of Education or the Ohio Department of Education.


The State Board of Education invited education stakeholders to participate in an expanded series of Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee meetings, as noted in Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education, to address short-term (2017-18 Report Card) and long-term (next iteration of the Report Card) issues surrounding the Ohio School Report Cards. The group reviewed each element of the report card including the federal ESSA requirements, state Ohio Revised Code requirements, state board authority and previously identified issues and options.

The group recognizes the value of the Report Card as part of the statewide accountability system. At the same time, it shares a belief that the current version needs improvement by means of additional clarity and providing a more complete story for each district and school.

Report Cards are very high profile and generate much interest from stakeholders across the state. Many ongoing discussions are occurring regarding the purpose and future of Ohio School report cards.

Multiple legislative proposals have been presented to the General Assembly including work by Representative Mike Duffey (R- Worthington) who has actively participated in the work of this committee. Other groups including the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), Ohio

Association for Gifted Children and the Fordham Institute have made recommendations that informed the work of this committee.

The desired outcome of the group is to collaboratively work on improving the Report Card in order to better communicate the story of Ohio’s schools and districts by making recommendations to the State Board of Education’s Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee. These recommendations could include Board actions through their direct authority and/or recommendations for future legislative change.


Ohio School Report Cards are designed to meet multiple purposes. The group has identified these as the most important:

Support the state’s interest in gauging its education system’s performance: The state has a legitimate interest in knowing how well its education system performs, and the extent to which the students in the system are being prepared for future success. District and school report cards help the state to identify excellence as well as underperformance. In the latter case, report cards identify districts and schools that need support with improvement efforts.

Advance equity: Ensuring equity in the education system is challenging. A well-designed accountability system can help shine light on inequities based on specific student characteristics – socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, disability, English language competency, etc.

Communicate to parents and the community: Report cards can provide communities with information related to certain aspects of the preparation of students for future success. It should answer key questions:

• Are students, generally, learning foundational skills and knowledge?

• Are subgroups of students learning foundational skills and knowledge?

• Is the school or district improving in its fundamental mission to educate students?

Support school and district improvement efforts: Report cards can drive discussions among local boards, teachers and administrators about the causes of underperformance and the strategies and actions that can lead to improvement. The data included demonstrates to educators, school administrators and families where their schools are succeeding as well as areas where they need to improve. The data provided by the report card system, combined with important local data, becomes the basis for a continuous improvement process to build on areas of success and identify targeted plans to address challenges. There are many examples across the state where report card data has stimulated actions to be taken to improve education.

What report cards are not: Report cards are not meant to replace local data, but instead should complement local data sources. Report cards are annual, summative snapshots of performance and are not meant to be formative. Report Card data, including the corresponding diagnostic information, should inform ongoing instructional decisions, but are not intended to be the primary source of information used during the school year to make adjustments to instructional activity. Report cards are not intended to be punitive even though some people may use them in this manner.


The group’s work was guided by these design principles:

• Fair: Perhaps the most common complaint about report cards is whether they fairly portray the performance of the school or district. Report cards need to be fair.

• Honest: Report cards need to be able to honesty differentiate between schools and districts that are performing well and those that are not. They need to be an honest portrayal of what is happening.

• Reliable and Valid: Report cards should provide information that consistently measures the concepts intended to be measured.

• Clear and Easy to Understand: While the measures may be complex, the public facing communications should be clear, easy to understand, and simplified.


It is in that context that this list of recommendations regarding the state report card is presented, as well a recommendation for additional work to be initiated soon.


The Indicators Met measure within the Achievement Component has inherent weaknesses (such as not differentiating between schools that are close to meeting or far from meeting a target).

1) Legislative recommendation: Therefore, the Achievement components should rely solely on the performance index. The Indicators Met measure should be eliminated as a graded measure. Data about the percentage of students performing proficient or better on state assessments should continue to be reported. For comparison purposes, reporting should also include similar districts and state level data.


The Committee has determined that the current K-3 Literacy component is misleading. Report card users think it is a measure literacy performance for all K-3 students when in fact it is a complicated portrayal of efforts to improve outcomes for struggling readers. Some schools may have a small number of students struggling with literacy, while the vast majority of students are succeeding – but the current measure only reflects the struggling students. Making sense of this measure is very challenging.

1) Legislative recommendation: It is recommended that the K-3 Literacy measure be eliminated. If an early literacy measure continues to be included, it should be the Promotion Rate which measures the percentage of students meeting literacy requirements to be promoted to the fourth grade. This should include comparisons to similar districts and the state average.

2) Additional consideration: If the current measure is maintained, it should be renamed to more accurately reflect its focus on struggling readers; and the label of “Not Rated” should be reconsidered for clarity.


The committee believes the Prepared for Success measure has promise. Its current structure does not appropriately value different accomplishments. Its tiered structure adds confusion and makes debatable differentiations between various accomplishments. The group discussed several options to improve the Prepared for Success measure.

1) Legislative recommendation: The Prepared for Success measure should be refined to include additional measures of college, career and life preparedness (for example: military enlistment, ASVAB, CLEP, CTAG, career prep program credentials, Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal, etc.).

2) Board Recommendation: The Committee also recommends that the dual tier structure of Prepared for Success be restructured into a single tier that provides similar credit for all measures (for example, AP and College Credit Plus would have the same weight as remediation free status).

3) Board Recommendation: The above recommendations should apply to the Career Technical Planning District Report Card as well.


The Committee recognizes the importance of growth measures in understanding the progress of students and supports its use as an important equity consideration. At the same time, measuring growth is complex and Ohio’s current system has many challenges including how the measure is communicated, translated into a letter grade, and interrelated with other policies and systems (such as formative assessments).

1) Board Recommendation: The ACI Committee’s Report Card Stakeholder Workgroup shall reconvene in October 2018 to further explore options for all identified themes related to value-added. See Appendix A.


The Committee spent much time discussing the A-F letter grade system, which is the current system of meaningful differentiation of school and district performance required by state law and used to meet federal ESSA requirements.

1) Legislative recommendation: The committee recommends eliminating all A-F letter grades for the entire report card; and replacing the rating system with a system of descriptive labels (e.g. ‘Exceeds Standards’, ‘Meets Standards’, ‘Approaching Standards’ and ‘Does Not Meet Standards’); while still maintaining high expectations and aspirational goals.

• The Committee recommends revisiting this issue in more detail when reconvening in the fall.


The committee extensively considered how the “report card” is presented. To some, the report card is the landing page (first screen) that appears on a computer screen when a school or district is selected on the Department’s report card web page. Others consider the report card to include all pages of the report card PDF – in many cases in excess of 30 pages. Ultimately users need to be able to access both high level information as well as the background detail. However, the most important consideration is what appears on the first page. In all actions taken to improve the report card, the goal is for the first page to provide clarity of content and be understandable to parents, caregivers, and the community.

1) Department recommendations: The design could be improved by:

• Adding more descriptive narrative on the purpose of the report card to the landing page (i.e. homepage);

• Reviewing language to improve clarity; and ensure clear definitions and descriptions of measures are accessible up front;

• Relocating the “District Profile” link to the Report Card overview for increased prominence;

• Adding additional clarifying language regarding the graduation rate cohorts.


The workgroup participated in a brainstorm activity with the purpose of generating ideas for future consideration to be addressed beginning in the fall of 2018. The following is a list of the ideas generated by the group:

• Reconvene this workgroup in October 2018 to further consider more complex issues around the Report Card

• Further explore opportunities to improve the value-added measure

• Further discuss the A-F system and other rating systems, including a review of descriptive labels used by other states.

We, the members of the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Report Card Workgroup, appreciate the opportunity to be part of this process to make a meaningful contribution to addressing the present challenge of the Ohio School Report Card.

Committee Members

Nancy Hollister, Chair

Cathye Flory, Vice Chair

Lisa Woods

Pat Bruns

Laura Kohler

Antoinette Miranda

Eric Poklar

Charles Froehlich

External Committee

Randy Smith, OSBA

Stephanie Starcher, BASA

Scott Emery, OAESA

Tyler Keener, OASSA

Margie Toy Ma, OPTA

Donna O’Connor, OEA

Brad Dillman, OFT

Jamey Palma, Career Tech

Jan Osborn, ESC


While clear recommendations have not yet emerged, several key themes have been identified for future discussion when the Committee reconvenes.

1) Testing structure. The Committee understands that the Value-Added system is exclusively dependent on the underlying assessments used. The Committee discussed the differences in intent and practice of formative assessment systems (such as MAP and STAR) and state assessments. In many cases, formative systems provide useful information that the current state system is not intended or designed to provide. At the same time, multiple testing structures lead to concerns about over-testing and incoherent feedback from the data. The committee is interested in exploring innovative approaches to formative assessments or state testing that may address these concerns. This could include working with formative assessment vendors to address state concerns on issues such as alignment with state standards and, in particular, the depth of knowledge required to meet state standards.

2) Formally studying the relationship between state and vendor test results. A related point is that state data and formative vendor data do not always produce consistent results, even though they are both supposedly aligned to state standards. The committee discussed possible reasons for this (breadth and depth, above grade level testing, etc.). However, it would be beneficial to more formally study and understand these relationships.

3) Distribution of results. While the committee discussed a general preference to eliminate all A-F letter grades (including Value-Added), concerns were also raised about the distribution of letter grades in the current system. Specifically, there are concerns regarding the “W” shaped distribution of results for Value-Added, that is, significant numbers of A’s and F’s, very few B’s and C’s, and a moderate amount of C’s. This issue was also raised during ESSA stakeholder feedback and reiterated by staff. This phenomenon is solely a function of where/how the letter grade cut lines are established – a policy that is prescribed in state law, but for which recommendations to adjust could be made.

4) Number of years of data. A related point, and one that had been raised during ESSA stakeholder engagement (particularly from urban districts) is the statutorily required use of three years of data. The Value-Added grade is essentially a three-year average, which means that results from previous years influence current and future grades. Districts with poor results a few years ago are still connected to those results even if improvements have since occurred. This three-year approach was implemented to add more stability to the measure, but conversely means the measure is not necessarily reflective of the most recent year.

5) Relative weight of growth measure. Many measures, especially achievement measures, are correlated with socio-economic status. All students, regardless of their starting point, can show growth in Ohio’s system and the Value-Added measures are designed to measure that growth – which is an important tool with which to evaluate the equity of educational outcomes. Many stakeholders have suggested increasing the relative weight of growth measures. Currently, it is equal to achievement (by state law), and 20% of the overall grade (by administrative rule).

6) Technical fixes. There are some technical options that could be considered including the following:

a. How to communicate grades (ratings) when a school’s achievement improves, but does not meet growth expectations.

b. The current subgroup demotion when calculating the component grade. In state law, schools cannot receive an “A” for the Progress Component if any of the subgroup grades are lower than a “B”.

c. The interpretation of the Value-Added gain index, which is currently based on growth and a measure of statistical strength.

d. The availability of a predictive model to support the system properly accounting for gifted students (e.g. how do middle school students count when they accelerate over a grade into Algebra I?) and assisting with acceleration decisions.

7) Communications. Measuring growth is inherently complex and there are known challenges to effectively communicating Value-Added measures. These range from branding, to interpretation, to understanding the formula. The communication challenges vary between different audiences – how value-added should be communicated to parents is different than how it should be communicated to Building Leadership Teams (BLTs).

8) Training and Professional Learning. Emphasis should also be placed on education and training on ValueAdded data and measures. This could build on the current structure of Regional Data Leads (RDLs).