Group wants Ohio to dump A-F letter grades on school report cards

The push to change Ohio’s state report card system for schools continued to get louder this week, as a work group of state school board members and education advocates released their recommended changes.

After months of meetings, the group on Tuesday recommended eliminating all A-F letter grades and replacing them with language like “meets standards” or “exceeds standards.” They recommended eliminating K-3 Literacy and “indicators met” as graded measures, and they called for further study on the “value-added” system that the state uses to measure student and school growth.

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A full state board resolution on the recommendations was introduced Tuesday, then tabled for future consideration.

Most of the changes the work group recommended would require approval from the state legislature, and several of them are in line with State Rep. Mike Duffey’s House Bill 591 on the same topic, which had hearings this spring, but did not advance for a vote.

Since that bill did not pass, schools and districts will, for the first time in years, receive overall letter grades on the 2017-18 report card that is released in September.

“I think they’re going to be very disappointed with those grades, and then I think there will be a renewed urgency to reform the report card,” Duffey said. “I wanted a moratorium on the overall letter grade, and that just didn’t happen (in time).”

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Duffey, who communicated with this work group during its study, said Tuesday that the group’s recommendations need to be more specific and need to consider how pieces of the report card work together.

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