The Buckeye State’s new A-F report card is a wonderful opportunity for parents to gain a better appreciation of how their child’s school is doing, and to take action if necessary. This August, Ohio switched to a conventional A-F letter grading system to report (public) school and district performance. The A-F grades provide a clear and transparent way of reporting whether a school is academically strong, weak, or somewhere in between.
But with nine (!) indicators of school performance in play (and more to come), parents also need to know which of the letter grades are the most crucial to understand, and how they ought to interpret them. (Ohio will not issue an “overall” A-F letter grade to schools and districts until August 2015.)
So, how is a parent to understand the state’s new school report cards? To start, let’s begin with the two big questions that parents likely want to know about their child’s school (or potential school).
1.) Is the typical student in my child’s school achieving at a high-level?
2.) Is my child’s school helping students learn?
There are two key A-F letter grades that answer these questions.
To answer question one, parents should look towards a school’s performance index A-F rating. The performance index letter grade indicates how well a school’s students perform on Ohio’s standardized exams. Hence, this is the key gauge of raw student achievement within a school.
By looking at the performance index rating, parents can gain a sense of whether their child’s...