Grading system gets ‘F’

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016

Within the past few weeks, the Ohio Department of Education released the state report cards for each school district throughout Ohio for the 2015-2016 academic year. And many of those grades on the report cards are ones that would cause a child to hold on to it until Sunday, right before bedtime, before showing it to their parents.

However, while many of the grades for the school districts showed less than stellar results, any negative reaction should focus less on the districts, their teachers or students and more on how these assessments are structured.

This is because the tests changed in each of the past three school years and have become a moving target. This makes it difficult for everyone, from the educators, the students, their parents and all taxpayers to accurately make a determination of exactly how well the districts are performing.

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Are there occurrences where an increase or decrease would happen in these report cards from year to year? Sure, but to say many of our schools in Lawrence County, and nearly 60 percent statewide, would realize Ds and Fs in several indicators from last year to this year doesn’t make much sense.

At its core, the objective for these reports cards is sound, as the main goal is to provide our administrators, teachers, students and parents the ability to gauge the performance of their school districts as it relates to preparing our children. However, the system by which these measures are done should receive an “F.”

We certainly feel that assessments are a critical component, and the standards should be high, to ensure that our children are properly moving through their educational journey. And while we encourage the Ohio Department of Education to continue to challenge our school districts, it must do its part and develop a consistent multi-year testing approach that allows for uniform and accurate results.

Will there need to be adjustments at times? Sure, but to continually ask our students and those charged with educating them to hit that moving target and have little consistency by which they will be measured simply fails to reach the mark.