Ohio’s ed system ranked 10th nationally, still merits just a C+
Ohio has gotten a lot of feedback on its education system in the past few weeks. On January 10, the U.S. Department of Education released a progress report detailing the Buckeye State’s accomplishments and challenges with Race to the Top funds. (Here is Fordham’s take on the report.) On January 12, Education Week released the national report card Quality Counts 2012: The Global Challenge –Education in a Competitive World.
Each year, Education Week chooses a theme that serves as the underlying narrative for the report, this year’s being “American Education from a Global Perspective.” The report “takes a critical look at the nation’s place among the world’s public education systems, with an eye toward providing policymakers with perspective on the extent to which high-profile international assessments can provide valid comparisons and lessons.”
States are graded on six criteria:
1. Chance for Success: Looks at the broader educational environment: from family income and parent English proficiency to adult educational attainment, and takes into account the lingering effects of the ongoing recession. Ohio’s Score: C+ (78.4); Nation’s Score: C+ (77.6)
2. K-12 Achievement: Examines school achievement: 4th and 8th grade scores on math and English tests, the influence of the poverty gap on test scores, and high school graduation rates. Ohio’s Score: C- (71.2); Nation’s Score: C- (69.7)
3. School Finance: Looks at school funding equity across the state: the correlation between school funding and property-based wealth, per-pupil expenditure, and the percent of total taxable resources dedicated to K-12 education. Ohio’s Score: C (76.0); Nation’s Score: C (75.5)
4. Standards, Assessments, & Accountability: Reviews a state’s course- and grade-specific standards (including the Common Core math and ELA standards for those states that have adopted them), types of test items, assessments aligned to standards, and school accountability systems. Ohio’s Score: A (96.1); Nation’s Score: B (85.3)
5. Teaching Profession: Assesses teacher quality initiatives, including coursework requirements for licensure, alternative licensure programs, merit pay, and professional development programs. Ohio’s Score: C (76.4); Nation’s Score: C (72.5)
6. Transitions & Alignment: Was not updated in 2012 Ohio’s Score: C+ (78.6); Nation’s Score: C+ (78.3)
Ohio ranked 10th nationally with an overall grade of C+ (79.5); slightly ahead of the U.S. average of C (76.5). While Ohio should be applauded for ranking 10th, a C+ is an average score that most states also received. It seems the Buckeye State is simply the best of the mediocre states. Results ranged from first place Maryland, B+ (87.8), to last place South Dakota, D+ (68.1), and a majority of the states fell into the C range.
Ohio’s best performance was in the category “Standards, Assessments, & Accountability.” This should come as no surprise. Ohio has long been a leader in the standards and accountability realm, and while many (Fordham included) have lamented that Ohio fell behind other states in recent years when it came to reforms like adopting a strong teacher evaluation system, our Race to the Top grant has helped spur changes.
Ohio’s worst performance was in the “K-12 achievement” category. And again, this shouldn’t surprise many – the state’s performance on NAEP (aka the Nation’s Report Card) has been stagnate, and unimpressive, for years now. Preschool-going rates are a factor in the K-12 achievement section as well, and State Superintendent Stan Heffner told the Hannah Report that he hopes more students from underserved families will be able to attend preschool and kindergarten with the help of Ohio’s $70 million grant from the Race to the Top Early Learning program.
As Ohio looks to improve its education deliver systems in times of tight budgets, it is important that the efforts focus on policies and programs known to help advance student achievement. This report is useful in helping Ohioans understand where we currently stand and where we need to go.
Category: Ohio Policy
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