At the urging of career-technical groups, career-tech ed and all 91 career-technical planning districts (CTPDs) were graded separately from local school districts in order to give a clear picture of career-tech ed on the ODE School Report Cards released September 15.
According to the ODE School Report Card Web site, the purpose of the Report Cards are to help the community and educators improve: “Ohio School Report Cards give your community a clear picture of the progress of your district and schools in raising achievement and preparing students for the future. The information measures district and school performance in the areas most critical to success in learning. Ohio School Report Cards data shows educators, school administrators and families where their schools are succeeding as well as areas where they need to improve.”
As expected, many school districts, including career-technical planning districts (CTPDs) received low, or even failing, grades on several of the components. Reacting to these low grades, ODE and others are defending the expected low grades, while others criticize the process as being overly complicated and not providing a true picture of a school district.
"Ohio has raised expectations for students to reflect what is necessary for them to be successful in college, careers and life. This year's report cards and the grades we're seeing reflect a system in transition," Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said in a media release.
So what do the report cards mean to CTE, and more importantly, how should the CTE community respond? Taking cues from both the proponents and opponents of the School Report Card, Ohio ACTE characterizes the Report Card as “a tool that helps school districts measure progress toward new and different standards of success being implemented by the Ohio Department of education in order to make sure all students have the knowledge they need to be successful in today’s world. Another measurement, other than the ubiquitous A-F scale would have been less complicated and more easily communicated to parents and community members who already have pre-conceived ideas on what the letter grades mean, because it is so familiar to anyone who has ever been a student.”
“Ohio ACTE and the CTE community remain committed to constant improvement and helping students succeed and offer assistance to ODE in communicating and working on a reporting method that helps the community understand and motivates schools to meet the challenges of implementing the higher standards and expectations,” said Christine Gardner, Ohio ACTE Executive Director. “Unfortunately, when a conscientious student receives an “F” in a class, it’s de-motivating, so it’s difficult to see the current scale as a way to seek improvement, but as always, CTE will focus on what’s best for students and not let a failing grade in one or more of ODE’s new standards deter progress and improvement.”