Education Advocacy Groups Want to Simplify School Report Cards

Dec 7, 2017

Reports show that Ohio school report cards may be too complex.
Credit SHUTTERSTOCK

Two national education advocacy groups say Ohio could be doing better when it comes to its annual school report cards. Both groups say they’re too complicated.

 

In its review, the Data Quality Campaign says Ohio’s school report cards are written at a college reading level. And for the group's policy director, Brennan Parton, that’s a problem.

“Even for my staff that reviewed it, often with master’s degrees, it was hard to understand what these report cards were conveying,” said Parton.

Parton says complicated language makes it difficult for parents to use the data placed in front of them. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is also recommending simplification. Right now, Ohio report cards contain as many as 14 letter grades for a school or district. “That’s a little bit, I guess you could say, overboard when it comes to school ratings. If you look at a kids report card, they might have five or six that are important to parents,” said Aaron Churchill. Fordham’s Ohio Research Director Aaron Churchill suggests Ohio reduce the number of letter grades to six areas, including an overall grade, graduation rates and student growth.