Mason Schools was among 15 Southwest Ohio schools to drop one ranking category in preliminary Ohio Report Card ratings, according to data released today by the Ohio Department of Education.
Mason, one of the state’s premiere academic performers, fell one rating from the top academic ranking of “Excellent With Distinction” to “Excellent” for the 2011-12 school year.
This is the second time the 11,000-student district, which consistently ranks among the top 10 of Ohio’s 614 districts, has fallen in ratings since Ohio began the annual district rankings in 2000. The district received a ranking of “Excellent” in 2009-10.
Kings Schools maintained its ranking of “Excellent” for the 2011-12 school year.
The report cards rate schools using a number of academic measures. There are six rating categories: Excellent with Distinction, Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic Watch and Academic Emergency. Good ratings can have financial benefits. Poor ratings can lead to intervention or school-restructuring.
An Enquirer analysis shows 15 Southwest Ohio districts dropped one rating category, 24 reamined the same and 10 improved one rating.
In all, 12 districts earned the top rating of Excellent with Distinction, compared to 10 last year. Another 18 are rated Excellent, down from 24 in that category last year. 11 are Effective, compared to nine last year and seven were in Continous Improvement, compared to six last year. One, Winton Woods, dropped into Academic Watch, the only district in the region to rate that low this year or last year.
A statewide investigation into attendance rigging has delayed the release for nearly two months. The report cards are typically released in late August, as families are preparing to start school.
The state released some data, including new four-year gradation rates, in September. But the ratings, which many families feel is the most important part of the report card, were held back.
The ratings often feed perceptions about school quality and can affect whether the public approves new school taxes or re-elects sitting school board members. The ratings are based on analysis of multiple academic measures, including students’ scores on state standardized tests and graduation rates.
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost launch a statewide investigation into enrollment irregularities after allegations of attendance-rigging arose at a handful of Ohio schools, including Lockland. The state opted to delay release of the report cards until it had more information from Yost so it could make sure the data was accurate.
Most of the 100 districts included in Yost’s initial review, including some in Greater Cincinnati, were clean. Others, including the Cincinnati, Princeton and Hamilton City school districts locally, are still being reviewed.
The report card data is still unofficial and could be subject to change based on results of Yost’s investigation, which may not be completed until January. The report card data will be released in spreadsheet form for now, rather than the typical user-friendly pdf files.
The Enquirer will update this story
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