Mason’s superintendent defended the district’s top academic ranking amidst new claims that Ohio’s rankings for schools are too low.
The Enquirer’s Denise Smith Amos reports:
A first-of-its-kind study claims Ohio gives the equivalent of A grades to districts that don’t deserve it, and it calls the state system of school report cards “an illusion or cruel hoax.”
And the state’s top education official agreed: The state’s expectations for its schools are too low.
The Ohio Association for Gifted Children, a statewide advocacy group of parents and teachers, says the state should evaluate districts based on how well they prepare students for college, not on how many students meet minimum academic standards.
The report, called “Grading on a Curve: The Illusion of Excellence in Ohio’s Schools,” says the number of districts Ohio labeled Excellent or Excellent with Distinction (similar to an A and A+) has quadrupled in nine years, even though other national measures place student performance in this state below national averages.
“The standards used to grade districts in this state are shockingly low,” the study says. “The more one analyzes what it takes to be an excellent district, the clearer it becomes that something is horribly wrong with Ohio’s standards for excellence.”
Read more details about the report and the state’s response to it at cincinnati.com.
In the 2010-11 school year, Ohio rated 57 percent of its school districts – 352 of 614 – as Excellent or Excellent with Distinction, the top two of six state rankings. That’s up from only 85 Excellent districts in the 2002-03 school year. (Ohio had no Excellent with Distinction rating back then.)
Mason, one of the state’s premiere academic performers, earned the state’s top academic ranking of “Excellent With Distinction” this year.
The previous school year saw the 11,000-student district, which consistently ranks among the top 10 of Ohio’s 614 districts, fall one rating to “Excellent” for the first time since Ohio began the annual district rankings in 2000.
Mason was among several Cincinnati-area school districts who disagreed that their academic standards are too low, saying they’ve set higher academic standards than the state requires for their graduates.
Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline said her district’s ACT and SAT scores are above national averages and 619 students lat year took AP exams, with 90 percent passing them.
“We view the state’s assessments as a starting point,” she said.
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