Both an Independent Peer Review of Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and The U.S. Department of Education Found the Plan Lacking in Critical Details
Tricia Ebner, Ohio’s Standards Advocates
(Wadsworth, OH, Wednesday, January 31, 2018) – An independent peer review of Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability plan has been released.
Ohio’s plan, along with 33 other state plans, was submitted in September 2017 to the U.S. Department of Education in order to comply with ESSA; the peer review shows Ohio’s education plan included detailed supports for schools in need of improvement, strong goals, details for providing a high-quality education to all students, and continuous improvement.
The goal of the independent peer review was to provide constructive information to state education agencies in an effort to strengthen state plans and to inform parents so that they could engage with their state policymakers.
Across the nine categories, Ohio received its highest score – 4 out of a possible 5 – in the Goals, Academic Progress, All Students, Supporting Schools, and Continuous Improvement categories. Ohio earned its lowest score – 2 out of 5 – in the Exiting Improvement Status categories.
Some highlights of Ohio’s plan include its clear delineation of long-term goals and annual targets that will reduce achievement gaps in the state over 10 years, with the aim of ensuring all students are prepared for success after high school. Ohio provides data as evidence that the goals are ambitious for its schools and districts. Ohio also wisely aligns its goals with its objectives for A-F school grades. The state sets a 93 percent four-year graduation rate as its long-term goal, which also reflects the rate required for a high school to earn an A on that component of the grading formula.
Ohio’s plan has room for improvement in defining how schools will exit improvement status category. Schools will exit improvement status if they are no longer in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools for two years consecutively. While it is helpful to look for gains over multiple years, a school could exit improvement status simply by other schools getting worse and not the school itself improving. Ohio’s exit criteria for schools in comprehensive support due to low subgroup performance suffers from the same flaw, as the only expectation is to improve their subgroup performance so that no individual group is performing similarly to subgroups in the bottom five percent.