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Ohio's School Report Cards (for Parents)!

It can be extremely difficult deciding where to send your child to school. Trust me...I know! My daughter is only 3 years old and I’m already fervently trying to decide where she will attend Kindergarten!

One measure to use when selecting the best fit learning environment for your child is the Local Report Card. Ohio’s Local Report Card measures every public school’s performance year to year. This blog post will help you understand the six components assessed on the Local Report Card. Ideally, this information will assist you in making a more informed decision regarding where your child will receive his/her K-12 schooling.

This article won’t give the extensive version of calculations, but it will help you understand why Ohio issues a local report card and what is being measured.

Let’s take a look:

The screenshot above was taken directly from the Ohio Department of Education’s website as an example of what the local report card looks like.

The following are brief descriptions of each graded component. You can find brief descriptors directly on the report card. The descriptors below have been worded for easy understanding.

Achievement: How well students perform on state standardized tests

Progress: How well schools/districts are growing students based on past performance

Gap Closing: How well the school/district is closing the achievement gap for certain subgroups of students (Special Education students, English Learners, Economically Disadvantaged students, etc.)

Graduation Rate: How well the school or district is graduating students in 4-5 years (note: Ohio has multiple Dropout Prevention and Recovery Schools that serve students who may have aged out of that 4-5 year graduation period.)

Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers: How well the school is improving reading skills for struggling readers (THIS IS CRITICAL WHEN TRYING TO DECIDE WHERE YOUR CHILD WILL ATTEND KINDERGARTEN- THIRD GRADE)

Prepared for Success: How well the school prepares students for college, careers, or military immediately following high school

2018 is the first year that schools received overall letter grades.


At first glance, your child’s school report card may scare you, but keep digging deeper into the data.

Let’s take a look at Columbus City Schools for instance.

The district, as a whole, received an alarming amount of Fs across the board. Consider though, that the district is a large, urban district made up of the following demographics:

Columbus City Schools reports that 100% of the students they serve are economically disadvantaged, over half of their student population is Black/African American and the district has a high mobility rate (meaning students move in and out of the district and often don’t spend the majority of the year in the district).

Columbus City School District also served over 50,000 students during the 2017-2018 school year.

The report card shown below is from the Olentangy School District which is made up of 75% White students, 4% Black students, 6.6% of economically disadvantaged students and a much lower mobility rate.