House and Senate Bills Both Seek to Revise Ohio’s School Report Card

Competing bills in the House and the Senate are both focused on overhauling Ohio’s School Report Card. House Bill (HB) 200 is sponsored by Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Rep.  Phillip Robinson (D-Solon), while Senate Bill (SB) 145 is sponsored by Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware).

There are many parallels in the two pieces of legislation, but there are also some compelling differences. The most evident is in how the bills address the rating system.

HB 200 rates five components: Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation, and Third Grade Reading Guarantee. A six-level performance rating system is applied to each of the components: Significantly Exceeds Expectations, Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Making Substantial Progress Toward Expectations, Making Moderate Progress Toward Expectations, and In Need of Improvement. HB 200 does not include an overall summative rating, preferring instead for the focus to be on the component ratings.

The original version of SB 145 continued to use the A through F letter grade system; however, a substitute version of the bill replaces the letter grade system with a five-star system. Substitute SB 145 applies that rating system to six components: Achievement, Progress, Equity (currently Gap Closing), Prepared for Success, and Early Literacy. Each star level includes a descriptor: Five stars = making excellent progress, four stars = making above average progress, three stars = making average progress, two stars = making below average progress, one star = failing to meet minimum progress.

Unlike HB 200, SB 145 continues to use an overall—or summative—rating for each district and school. The summative rating also uses the five-star system, but includes half star ratings and different descriptors: five stars = significantly exceeds state targets, four to four-and-a-half stars = exceeds state targets, three to three-and-a-half stars = meets state standards, two to two-and-a-half stars = meets few state targets, one to one-half star = does not meet state targets.

There are parallels and differences in how the two bills would revise the rating of the components. The following is an overview the areas of agreement and the disparities between the two pieces of legislation.

Both bills use the Performance Index (PI) as the basis for the rating of the Achievement component. This approach increases equity by ensuring every student’s test score is counted, and not just those who score proficient or above, as is the current practice with the use of Performance Indicators (results on each state test) to measure Achievement. Both bills change the Performance Indicators to “report only” measures. In addition, the bills are in agreement in changing the “accelerated” performance level to “accomplished” to avoid confusion with Gifted and Talented terminology which uses “accelerated” to denote subject-area or whole-grade acceleration of a student.

Differences: HB 200 provides an additional performance level of “approaching proficient” for purposes of calculating the PI. This level would fall between the current levels of “basic” and “proficient.” The “approaching proficient” performance level would have a multiplier of .8 in the calculation of the PI. In addition, HB 200 calls for the top score when calculating PI performance levels to be changed. The current top score is 120, which can be obtained only when every student in the school or district scores at the advanced level on all required assessments. It can be argued that this is humanly impossible as no district or school has ever achieved this “perfect” score, making the current calculation unfair to districts and schools. HB 200 establishes the top score as the average score of the top 10% of districts and schools on the 2018-2019 school report card (the last time we had a report card not impacted by the pandemic). This average would be re-calculated every five years.

HB 200 and SB 145 both use the overall value-added score for the district or school to determine the Progress rating. Both give flexibility to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to explore the feasibility of replacing the current system of calculating value-added with the value-added gain score and effect size to improve differentiation and interpretation of the measure. In other words, ODE could switch to using a true “growth measure” of student academic performance as opposed to using the current system which calculates the “statistical confidence” of a student meeting or not meeting growth measures. The bills are also in agreement that no subgroups are reported in this component, there are no subgroup demotions, and there are no value-added rankings.

Differences: HB 200 allows a district or school to use the most recent year of value-added data or the most recent three years of data in the measurement of this component, whichever is most beneficial to the district or school. SB 145 uses the most recent three years of value-added data, with the most recent year counting for 50% of the rating while years 2 and 3 each count for 25% of the rating.

Gap Closing/ Equity
Both bills continue to use Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) to determine the rating of the component. The bills also determine that there are no demotions for subgroup performance.

Differences: SB 145 changes the name of the component from “Gap Closing” to “Equity.” SB 145 also mandates that the performance rating is based on meeting established benchmarks in both progress and achievement. HB 200 determines that subgroups can meet expectations through meeting either the progress or achievement benchmark. SB 145 establishes the n-size for identifying subgroups at 15 while HB 200 sets the n-size at 20. In addition, HB 200 eliminates the “lowest 20%” as a subgroup.

HB 200 and SB 145 both use the federally-required four- and five-year adjusted cohort graduation rates to calculate the rating of the Graduation component. Both bills also provide additional information to accompany the graduation rates. They are parallel in reporting the percentage of students who did not graduate, but are still receiving services due to an IEP and the percentage of students who officially withdrew from a district or building and did not receive a high school diploma.

Differences: There are also some small differences in the “report only” information provided under the Graduation component. HB 200 provides the graduation rate for students who completed all of grades nine through twelve while enrolled in the district or building. SB 145 reports the students included in the four- and five-year adjusted cohort graduation rates who did not receive a high school diploma, but are still enrolled in the district or building and receiving general education services (as opposed to students on IEPs who continue to receive services).

Prepared for Success
Both HB 200 and SB 145 expand the elements included in the Prepared for Success component. The additions incorporate elements from the Career Tech Center report card, such as recognizing students who earned an industry-recognized credential, completed an internship, earned a score of proficient or higher on three or more state technical assessments in a single career pathway, or can show evidence of enlistment in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Differences: The biggest difference in the two pieces of legislation is that HB 200 makes this a “report only” component while SB 145 mandates a rating for this component. SB 145 also includes “Post-graduate Outcomes” in the rating of this component. These outcomes include tracking the percentage of students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education institution, those who enter an apprenticeship program, those who attain gainful employment, and those who enlist in a branch of the Armed Forces. SB 145 also mandates tracking and reporting the percentage of high school seniors in each school year who completed the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA).

Third Grade Reading Guarantee/Early Literacy
Both bills track whether a district or building is making progress in improving literacy in grades kindergarten through three.

Differences:  One difference is how the progress of K through three students is tracked. HB 145 provides a “report only” requirement which shares the percentage of students who are “on track” in meeting grade-level benchmarks at each grade level. This information is not used in the grading of this component. SB 145 reports the percentage of students moving from “off track” to “on track” at each grade level. This information is included in the grading of the component, combined with the percentage of students who score proficient or higher on the reading segment of the third grade English/Language Arts (ELA) assessment. HB 200’s Third Grade Reading guarantee measure is based on the percentage of students in a district or school who are promoted to fourth grade and not subject to retention under the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee. SB 145 requires that, to the extent possible, the results of summer administrations of the ELA assessment will be used in calculating the component rating.

There are other areas of the proposed legislation where there are parallels and differences. For example, both require the State Board of Education to adopt rules to establish performance criteria for performance ratings and a method to assign them to the performance measures. However, SB 145 requires that in establishing the performance criteria, the state board must consult with stakeholder groups and advocates that represent parents, community members, students, business leaders and educators from different school typology regions.

And both pieces of legislation address issues such as requirements for Community Schools and Community School sponsors, eligibility for Academic Distress Commissions (ADCs) and criteria for exiting ADCs. However, the goal of the article is to provide an overview, as addressing each element of both pieces of legislation would be prohibitive space-wise.

It is anticipated that, at some point, there will be compromises made between the House and Senate and that the legislation revising Ohio’s School Report Card will be a reflection of components from both HB 200 and SB 145.

To see the legislation and summary for HB 200, click here.

To see the legislation and summary for SB 145, click here.