Department of Education to release report card ratings, performance indexes and attendance rates on Wednesday

The Ohio Department of Education is expected to release the 2011-12 report card ratings, performance indexes and attendance rates for local schools and districts on Wednesday, according to Ohio Acting Superintendent Michael Sawyers.

The information will be released in spreadsheet form and include the preliminary report card data released Sept. 26. That data included state test scores, graduation rates and how districts fared on student growth measures.

The Ohio report cards have been delayed this year because of an ongoing statewide investigation into whether school districts manipulated attendance data to improve their state ratings. The report cards were slated to be released in August.

Sawyers said the report card data released Wednesday could change pending the outcome of the auditor’s investigation, but it was announced this month that no local districts show evidence of attendance scrubbing.

“If districts have been given the ‘all clear’ by the auditor, there’s a good chance their data won’t change,” said John Charlton, ODE spokesman. “Their rankings might change, if the data of the districts accused changes, but their ratings should stay the same.”

Northridge Local and Hamilton City school districts, which were among a sampling of 100 schools under review, still are being evaluated by the state. Another auditor’s report is expected by Oct. 23.

“Just because they haven’t been cleared doesn’t mean they’re guilty,” Charlton said.

The ODE will not publish report card PDFs until the investigation is complete, but the ratings released Wednesday should look familiar. Schools and districts will be designated as “Excellent with Distinction,” “Excellent,” “Effective,” “Continuous Improvement,” “Academic Watch” or “Academic Emergency,” as they have for the last few years.

The state eventually plans to assign letter grades in place of these designations, but Charlton said that change will not happen until at least 2013.

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