Ohio Educational Policy and CCSS Updates

In case you missed it, the state of Ohio is running a series of common core informational sessions throughout the state at various ESC’s over the next month.  Last night, I attended the Franklin county meeting.  As I’ve said before, I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about CCSS related issues, but every time I attend another conference or meeting (the last one was just a few weeks ago, for instance), I learn SO MUCH MORE.  Last night’s PPT was a slightly modified version of the one you can find here, and screenshots throughout this post will be of slides from the PPT.

Last night’s meeting was run primarily by Michael Sawyers, Deputy Superintendent for the state of Ohio.  As an aside, Sawyers was a fantastic speaker who moved at the speed of light through a meaty presentation–demonstrating his high level of preparedness.  He also answered questions thoughtfully and thoroughly with well-informed answers, and when he didn’t know answers, her referred the questioner directly to a name and/or email address where they could direct their question.  Fantastic.

Under Ohio’s Current System:

  • Sawyers reiterated 41% of high school graduates in Ohio must take remedial classes in math and/or ELA.  That means, he said, students are paying to take high school classes in college.  To find out how the graduates from YOUR DISTRICT are doing in college, you can search by district or by high school on the Ohio Board of Regents website.  (This was new to me, so I hope you find it as useful and eye opening as I did!)
  • I have told you this data before, after the Fordham Conference, but here are the slides to support what I’ve said.  Under Ohio’s current OAA and OGT assessments, students need only to answer 1/3-1/2 of the questions correctly to score “proficient.”  Also, note the “proficient” cut score is determined each year after the assessments have been administered and based on how well Ohio’s students did.  Cut scores on the PARCC assessments will be determined by PARCC and will be internationally benchmarked (more about PARCC to come).
  • Students in 7th grade math must only answer 32% of questions correctly to be proficient:

  • Students in 6th grade reading must only answer 35% to be proficient:

  • To be “advanced” on the OGT in reading, a student needs to score a 79%

  • And “advanced” in OGT Math is 77%

  • In a discussion about technology, Sawyers said 70% of students enrolled in public schools in Ohio have a smart phone.  (As you may know from some other posts I have written , I strongly support use of those mini computers in the classroom as a way to incorporate more technology and give access to students in schools that can’t afford enough computers.)
  • Sawyers said the Lexile scores of texts in career tech schools is higher than those in k-12 texts, which reinforces the need to up the levels of text complexity throughout k-12.
  • The need for common core adoption in Ohio came from business needs.  Business executives said they need workers with skills that cannot be “outsourced, digitized, or automated.”  Those skills are creativity, innovation, problem solving, and collaboration.  Because these skills cannot easily be tested, Sawyers said we need to improve performance-based assessments to evaluate student learning.
  • The link for the Technology Analysis Tool I mentioned went out to Ohio’s superintendents in a newsletter this week, so all districts should have it.  He did say, however, that the analysis is based on the minimum levels of necessity.
  • This PPT slide was somewhat mind blowing to me.  Because the new assessments are based on rigor that far surpasses that of our current assessments, it is projected that only those students who currently score “advanced” on OAAs and OGTs will score “proficient” on the new assessments:

  • IMPORTANT NOTE:  I am very concerned about what will happen to the state of education in Ohio when this drop in scores occurs.  In a moment, I’m going to talk about the potentially new grading system (as part of the application for ESEA waiver Ohio completed), which will confound this problem further.  What is important is that we start communicating this drop in scores to our communities.  This drop does not adequately represent the quality of our schools; instead, it represents the change in rigor of the assessments.   We need to make sure regular, everyday Ohioans understand this–especially if your school will have a new or renewal ballot issue in 2013-14 or 2014-15.
  • Sawyer said, and I agreed, educators are “doing great in a system that mandates mediocrity,” but the CCSS demand so much more than that.

Changes in Evaluation Systems

  • First, let me again show you the framework (requirements) established by the state for the new principal and teacher evaluation systems under HB153.
  • Teacher Framework:

The OTHER 50%–Student Growth Measures

  • Both the principal and teacher evaluations include 50% based on “student growth measures.”  As this has been a major point of contention in the state of Ohio, I wanted to pass along the clarity I got at last night’s meeting.
  • The 50% is to be defined by each local board of education and district NO LATER THAN JULY 1, 2013.  If your district is not already working on this, it is time to begin doing so.

  • HB153 requires that 50% to be made up of multiple measures of student growth.  However, for teachers who instruct in grade levels with standardized testing, those test results must be included in the 50%, the percentage of weight those measures have in the 50% is to be determined by the local district.  So, OGT results, for instance, could be only 2% of the 50% of a teacher’s evaluation.
  • Question:  If you teach multiple subjects with multiple standardized testing areas (ex. you are an ELA and history teacher), could those count as “multiple measures”?  Sawyers said the current conversation is yes, they can, which means that teachers entire value-added measure could account for 50% of his/her evaluation.
  • Question:  What frameworks has Ohio established for the evaluations?  Ohio has the OTES (teacher evaluations) pilot happening right now and the OPES (Principals) evaluation that was piloted 3 years ago.
  • Question:  What about guidance counselors and school psychologists who are included in our bargaining unit, but can’t be measured on student growth?  Sawyer said the intention of this law would be to apply the evaluations to those who have 50% or more instructional time.  He said this would leave local districts to determine evaluation systems for part-time teachers, and he referred board members to the professional standards for guidance counselors and the professional standards for school psychologists for use in creating local evaluation systems for those positions.
  • Local boards of education are required by law to adopt an evaluation plan, including the requirements for student growth measures, by JULY 1, 2013, with FULL ADOPTION of a new evaluation system by 2014-2015.  
  • IMPORTANT NOTE:  2014-2015 is also the first official year for the PARCC assessments to count, meaning between new assessments and new evaluation protocols, education in Ohio will be facing the “PERFECT STORM
  • For more information and guidance in establishing student growth criteria, see the ODE page for evaluations.

Ohio’s No Child Left Behind Waiver Proposal

  • Ohio was one of the states to request a waiver from the regulations of NCLB.  Unfortunately, I cannot find last night’s slides about this on ODE’s website, but I did find it with OEA.
  • Ohio proposed 5 elements: 1) Replacing that undoable AYP expectation that Ohio will reach 100% proficiency by 2014, 2)  Reform SES, specifically Title I funding, 3) Targeted assistance for low-performing schools, 4) Cutting red tape, and 5) Institute a new letter report grading system.  Let’s go through these one at a time.
  • 1.  Replacing AYP:  Proposed the new goals of implementing CCSS (done), and cut achievement gap by half over six years.
  • 2.  Reform SES funding in Title I:  Aim to give schools more control over selecting intervention services.  Instead of allowing parents to dictate providers of services, services must have a proven track record, and schools would have final say.
  • 3.  Target Assistance:  New designations of “Priority” (lowest 5% of schools), and “focus” (at least 10% of schools with larget subgroup achievement gap and graduation gap and not making progress)
  • 4.  Cutting Red Tape:  Attempt to combine some of the reports required by districts (TIFF, SIG, CCIP), but Sawyer said the federal government did not sound on board with this proposal.
  • 5.  Completely Overhaul the current district/school rating system in Ohio……which is going to require it’s own section header:

NCLB Waiver Proposal (Continued): #5–Overhaul Ohio’s Ranking System (Pending legislation)

  • For the most updated information about the new report cards, be sure to read my other post in which I follow the legislation.
  • Current rating system is excellent with distinction, excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch, academic emergency.
  • SB316 would modify state level report cards to reflect grade level ratings, and if it passes, the new report cards would begin this fall based on data from this school year.
  • Schools/Districts would receive a letter grade in four areas:  Student performance (aka “Performance Index”), Student progress (aka “Value-Added”), School/District Performance (Percent of indicators met), and Gap Closing.
  • 1.  Student Performance

  • What you’re seeing:  The Student Performance rating is Ohio’s old “Performance Index,” which was based on a percentage score out of 120 indicators.  Under the new rating, a district gets an A if they meet 90% of the indicators, B if they meet 80%, C = 70%, D = 60%, and F = 59% and below.  Also note the bottom line in the boxed area that will denote your building/district’s rank out of Ohio’s public schools.
  • 2.  Student Performance:

  • What you’re seeing:  This rating is based on the school’s/district’s previous 2 years of data.  If a school exceeds expectations for 2 years, it receives an A; if it exceeds 1 year and meets 1 year, it gets a B; if it meets both years, it gets a C; if it meets 1 year and fails another, it gets a D; and if it fails both years, it gets and F.
  • 3.  District Performance:

  • What you’re seeing:  This grade is based on the % Ohio meets out of 26 indicators (previous “Percent of Indicators Met” on Ohio’s current reports).  90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C, 60% = D, and 59% and below = F
  • 4.  District Performance Gap

  • What you’re seeing:  The district performance gap will replace AYP.  It is based on 6 years of data.  Schools/Districts receive a grade (A, B, C, D, or F) based on how well  (%) they met specific % growth in the areas of Reading/LA, Math, and graduation rates.  If the school does not have a graduation rate (ex. a middle school), the performance gap will only include the LA and Math scores.  The overall performance gap letter grade will be an average of the letters in each of the 3 (or 2, as applicable) areas.  An A = 4 points, B = 3, C= 2, D = 1, and F= 0.  Add and divide by three to get the letter for this area.
  • To get the school’s/district’s OVERALL LETTER GRADE, add up the letter point values from each of the four areas (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, and F = 0) and divide by 4.
  • Under these new guidelines, out of the 291 current “excellent” districts and 91 current “excellent with distinction” districts, only 22 will receive an A using simulated data from 2011:

  • Sorry for the bad iPhone pic (and my writing), but I thought it was important enough to post, and I can’t find it online.  For another perspective on the new grading system, see think tank Shanker Institute’s analysis.
  • For more on the new school rating system and better graphic representations, see here.
  • For info on how these new ratings might affect charter schools, see this State Impact Ohio post from 4/5

PARCC/ASSESSMENT UPDATES (What you’ve been waiting for!!)

Here’s the rundown on the updated information I gleaned from Sawyers…

  • PARCC will still have short answer, multiple choice, and extended response questions.
  • The hold up on sample test questions is the performance-based (actually doing something) assessment and technology enhanced (actually using technology to answer the question) questions.
  • PARCC is field testing questions right now, but NOT in Ohio
  • Sawyers hopes to have sample questions by end of school year.
  • OGT will be replaced by end of course exams in high schools:  3 in ELA (Called English 1, 2, 3), and 3 in Math (Alg 1, Geometry, Alg II or, as some schools have their math courses set up: Integrated Math 1, Integrated Math 2, and Integrated Math 3).  There will be 2 end of course exams in history:  American History and American Government, and 2 in Science: Biology and …..(Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the other!!!).
  • PARCC cut scores will be determined by PARCC–may be determined by third party, but in communication with PARCC
  • Ohio will currently maintain cut scores for Science and Social Studies
  • No determination yet if end of course exams will be high-stakes tests.
  • Special Education:  Alternative assessments will still exist.  Portfolio option may look different, depending on PARCC.  As part of ESEA waiver application, Ohio asked to up the 1%, but is meeting difficulty with that and it seems unlikely.
  • 2013-2014 is when schools will transition from paper/pencil to technology-based assessments.
  • Results on diagnostic assessments are instantaneous; automatically graded assessments will save money.
  • NEW INFO:  Students can take assessments as they are ready; not everyone has to take them at the same time–this allows teachers to create personal learning plans for individual students.  

WOW!!!!!!  Now that was a TON of information!  If you made it through all of that, I am sure you are JUST as boggled as I was last night hearing it all.  I hope it helps keep you, your school, your community, and Ohioans, in general, better informed–spread the word.

Additional Resources:

4/9–“Fewer Students Would Pass State’s Tougher Exams”–The Columbus Dispatch

3/26–A timely piece by State Superintendent of Schools Stan Heffner about the need for new standards and changes in Ohio’s public schools–Cleveland Plain Dealer

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14 thoughts on “Ohio Educational Policy and CCSS Updates

  1. Wow! I made it through the info.! Thank you for providing it in a concise manner. Much easier than the website of ODE or many districts. One question I have for you is a rumor from a former administrator of mine. He said that the OGT passing scores were being lowered each year by the state. In other words, they were curved. I have not found any verification of that statement. I will continue to follow you and share with my peers.

    • Unfortunately, your administrator was on target with what he said. Each year, OGT and OAA cut scores are decided by a group of administrators and curriculum people from across the state based on how the students did. I don’t know about the actual cut scores going down (though they adjust based on how the students perform each year), but I would believe that to be true because in an effort to keep reaching toward standards, the bar has to be lowered year after year. So, yes, those OGT and OAA cut scores and their subsequent/consequent “effective” (or whatever) designations are not representative of true student achievement. Thanks for your comments :)

      • Thanks for verifying it. I am glad we are striving for end of year exams and I like the ELA Core Curriculum. I don’t see an overwhelming amount of changes in what we teach. And, of course, some teachers will have to change their methods more than others.

  2. Reblogged this on thefreshmanexperience and commented:
    Although I am sometimes facetious with my comments on state testing, this person is able to share a wealth of info in an easy-to-read format. I just started looking at her blog and she seems to be a fantastic resource in our back yard. Or are we in her back yard?

  3. Pingback: Ohio Educational Policy and CCSS Updates | Common Core Online | Scoop.it

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  5. Great post! FYI, for anyone curious about how many graduates from their school/district are college-ready, we have an easy-to-use database up here: http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2012/02/06/see-how-college-ready-graduates-from-your-ohio-high-school-are/ . You can compare college-readiness rates, graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment rates, demographics, etc.

    On a separate topic, I’m really curious about the results of the technology survey…

    • Molly, thanks for the link! It organizes the data clearly and concisely. Will be tweeting. Interestingly, at the “Embracing the Common Core” conference in February (post here: http://wp.me/p1tHEp-7R), Heffner said the new assessments would see a cost savings of about 40% because there will be no need to pay for people to score the tests. He also said that cost savings would be passed on to districts to help them meet the minimum requirements (ex. the tech tools themselves as well as the infrastructure to support the necessary technology). We shall see if that happens!

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Pingback: Computers Can Score Student Essays As Well As Humans, Study Finds | StateImpact Ohio

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