- Ohio’s ESSA plan demonstrates thoughtful continuation of the education reform work that has been done in recent years with a special emphasis on the performance of all students—from the lowest-achieving students to its gifted student population.
- It builds on a strong foundation of high standards, a commitment to transparent reporting on a wide range of innovative indicators, and tailored supports for districts to improve their low-performing schools.
- Ohio has included multiple incentives across its system to encourage students to take advanced courses and, in its achievement index, for schools to focus on supporting students to reach advanced levels beyond mere proficiency, as well as to move from below proficient to grade-level expectations.
- While work remains to emphasize individual subgroup performance, Ohio is also helping to ensure that more students are included in its accountability system—where student performance is monitored more closely—by lowering its subgroup size from 30 to 15 students.
- While Ohio includes many innovative measures of school quality, the sheer number of measures included creates a complicated system and tends to dilute the value of many individual measures as a result.
- Ohio produces overall school grades, as well as grades across individual components—helping to cut through the noise—but even some of the individual components include dozens of measures.
- In addition, the state doesn’t clearly define how schools with low-performing groups will be identified for targeted support and how it will ensure more rigorous interventions in schools that fail to improve over time.
- Ohio’s plan does not clearly tie its long-term goals and annual targets to a strategic vision; while its long-term goals expect significant gap closure between subgroups, even if they are achieved, those gaps will persist.
- Finally, Ohio could strengthen its plan by articulating an overarching vision, aligned to state-level policy initiatives, that is driving the system forward.