In 2012 the Ohio state legislature passed a law to reframe the structure of the state’s school accountability report card. After that law passed, the Ohio Board of Education developed a plan to integrate career readiness data starting with a CTE-specific school report card. This process began with a gradual increase in data collected, reported and then graded, with all components in place by September 2016, except for an overall grade, which will be in place by September 2018.
CTE report cards contain four components: achievement, prepared for success, graduation rate and post-program outcomes. Students included in this report card have completed at least half of their career-technical education and are enrolled for the second half. The achievement component represents the number of students who pass the state’s tests and the technical assessments that measure the skills and knowledge learned in a student’s career-technical program. The prepared for success component examines student participation and achievement on ACT and SAT, student dual enrollment credits, and the number of students who earn industry-recognized credentials, among other measures. Graduation rate examines the 4- and 5-year high school graduation rates for CTE programs. Finally, post-program outcomes measures the proportion of students who are employed, in an apprenticeship, join the military, or are enrolled in postsecondary education or advanced training in the six months after leaving school. All of these component grades and the underlying measures are publicly available on the Ohio Department of Education website, along with federal accountability results for each program.
Policy in Action
In the years since CTE report cards were first rolled out in 2013, Ohio has recorded a 15 point increase in the percentage of students taking technical skill examinations.
The roll-out of these report cards was accompanied by new state tests in math and English in the 2014-2015 school year. The legislature enacted “safe harbor” provisions to allow schools and students time to adjust to the new exams without facing consequences of low scores, which have been extended through the 2016-2017 school year. These scores are factored into the achievement component for the CTE report cards.
With the release of the 2016-2017 general school report cards, Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria noted, “In a highly competitive, quickly changing, global economy where employers’ expectations are higher than ever, our students must be equipped with the knowledge and skills that will make them lifelong learners. With that in mind, there are many ways that parents and communities gauge the success and improvement of their schools and districts — the annual report card is one of them.”