1) Ohio News
130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate are not holding sessions this week.
The Rules and Reference Committee, chaired by Representative Huffman, will meet on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM in room 313 of the Statehouse to consider HB597 (Thompson/Huffman) Repeal/Replace Common Core State Standards.
Supreme Court to Hear Charter School Lawsuit: Plaintiffs and defendants will present oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court on September 23, 2014 in a lawsuit, Hope Academy Broadway Campus, et al. v. White Hat Management, LLC, et al. The plaintiffs, Hope Broadway Campus and nine other charter schools that were formerly managed by White Hat Management, David Brennan, founder, allege that public funds paid to a private entity to operate a charter school are subject to public accountability. The schools canceled their contract with White Hat Management, and are now suing to recoup their assets, including the books, furniture, technology, etc, purchased with public funds to operate the school. The lawsuit is being appealed from the 10th District Court of Appeals, which ruled on November 13, 2013 that the charter school assets are not public, once the public funds are paid to a private management company.
Address Poverty to Improve Student Achievement:An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal points-out the relationship between the percent of students from families with low incomes in a school or district and the low performance of the school/district on the state report cards, released on September 12, 2014.
According to the editorial, Howard Fleeter, from the Education Tax Policy Institute, evaluated the recent state report cards and found that as the level of families with low incomes increases in a school/district, the performance index score decreases. School districts with a poverty level at 14.2 percent, for example, had a performance index above 105, while school districts with a poverty rate of 64 percent had a performance index score below 92.3.
The editorial observes, “The results hardly could be more stark, or point more clearly to the challenge: Address the effects of poverty, and the likelihood increases of elevating troubled districts and bringing an overall advance for the state. Researchers highlight the “toxic stress” of poverty, the absence of what many households take for granted, starting with the presence of nurturing parents, reading and talking with their children. The missing elements include, among other things, healthy food, high expectations and a stable routine.”
The editorial goes on to say that aside from a small increase in early childhood education programs in the last state budget, little has been done in Ohio to address the effects of poverty on student achievement. Instead, policy makers have blamed teachers and promoted charter schools, which have a dismal performance “in the main”.
The editorial concludes, “Rather, the long string of Fs for poverty-ridden districts should trigger a sense of urgency, action driven by the understanding that if Ohio gets serious about easing this problem, it will be much stronger.”
See “Toxic stress of poverty on schools”, Editorial, Akron Beacon Journal, September 17, 2014 at http://www.ohio.com/editorial/toxic-stress-of-poverty-on-schools-1.523253
Arne Duncan to Speak in Ohio: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to present the keynote address at the Rural Education National Forumon October 27, 2014 in Columbus Ohio. The two day conference at the Polaris Hilton is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Education and Battelle for Kids. The forum will provide unique opportunities to examine rural education opportunities and collaborations to improve student achievement.
The agenda also includes Gayle Manchin, president of the West Virginia State Board of Education and past president of the National Association of State Boards of Education and James Mahoney, executive director of Battelle for Kids.
2) National News
National Poverty Rate Declines: The U.S. Census Bureau released on September 16, 2014 a report that examines the national poverty rate, median income, and other economic factors for 2013 based on the results of the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplementsconducted by the U.S. Census Bureau last spring.
According to the report, the overall poverty rate in the U.S. declined for the first time since 2006, from 15.0 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. The poverty rate for children also declined for the first time since 2000 from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013.
Unfortunately 45.3 million people are still living at or below the poverty level, which is defined as $23,834 for a family of four.
The report also notes that the median income in 2013 was $51,939, which is about $200 more than the median income in 2012. Overall household income is 8 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the nation entered the recession. Household income reached a peak in 1999 at $56,895.
Ohio’s poverty rate is reported at 16 percent in 2013, a small decline from 16.3 percent in 2012.
See “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013”, by Carmen DeNavas-Walt and Bernadette D. Proctor, U.S. Census Bureau, September 16, 2014 at
Update on Congressional Actions:Last week lawmakers in Congress made history by approving the following bi-partisan legislation:
-Continuing Resolution H.J. 124: The U.S. House and Senate approved last week a continuing resolution to keep the government running until December 11, 2014. Over the past few years Congress has been using continuing resolutions to fund government agencies and departments, because lawmakers have been unable to approve appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. Unlike last year, however, H.R. 124 received bi-partisan support, and was approved before lawmakers left the capital to continue their campaigns for the November 4, 2014 election. The resolution even includes an amendment requested by President Obama to authorize training and equipment for rebels in Syria to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIS. President Obama signed the measure on September 19, 2014.
The House and Senate appropriations committees are still working on appropriations bills, which are expected to be rolled into an “omnibus” spending bill, which will be considered by lawmakers when they return to the Capital November 12, 2014.
See House Committee on Appropriations at http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=392934.
-Strengthening Education through Research Act: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), chaired by Senator Tom Harkin, approved the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366) on September 17, 2014. The legislation reauthorizes the Institute for Education Science, and includes changes to streamline the research organization, promote accountability, and protect student privacy.
According to Inside Higher Ed some research organizations say the bill weakens the National Center for Education Statistics, because its commissioner would be appointed by the head of the Institute of Education Sciences, rather than by the President, with the confirmation of the Senate.
The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The House approved reauthorization in May 8, 2014.
See “Bill Targets U.S. Education Research” by Michael Stratford, Inside Higher Ed, September 18, 2014 at
-Child Care and Development Block Grant Program: The U.S. House approved the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program (S. 1086) on September 15, 2014. The program provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while parents work, attend school, or attend job training. The act was amended to increase safety requirements for providers, and promotes better training for child care workers. The Senate approved the bill in March 2014, but because it was amended by the House, the Senate will need to review it again, which might slow down the final passage of the bill. According to Education Week, Senator Pat Toomey has put a hold on S. 1086 until he gets a vote on his bill, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act.
See “Child Care and Development Block Grant Hits Roadblock” by Lauren Camera, Education Week, September 17, 2014 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/09/child_care_and_development_blo.html.
3) State Board of Education: The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, met on September 15 and 16, 2014 in Columbus, and made decisions that affect graduation requirements, state assessments, Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System, and more. The following is a summary of some of the issues that the Board addressed at their September 2014 meeting:
Ohio Teacher Evaluation System Revised: The State Board of Education adopted the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) framework in November 2011 pursuant to section 3319.112 of the Revised Code and following the recommendations of the Educators’ Standards Board. Substitute House Bill 362 (Scherer/Derickson), which was signed into law on June 12, 2014, made changes to OTES for the 2014-2015 school year and future years, and required the State Board to revise the OTES framework.
Overall HB362 decreases the frequency of evaluations for high-performing teachers; exempts teachers who were on leave for a specified percentage of the school year or submitted a notice of retirement by a specified date from an evaluation; and permits districts and schools to use an alternative framework to evaluate teachers.
At its September meeting the State Board adopted a resolution to revise the OTES framework to align with HB362. For the 2014-15 school year boards of education can adopt the current teacher evaluation structure (based on teacher performance rating and student growth rating), each at 50 percent, or use an alternative teacher evaluation framework. The alternative framework weights the teacher performance and student growth components equally at 42.5 percent. The remaining 15 percent of the evaluation is based on one of four components: student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations, or student portfolios.
For the 2015-16 school year and thereafter, the teacher evaluation will include the teacher performance measure and student academic growth, each accounting for an equal percentage ranging from 42.5 percent to 50 percent, with evidence from one of the components (student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations, or student portfolios) to account for up to 15 percent of the rating.
New Graduation Requirements: The State Board of Education approved resolutions #11, 35, 36, 37, and 38 on September 16, 2014 further defining new requirements for Ohio students, who enter high school for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, to earn a high school diploma.
The State Board had adopted new diploma recommendations in November 2013, but the General Assembly had its own ideas, and made several changes in graduation requirements through HB487 (Brenner), which was signed into law on June 16, 2014.
As a result, the State Board of Education’s Graduation Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, met several times over the summer to finalize the details for the new College and Work Ready Assessment System and three ways to earn a diploma, which are prescribed in HB487.
The College and Work Ready Assessment System replaces the Ohio Graduation Tests and includes a nationally standardized assessment that measures college and career readiness and a series of end of course exams. Students can earn a diploma by being remediation free, accumulating graduation points, or earning industry-recognized credentials and a workforce ready score on a job skills assessment.
-Remediation Free: A national standardized college and career readiness assessment, such as ACT or SAT, will be administered in 11th grade to all students. Students can earn a diploma by meeting a “remediation free” score based on standards developed by the presidents of Ohio’s public institutions of higher education for nationally standardized assessments in English, mathematics, and reading. The student’s highest verifiable score on any assessment will be accepted. The college and career readiness assessment is free to students, and will be administered for the first time in the fall of 2016. The ODE has issued an RFP to select this assessment.
-Accumulating Graduation Points: In addition to the course requirements for graduation included in current law and unchanged, students must earn a minimum and a total number of graduation points on seven end of course exams. The exams are Algebra I and Geometry, or Integrated Math I & II; English language arts I & II; physical science; American history; and American government.
There are five levels of scores for the end of course exams, and students can earn a certain number of graduation points associated with each level: Advanced Level = 5 points; Accelerated Level = 4 points; Proficient Level = 3 points; Basic Level = 2 points; Limited Level = 1 point.
To receive a diploma students need a total number of 18 graduation points and 4 minimum graduation points in English, 4 minimum graduation points in math, and 6 minimum graduation points among science, history, and government.
Students can receive 3 graduation points for high school credits earned prior to July 1, 2014. Students who earn credit for a first semester block scheduled course in American history, American government, or physical science before January 31, 2015, will also automatically earn three graduation points.
Students may substitute AP, IB, and dual enrollment exams for end of course exams in physical science, American history, and American government. The State Board has determined the AP substitute exams, but is still identifying the International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment substitute exams. For the physical science exam students can substitute AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based or AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based. For the American History exam students can substitute AP United States History. For the American Government exam students can substitute AP United States Government and Policy. The purpose of the substitute exams is to avoid double-testing students who are enrolled in courses that lead to college credits as well.
The State Board also has to designate equivalent scores on these substitute exams, but data for these exams will not be available until late 2015 or 2016. The scores on these exams will be partially integrated in the state’s accountability system for schools.
-Industry Recognized Credential and Workforce Score: Students can earn a diploma by earning a workforce readiness score on a jobs skills assessment, and an industry-recognized credential in an “in-demand” job or occupation in the 11th and 12th grades. The ODE is preparing an RFP to select the job skills assessment, and must select the exam by December 2014. The test is free of charge to the student, and schools will be reimbursed for its cost. Districts will have local control over when to administer the job skills assessment, based on where the students are in their curriculum.
Students with disabilities may participate in state assessments with or without accommodations. Students with significant disabilities can opt for an alternate assessment. Decisions still need to be made about the kinds of accommodations that will be allowed for the end of course exams; college admissions assessments; new industry credential and workforce score; and the role of the IEP team.
Students in Dropout Recovery Programs may use any of the three pathways to graduate, but are not required to take end of course exams. These students are enrolled in competency-based education programs that already focus on workforce readiness, including industry-recognized credentials.
Students in chartered nonpublic schools and entering ninth grade for the first time in the 2014-2015 school year must meet the new graduation requirements, but a gradation requirements committee was also created to make recommendations to the General Assembly by January 15, 2015 regarding the graduation requirements for these students. If the General Assembly does not act by October 1, 2015, any student attending a chartered nonpublic school may be exempt from the end of course exam requirements, if their school reports the performance of all students on the State Board approved college admissions assessment.
The State Board adopted the following resolutions related to the graduation requirements at their September meeting:
- #11 Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-16-04 of the Ohio Administrative Code Entitled College and Work Ready Assessment Transition:
–Establishes the college and work ready assessment system to replace the Ohio Graduation Tests for students who enter the ninth grade for the first time after July 1, 2014. The OGT will be available for students who were enrolled in the ninth grade before 2014 to retake until September 1, 2022.
-Allows students who earned high school credit in a course that has a corresponding end of course exam before July 1, 2014 to receive 3 graduation points.
-Exempts Foreign Exchange Students from the requirement that students achieve a certain performance level on the American History and American Government end-of-course exams.
-Makes available the OGT for students who have not graduated and adults pursuing an Adult Diploma until September 1, 2022. After September 1, 2022, students must meet the requirements of the college and work ready assessment system to receive a diploma.
-Requires that students enrolled in Dropout Prevention and Recovery Programs and who entered the ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2014 meet the requirements of the college and career ready assessment system, but exempts them from taking any end of course exams required under division (B) of section 3301.0712 of the Revised Code. Students in these programs can choose to earn a diploma through any of the diploma pathways, but since dropout prevention programs are competency based, the students are expected to use the industry-recognized credential and workforce ready score on a job skills assessment to earn a diploma.
- #35 Resolution to Establish the Method of Calculating the Cumulative Performance Score Based on the End of Course Exams and to Establish A Minimum Score Based on the End of Course Exams and to Establish a Minimum Score Needed to Earn a High School Diploma:
-Establishes the graduation point system, in which students earn from 1-5 points depending on their score on the end of course exams.
-Establishes five ranges of scores, that students can achieve, on the end of course exams, and the number of points associated with each level: Advanced Level = 5 points; Accelerated Level = 4 points; Proficient Level = 3 points; Basic Level = 2 points; Limited Level = 1 point.
-Requires that most students earn a cumulative performance score of 18 on all of the end of course exams, and a minimum score for each content areas: 4 points for English language arts; 4 points for math, and six points among physical science, American history, and American government.
-Establishes diploma requirements for students who transfer into a school or district. Pro-rates the minimum number of graduation points that transfer students need on remaining exams; requires transfer students with no scores or only one exam remaining to take the ACT/SAT upon enrollment; requires a transfer student who does not score remediation-free, to take the English II and Integrated Math II exams, and score a minimum total of 5 points across both exams.
-Establishes that students may retake exams if they have scored below proficient, but they must also complete remediation. Students scoring proficient or above may only retake exams after they have participated in remediation, or if the student has not met the overall graduation point total.
-States that the highest verifiable score that a student earns on any exam will be recognized, including the highest score on end of course exams, a nationally standardized assessment that measures college and career readiness, and a nationally recognized job skills assessment.
- #36 Resolution to Designate Selected Science and Social Studies Advanced Placement Exams as Substitutes for the State’s Physical Science, American History, and American Government End of Course Exams
-Allows Advanced Placement exams “Physics 1 & II – Algebra Based”, “American History”, and “United States Government and Policy” to be used as a substitute for “end of course exams”. The ODE continues to review the International Baccalaureate program and dual enrollment program, and their corresponding exams, to determine if they can also be used as a substitute for state end of course exams.
- #37 Resolution to Adopt a Framework for Determining Industry Credentials that Qualify Students for High School Graduation and Count in the Prepared for Success Component of Ohio School and District Report Cards:
-Requires the Ohio Department of Education to publish and update an approved list of industry-recognized credentials annually.
-Requires that credentials that qualify a student for high school graduation shall align to “in-demand jobs report” published by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Office of Workforce Transformation and posted on the OhioMeansJobs website, but also establishes a process for the Ohio Department of Education to consider other industry-recognized credentials for “in demand jobs” from local communities.
-States that a student who enters the eleventh grade for the first time and chooses to pursue an industry recognized credential, shall always qualify for graduation, even if the industry-recognized credential is subsequently removed from the “in-demand jobs report list”. Students will still need to take end of course exams where applicable.
-States that the industry-recognized credentials that qualify a student for a high school diploma shall also be reported in the Prepared for Success component on Ohio School and District Report Cards.
- #38 Resolution to Reaffirm the Value of the Honors Diploma and to Charge the Department of Education to Submit Recommendations to the State Board
-Requires the Ohio Department of Education to evaluate the academic performance of students during the 2014-15 school year and provide recommendations to the State Board for a system of honors diplomas aligned to the new graduation requirements.
Operating Standards Committee: The Operating Standards Committee, chaired by Ron Rudduck, met on September 15, 2014. The committee has been revising Rules 3301-35-01 through 15, which are known as Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools and Districts. These standards apply to traditional public schools, chartered nonpublic schools, and nonchartered non-tax supported schools. Charter schools in Ohio are not required to comply with Operating Standards, but follow laws prescribed in Section 3314 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Over the last few months the committee has revised Rules 3301-35-04,-05, and -06, and has agreed to combine rules 3301-35-07 and -11, which are related to data use and collection; agreed to remove rule 3301-35-10 Site Based Management Councils, which will become a stand alone rule; repeal Rule 3301-35-13 Special Purpose Schools; and amended 3301-35-14 Procedures for Beginning a New School, Changing Location, or Ownership.
At this meeting the committee reviewed proposed changes for Rules 3301-35-08 Non Chartered, Non Tax Supported Schools; 3301-35-02 Governance, Leadership, Organization, Administration, and Supervision, which has been combined with 3301-35-03 Strategic Planning and parts of 3301-35-06 Educational Programs and Support, and Rule 3301-35-12 Chartered Public Schools.
Keith Hamblen, who represents non-chartered, non-tax supported schools, asked the committee to maintain the current language for Rule 3301-35-08, and not require the proposed new rule to include a reference to 3313.536 ORC School Safety Plans. Since this provision is already in law, Mr. Hamblen thought that the provision was redundant. He noted that this would be the first major change in the -08 rule in 30 years.
The committee agreed, and voted to keep the current language of Rule 3301-35-08, and not include references to 3313.536 ORC School Safety Plans in the rule. Changes have been made to the -08 Rule, however. Added to the rule is language that reflects a change in law, 3313.48 ORC, regarding the length of the school year and day, which is now expressed in hours. The draft rule states that -08 schools shall be open for instruction for not less than 450 hours for students in kindergarten; 910 hours for students in grades 1-6; and 1001 hours for students in grades 7-12.
The committee then received a presentation about proposed changes for Rules 3301-35-02 Governance, Leadership, Organization, Administration, and Supervision, 3301-35-03 Strategic Planning, 3301-35-06 Educational Programs and Support, and Rule 3301-35-12 Chartered Public Schools.
There are no substantive changes for Rule 3301-35-12, but a new Rule 3301-35-02, now called Governance, Leadership, and Strategic Planning, includes parts of rules -02, -03, and parts of -06. The proposed rule removes language that describes the elements of a leadership system, including student centered learning environments and a commitment to effective teaching an learning; the responsibilities of the board of education, superintendent, treasurer, and administrators to stakeholders; and details about strategic planning. These “best practices” will, however, be included on the ODE website as additional information.
Rule 3301-35-02 also includes a part of Rule -06, regarding student health and safety policies. The proposed part (C) requires that boards of education adopt policies and procedures regarding student health and safety that comply with applicable local, Ohio, and federal laws for health, fire, and safety, and include vision and hearing screenings, referrals, follow-up and posting of emergency procedures and telephone numbers in classrooms.
The committee also agreed on a new time line for the State Board to follow to adopt the new Operating Standards. In October 2014 the proposed rules will be presented to the full Board; in November 2014 the Board will consider an “indent to adopt”; in December 2014 the rules will be sent to the Joint Committee for Agency Rule Review; the rules will return to the State Board in March/April 2015 for adoption. The rules will be implemented in the 2015-16 school year.
Other Report Card Measures: The Accountability Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, reviewed report card measures that will provide additional information about schools and districts, but will not be included in the grades for schools or districts. These measures include financial data; additional information about teachers, staff, and student mobility; post-secondary outcomes; and school and district profile information, including information about courses available in the arts. These measures will be added to the report card some time this fall.
High School Certificates of Accomplishment:The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, received an update from Dr. Stephanie Siddens, Senior Executive Director Center for Curriculum and Assessment at the Ohio Department of Education, about a initiative to recognize high school students for college and career readiness; mastery of a skill; or accomplishments in an particular area of study. The initiative might include a certificate that would be awarded by the State Board of Education to students based on certain criteria, such as meeting certain academic requirements; collaborating with professionals in an area of study; developing a product; and making a formal presentation about their studies to professionals and scholars, who would evaluate the achievements of the student in that area of study.
So far seven areas of study have been identified for the initiative: STEM, the arts, social studies, dual languages, career technical education, public service, and the military.
The recognition in the arts would acknowledge, for example, the artistic accomplishments of students who demonstrate skills and dispositions to pursue a career in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Students would be required to complete at least one course and the assessment requirements in the arts area of their choice; engage with professional artists or scholars in developing a portfolio or e-portfolio; and present their work publicly.
Board Business Meeting: The State Board took the following action at the Board’s business meeting on September 16, 2014:
-#10 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-5-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled School Emergency Management Plan (VOLUME 2, PAGE 29 Board Book) The State Board first rejected emergency consideration of this resolution, but later voted to approve emergency consideration, and then approved the resolution.
-#11 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-16-04 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled College and Work Ready Assessment Transition (VOLUME 2, PAGE 31 Board Book)
-#12 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rule 3301-25-10 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled One-Year Instructional Assistant Permit and to Adopt Rule 3301-25-11 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Renewal of One-Year Instructional Assistant Permit (VOLUME 2, PAGE 32 Board Book)
-#13 This resolution was removed from the agenda and will be voted on at the October 2014 SBE Meeting. A Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-27-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Qualifications to Direct, Supervise, or Coach a Pupil Activity Program (VOLUME 2, PAGE 38 Board Book)
-#14 Approved a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Rules 3301-45-01 to 3301-45-06 of the Ohio Administrative Code Regarding the Administration of Programs for Adults Seeking to Achieve a High School Diploma (VOLUME 2, PAGE 43 Board Book)
-#15 This resolution was removed from the agenda and will be voted on at the October 2014 SBE Meeting. A Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-51-20, of the Ohio Administrative Code entitled Admission, Transfer, Suspension, and Expulsion Standards for the Ohio Schools for the Blind and the Deaf (VOLUME 2, PAGE 45 Board Book).
-#16 Approved a Resolution of Refusal to Consider the Proposed Transfer of School District territory from the Springboro Community City School District, Warren County to the Lebanon City School District, Warren County, Pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code (VOLUME 2, PAGE 53 Board Book)
-#32 Approved a Resolution to Appoint James Wagner to the Educator Standards Board
-#33 Approved a Resolution to Adopt the Revised Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) Framework to Align with Substitute House Bill 362
-#34 Approved a Resolution to Appoint Melissa Hendon Deters to the State Library Board
-#35 Approved a Resolution to Establish the Method of Calculating the Cumulative Performance Score Based on the End of Course Exams, and to Establish A Minimum Score Based on the End of Course Exams, and to Establish a Minimum Score Needed to Earn a High School Diploma
-#36 Approved a Resolution to Designate Selected Science and Social Studies Advanced Placement Exams as Substitutes for the State’s Physical Science, American History, and American Government End of Course Exams.
-#37 Approved a Resolution to Adopt a Framework for Determining Industry Credentials that Qualify Students for High School Graduation and Count in the Prepared for Success Component of Ohio School and District Report Cards
-#38 Approved a Resolution to Reaffirm the Value of the Honors Diploma and to Charge the Department of Education to Submit Recommendations to the State Board. This resolution directs the ODE staff to develop new rules regarding the honors diploma, because HB487 changed the state assessments, upon which the honors diploma was based.
New Business: Stephanie Dodd asked that the State Board and the Ohio Department of Education develop a better process to communicate with stakeholders. In her experience there are many stakeholders who are not being contacted on particular issues. There should be a process for stakeholders to request that they be included in stakeholder discussions involving the Ohio Department of Education and its work.
4) Study Finds State Proficiency Standards Vary Greatly: American Institutes for Research (AIR) released on September 18, 2014 a new report about the differences among states in proficiency standards for reading, math, and science. Researcher Gary Phillips first examined the percent of proficient students reported by states in 2011 in Grade 4 math and reading and in Grade 8 math and science. He then compared state tests to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and benchmarked the difficulty of the state performance standards with standards used in two international assessments, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
According to the study, “The overall finding in the study is that there is considerable variance in state performance standards, exposing a large gap in expectations between the states with the highest standards and the states with the lowest standards. Although this gap in expectations is large, many policy makers may not be aware of just how large it is. In general,
- The difference between the standards in the states with the highest standards and the states with the lowest standards is about 2 standard deviations. In many testing programs, a gap this large represents three to four grade levels.
- This “expectations gap” is so large that it is more than twice the size of the national black–white achievement gap. Closing the achievement gap is important, but so is closing the larger expectation gap. Reducing the expectation gap will require consistently high expectations from all states.”
The following are some of the other results of the study:
- ”States reporting the highest percent of proficient students had the lowest performance standards. More than two-thirds of the difference in state success is related to how high or low the states set their performance standards.”
- ”The difference between the states with the highest and lowest standards is about two standard deviations – a statistical term denoting the amount of variation from the average. In many testing programs, a gap this large represents three to four grade levels.”
- ”The percentage of proficient students for most states declined when compared with international standards. In Grade 8 mathematics, for example, Alabama went from 77 percent proficient to 15 percent; Colorado from 80 percent to 35 percent; Oklahoma from 66 percent to 20 percent; and New Jersey from 71 percent to 50 percent.”
- ”Using international standards, Massachusetts climbed to 57 percent proficient from 52 percent under its own standards.”
- ”In Grade 8 mathematics, Massachusetts and Minnesota had the highest grades, with each receiving a B-. The lowest grades went to Alabama and Georgia, which received a D, while Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina and the District of Columbia received a D+.”
In Ohio 75 percent of students in 2011 in Grade 8 math are considered proficient based on Ohio’s standards, compared to 36 percent who would be proficient based on the TIMSS standards.
The study concludes that wide variations between state proficiency standards denies students the opportunity to learn college and career ready skills, and clearly indicates “…why we need more common assessments and the Common Core State Standards.” The current paradigm in which each state sets its own performance standards is “flawed, misleading, and lacking in transparency.”
See “International Benchmarking: State and National Education Performance Standards” by Gary W. Phillips, American Institutes for Research, September 18, 2014 at
5) Principals Trust Teacher Observations More than Value Added: Researchers at Vanderbilt University studied the perceptions that principals have about using teacher effectiveness data to guide decisions about professional development, and hiring, assigning, and firing teachers, and found that principals trust teacher observations the most. The study, which was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was conducted during the 2012-13 school year at the following schools: Shelby County and Metropolitan Nashville School District, Tennessee; Baltimore City Schools; Hillsborough County Schools, Florida; Houston City Schools; Denver City Schools; and the Green Dot and Alliance College-Ready charter school networks in Los Angeles.
The study examined the perceptions of principals about the quality of data systems and access to the data; how principals use teacher effectiveness data for management decisions; and the types of support systems and training that is available to principals to promote data used in decision making. The following is a summary of the key findings of the study:
-Principals rely most heavily on teacher observation data to make talent management decisions. According to the study, principals “…generally believe rubric-based observations generate the most valid data, providing specific, transparent, actionable information that enables them to pinpoint teacher support. Many see observation data as providing a bigger picture of the teacher’s performance than value-added estimates. In turn, they use observation data to inform teacher feedback, individualized and large group professional development, and teacher remediation plans that also serve as the documentation for dismissal cases.”
-”Strong, ongoing calibration of observation scores seems to increase use of observation data. Systems in which principals can request calibration and co-observation in subjects where they lack expertise report greater use of observation data.”
-”Value-added measures are perceived as having many shortcomings. Principals are less likely to use value-added measures for talent management decisions, despite the availability of these data. They describe several challenges with the use of value-added measures: scores are not available in real time when decisions are made; scores do not exist for untested subjects; and students often are taught by multiple teachers, so it is difficult to attribute a value-added estimate to a particular teacher. Principals perceive that scores do not measure what teachers actually do to have an impact on students’ learning and that the measures are not fine-grained and actionable.”
-”Principals rarely use student, teacher, or parent perception surveys. Principals often disregard these data because they perceive them as less valid, specific, and transparent than other teacher effectiveness measures.”
-”Principals often express frustration at not having state student achievement test scores, teacher value-added estimates, and overall teacher evaluation composite scores in time to make decisions about hiring, teacher assignment, and dismissal.”
-”Principals rarely use past teacher evaluation measures. Principals can use past evaluation scores to trigger growth plans, target individualized professional development, or back up a case for dismissal; however, few principals make use of measures over multiple points in time.”
The study recommends that principals receive more training to use multiple forms of data in management decisions and teachers are provided more opportunities for peer calibration and co-observation.
See “Principals’ Use of Teacher Effectiveness Data for Talent Management Decisions” by Ellen B. Goldring, Christine M. Newmerski, Carisa Cannata, Timothy A. Drake, Jason A. Grissom, Mollie Rubin, and Patrick Schuermann, Peabody College and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, May 2014 at http://principaldatause.org/assets/files/reports/Summary-Report-201405.pdf
6) Bills Introduced
- HB620 (Huffman) State Retirement System-Surviving Spouse: Provides for payment to an ex-spouse of part of any survivor benefits or return of contributions payable to the surviving spouse of a state retirement system member who dies prior to retirement.
- SB362 (Kearney/Turner) Absent Voting Period Revision: Extends the period for in-person absent voting and specifies the days and hours for in-person absent voting.
1) Nominations Open for the 2015 Governor’s Awards for the Arts: The Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Citizens for the Arts announced last week that nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Governor’s Awards for the Arts. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the arts in the following categories:
-Business Support of the Arts
-Community Development and Participation
The Ohio Arts Council Board of Directors also selects, at their discretion, the Irma Lazarus Award for individuals or organizations that have helped shape public support for the arts and brought statewide, national, and international recognition to Ohio.
The nomination deadline for the six open categories is midnight, Monday, October 20, 2014, with letters of support due by midnight, Monday, October 27, 2014. Nominations are only accepted online, and may be submitted at www.oac.state.oh.us/Events/GovAwards/Nomination.asp.
A committee composed of members from the Ohio Arts Council Board of Directors and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts will select award recipients in each category. Recipients will be recognized on Arts Day, May 13, 2015, at the annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts luncheon, sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. Recipients of the awards will receive an original work of art by an Ohio artist and be honored in a ceremony presided over by Governor Kasich and members of the Ohio General Assembly.
The luncheon ceremony culminates Arts Day, which is an annual event that provides arts advocates opportunities to network and contact policy makers in Columbus to urge support for the arts. Students from high schools across the state prepare for months to participate in legislative visits on Arts Day, and contact each state senator and representative with a message of thanks for their support for the arts and arts education.
More information about Arts Day is available from the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation at 614-221-4064.
For information about the Governor’s Awards for the Arts 2015 see http://www.oac.state.oh.us/News/NewsArticle.asp?intArticleId=753
2) NY State Board of Regents Asked to Support Study of Assessments in the Arts: The New York State Department of Education has requested that the New York Board of Regents create an Arts Advisory Panel to conduct a study to evaluate arts assessments that signify college and career readiness and Regents recognition in each of the arts disciplines in grades preK-12. The panel would be charged to evaluate art assessments based on the following: the assessment is recognized by employers in an arts industry sector and postsecondary institutions in New York for admissions and/or credit; the assessment covers a broad range of learning in an arts discipline, and is comparable to the rigor of the Regents exams; and the assessment meets technical requirements and is properly validated.
The purpose of the study is to identify assessment instruments that New York might use in determining student achievement in arts education. A similar study about visual arts assessments was prepared for the Colorado Department of Education in 2012. Student achievement on the assessments could signify “strong arts programs” in a school district. The assessments recommended by the Panel and subsequently by the Board of Regents, would be made available for teachers, administrators, parents, and boards of education.
3) National Student Poets Announced: The 2014 National Student Poets were recognized at a White House ceremony on September 18, 2014 by First Lady Michelle Obama. The honor of National Student Poet is awarded to five students in grades 9-11 each year. The program is sponsored by The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Students selected this year are Weston Clark, Indianapolis; Ashley Gong, Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Julia Falkner, Louisville, Colorado; Cameron Messinides, Greenville, South Carolina; and Madeleine LeCesne, New Orleans.
The National Student Poets serve as literacy ambassadors, each representing a different geographic region of the country for one year. The students are selected from a pool of National Medalists in Poetry through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Their work is submitted to a distinguished jury for the final selection of five National Student Poets.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).