Lawmakers Propose Scrapping A-F Letter Grades For Ohio Schools

Mar 10, 2021

A bipartisan bill from two Ohio House lawmakers would once again overhaul the state’s report cards on its schools.

It scraps the letter grades that started in 2012 after confusion over the previous rating system.

Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) said the bill he's proposing with Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) replaces the A-F grades, which some called too simplistic, with designations Jones said more accurately represent what is happening in schools.

“The six designations are ‘significantly exceeds expectations’, ‘exceeds expectations’, ‘meets expectations’, ‘substantially approaching expectations’, ‘moderately approaching expectations’ or ‘in need of support’.”

Those designations would be based on performance in the existing categories of graduation, achievement, progress, gap closing and the third-grade reading guarantee. They're modeled after designations in Massachusetts.

These designations may initially sound similar to those before the A-F grading system, which were:

  • excellent with distinction
  • excellent
  • effective
  • continuous improvement
  • academic watch
  • academic emergency

There were criticisms of those designations as too complicated, which led former Gov. John Kasich to push for the letter grade system to be instituted.

The state’s major school administration groups support the change, saying "every school district is more than a letter grade" and that "this new system will create a transparent report card that informs students, parents, educators and communities". The Ohio PTA also supports the bill.

The move to overhaul the report cards came after thousands of students would have qualified for EdChoice vouchers because their school buildings got failing grades.