COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A strong correlation between academic performance and Ohio’s poverty levels still exists despite changes to state testing and district report cards the past few years, according to an education analyst.
Howard Fleeter, an analyst for the Ohio Education Policy Institute, examined report card numbers for each of the past four years and found little change in the results.
“Districts face a greater challenge when you have a preponderance of your kids who are economically disadvantaged,” Fleeter said.
Census figures show that one in five children lived in poverty in Ohio in 2015. That rate ranks the state as 18th-worst in the nation.
Districts that scored 70 or less on the performance index measure — which accounts for student performance at different levels — had an average of 82 percent of students living in poverty.
“It doesn’t mean these kids can’t learn. It doesn’t mean there aren’t districts that beat the odds,”
“It doesn’t mean these kids can’t learn. It doesn’t mean there aren’t districts that beat the odds,” Fleeter said. “But from a system-wide perspective, we still have not figured out how to get this group of kids to achieve at the level they need to be achieving.”
The figures show that as scores rise, poverty drops. Districts that scored above 100 on the performance index measure had 9.5 percent average poverty.
Similar results were found with the report card’s new “prepared for success” score, which gauges whether students are ready for work, technical training or college after high school.
“(What) we do not want to lose in the recent confusion over report card results is the continuing performance gap we see between students in low-wealth districts and those in higher-wealth districts,” said Damon Asbury, the director of legislative services for the Ohio School Board Association.