State To Release Preliminary Data, Further Delay Report Cards

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Ohio Auditor David Yost's office says the investigation into whether districts altered attendance records to boost report card rankings will likely stretch into next year.(Photo: Flickr)
Ohio Auditor David Yost's office says the investigation into whether districts altered attendance records to boost report card rankings will likely stretch into next year.(Photo: Flickr)

After weeks of delay, the State Board of Education has decided to release preliminary report card data on school districts and buildings.

But even that incomplete data won’t be public until the end of the month.

Ohio schools are under investigation by the state auditor, who wants to know which ones falsified attendance records. That kind of data manipulation could boost schools’ report cards, which is why the State Board of Education has held off on releasing what could be incorrect data in this year’s scores. Until now, that is.

“I believe from a full transparency piece that if the information is available and people want access to it, why don’t we give them access to the preliminary data,” says acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers.

Sawyers argues that since many media outlets have already requested and will be getting access to the preliminary report card data, the board might as well release it to the general public.

“We can add a disclaimer or a qualifier that says this is all subject to further review and try to do something short and simple to explain what’s going on with the auditor of state’s office, but I think we have a duty and a responsibility to share what’s available.”

The preliminary data will be released in a spreadsheet around September 30th. It will not include attendance rates, performance index scores, or the overall score of a school or district.

This week Auditor Dave Yost urged the board to release the data, even if some of it may have to be adjusted later on.

“But I would suggest to you that the data was probably bad last year in the same way and there’s conceivably a benefit at least to comparing year-to-year what was going on.”

Yost says he may not wrap up his investigation until the New Year, which means the final report card data may not come out until later in 2013.

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