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Ohio Board To Monitor School-Improvement Progress

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The Ohio Board of Education last week agreed to put eight "indicators of excellence" to work to monitor progress in the state's 615 school districts.

Robert Bowers, assistant state superintendent, described the indicators as a new public-accountability project, "a report card, if you will, to show that progress is being made."

Beginning this year, the state Department of Education will monitor data to indicate progress being made in eight goal areas. A progress report will be released annually to the public, Mr. Bowers said.

The areas include:

Raising the percentage of students taking college-preparatory courses.

Raising scores on college entrance exams.

Placing more vocational-education students in jobs related to their training.

Diminishing truancy and dropout rates.

Increasing the number of adults who prepare for and take high-school examinations.

Improving employee attendance.

Adjusting school-staff schedules so that there are staff members at the schools after hours to field phone calls from working parents; so that parent-staff conferences may be scheduled after school hours; and so that an increasing number of contacts are made with parents of students who are frequently absent or are not achieving.

Monitoring homework assignments and providing programs so that students with questions about homework have access to assistance from school staff.

Mr. Bowers said that the format for reporting the information has not been determined but added that he expects the department will de-velop "something similar" to the wall chart on educational progress in the states released earlier this year by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell.

Mr. Bowers said the project expands on several initiatives undertaken by the state department in recent years, including the adoption of new state minimum standards. It also builds, he said, on the recommendations of the state's own Commission on Educational Excellence and its ''Blueprint for Excellence," and on recommendations to improve articulation between the state's secondary schools and colleges.

Although the state department plans to release only the statewide progress report and not a district-by-district breakdown, said Mr. Bowers, "we would hope that they [individual school districts] would create their own report card to be released publicly."--Carolyn Ellison

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