Standards and Accountability: Ohio is one of 12 states that earned A’s in this category. The state has established clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science for elementary, middle, and high schools. Social studies/history standards are clear and specific at the middle and high school levels only.
Ohio is one of only 12 states that have standards-based exams in each core subject—English, math, science, and social studies/history—in every grade span.
Ohio uses a variety of test items to measure student performance, including multiple-choice, short-answer, and extended-response questions.
The state also has most of the features of a strong accountability system. The state publishes test data on school report cards, and it assigns ratings to schools based, in part, on test scores.
The state then uses those ratings to target schools rated as low-performing or failing for assistance or sanctions. The state does not provide cash rewards for high-performing or improving schools.
Efforts to Improve Teacher Quality: This year, Ohio is again among the top 10 states for efforts to improve teacher quality. The state requires its high school and middle school teachers to pass subject-matter tests before they enter the classroom.
However, Ohio does not require teachers to pass basic-skills or subject-specific-pedagogy exams. The state’s teacher-preparation institutions determine how much time teacher-candidates should devote to student teaching and other clinical experiences before they receive their licenses.
Ohio uses the Educational Testing Service’s Praxis III performance assessment to measure the skills of novice teachers through classroom observations, interviews, and examples and descriptions of classroom work.
In addition, Ohio pays for an entry-year program that provides mentoring for all beginning teachers. In the 2004-05 school year, districts receive $1,200 per entry-year teacher for mentoring.
The state also has a comprehensive system to hold its institutions of higher education accountable for how well they prepare teachers. The institutions’ education students must have passing rates of 80 percent or higher on the subject-matter-licensing tests for teachers, and 85 percent or higher on the Praxis III exam.
Higher education institutions also must earn a five-year institutional approval based on standards set by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
School Climate: Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress background survey on school safety, student engagement, and parent involvement place the state at about the national average.
The state’s charter school law is moderately strong, according to the Center for Education Reform, and Ohio has a limited open-enrollment policy. But school report cards don’t include information about class size, school safety, or parent involvement.
Ohio gains points because the state provides money for school construction and tracks the condition of all public school facilities.
Furthermore, the state board of education recently passed a policy that requires the state to help schools identify and address school bullying.
Equity: Ohio has a positive wealth-neutrality score, which means that, on average, wealthy districts have more state and local revenue for education than property-poor ones do. The state ranks 19th of the 50 states on this indicator.
Ohio also ranks 32nd for its coefficient of variation, at 13.7 percent, which shows moderate variations in spending across school districts.
The state ranks 36th on the McLoone Index, which measures what it would cost to bring student spending in districts below the median level for per-pupil aid to that median.
Spending: Ohio spent above the national average on education in the 2001-02 school year, at $8,165 per pupil. Almost 83 percent of students attend schools in districts spending at least the national average.
The state ranks 14th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the spending index. The index is based on the percent of students in districts spending at least the national average, and how far the rest fall below the average.
The state is well above the national average for the percent of total taxable resources spent on education, at 4.4 percent. Ohio kept spending above inflation from 1992 to 2002.