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Ohio School Report Cards show pandemic's impact within Greater Cincinnati schools

Holly Yurchison

Schools across Ohio saw increases in chronic absenteeism and drops in proficiency rates. Much of the same has been seen throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Greater Cincinnati schools didn't fare well during the pandemic. Cincinnati Public Schools Performance Index Score dropped roughly 22 points (72.579 to 50.278) from 2018-19, the last non-pandemic school year. According to the state Department of Education, the Performance Index Score "captures all levels of student performance on state assessments." New Miami Local Schools' score dropped more than 22 points (76.996 to 54.822). Here's a look at other notable drops within the region (drop in Performance Index Score in parentheses):

  • Winton Woods (10.384)
  • Lebanon (11.803)
  • Lockland Local (14.697)
  • Middletown (18.32)
  • Mt. Healthy (13.238)
  • North College Hill (17.57)
  • Norwood (13.519)
  • Princeton (14.504)
  • Reading Community City (16.003)
  • Edgewood (13.821)
  • Fairfield (11.783)
  • Lakota Local (13.05)
  • Talawanda (12.831)
  • West Clermont (10.563)
  • Finneytown Local (14.755)
  • Northwest Local (19.555)
  • Oak Hills Local (13.528)
  • Southwest Local (11.423)
  • Little Miami Local (13.496)
  • Mason (15.401)
  • Monroe Local (13.964)

Throughout the state, students across all measured demographics saw proficiency rates drop in both English language arts (7.6%) and mathematics (12.8%) from the 2018-19 school year to 2020-21. In the same time frame, the state's performance index score dropped more than 12 points. The report card states the decrease in learning was seen more among students in districts that "primarily used fully remote or hybrid education delivery models."

Due to Ohio law, this year's report card does not have grades or ratings.

Pandemic led to chronic absenteeism increases

Chronic absenteeism increased in 75% of Ohio's public-school districts. In 2018-19, 16.7% of students in Ohio were chronically absent. That statistic jumped to 24% for 2020-21. Districts that primarily were fully remote during the 2020-21 school year, chronic absenteeism increased on average by nine percentage points.

CPS' chronic absenteeism rate went from 19.9% in 2018-19 to 46.4% in 2020-21. In September of this year, Interim Superintendent Tianay Amat said this was an "all hands on deck" situation.

Hamilton and Winton Woods saw their rates nearly double, while Mt. Healthy's rates went from 17.9% in 2018-19 to 54.9% in 2020-21. St. Bernard Elmwood Place went from 16.5% to 42.1%.

Butler County school districts also saw massive increases, with New Miami Local Schools going from roughly 23% to nearly 40% from 2018-19 to 2020-21. In the same time frame, Edgewood saw a 10% increase, Fairfield nearly 15%, and Madison and Lakota Local Schools seeing roughly 16% increases. Monroe Local Schools went from 5.9% to 28.2%.

In Hamilton County, Northwest Local Schools saw a 26.4% increase. In Warren County, Carlisle Local Schools' rate increased 27%.

For more details on how your school district fared, click here. Complete data on the current state of Ohio's school district can be found here.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.