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How did Cincinnati Public Schools fare on the state's new report cards?

Ambriehl Crutchfield

The Ohio Department of Education on Thursday released its annual report cards for school districts across the state.

The district didn't meet state expectations in any of the five major categories tracked — but did make improvements in some areas.

The district's scores suggest that last year, Cincinnati Public Schools hadn’t recovered from setbacks suffered during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a similar story for districts across the country.

CPS students’ achievement on state tests trailed pre-pandemic levels in many cases, though CPS outperformed comparable districts on most of those tests. Its performance garnered it two stars out of five on the report card.

Students did better than they did the previous year on a number of tests, even if they didn't perform as well as they did pre-pandemic. The district attributes that to a return to in-person instruction.

"There are early indicators that show students are improving as a result of being back in the classroom with a teacher, every day," a statement from CPS says. "All tested science scores, and seven out of eight tested math scores, increased during the 2021-22 school year. While not significant growth, six out of seven English Language Arts test scores also saw an increase over the prior year."

The district fell behind similar urban districts on graduation rates.

CPS scored one star out of five when it comes to its 78% graduation rate. That’s lower than the 81% average for similar districts and the state’s overall 87% graduation rate.

Only about 5% of schools in the state received a one-star rating for graduation on the state ratings.

In a press release, CPS highlighted schools that improved performance in certain areas and noted that 70 percent of schools in the district saw improvements in the state's "progress" category, which compares student performance to previous years.

“My team and I are celebrating the areas of achievement, while strategizing, planning and implementing changes to improve student performance at CPS," Superintendent and CEO Iranetta Rayborn Wright said in a statement.

The report cards look a little different this year, with star ratings instead of letter grades in five categories: achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rates, and early literacy. This year's report cards also don’t give districts an overall score.

In a statement, ODE said that the score cards shouldn't be the only way schools are judged.

"Report cards provide information on the progress of districts and schools in raising achievement and preparing students for the future," the statement says. "The data can be used to guide school improvement and respond to student learning needs. However, Ohio School Report Cards are not the only measure of the success or accomplishments of a school or district. Talking with parents, neighbors, students and graduates; browsing school and district websites; or visiting schools and meeting educators can provide a more complete picture of students’ educational experiences."

You can see all of the district's results — and those for other local schools — at ODE's website.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.