The Ohio Department of Education has announced that it is extending the deadline for school voucher applications, citing its investigation into data scrubbing that could lead to possible changes to school report cards.
The deadline to apply for EdChoice scholarships — which provide assistance for students to attend private schools — was Friday, but ODE pushed the deadline to Sept. 5. Ohio students are eligible for the scholarships if their public school performs poorly on state standards.
The department said that it plans re-issue report cards from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years for schools it identified as engaging in data scrubbing, which involved the removal of students from attendance, and thus test-score rolls. Those recalculations should be done within the next 10 days, a department spokesman said.
The state released recalculated 2011 report cards in May for six districts, including Toledo Public Schools.
The revision of the 2011 report cards led to a significant drop in some TPS schools’ scores but kept the district’s rating unchanged. At most TPS schools, scores increased.
In 2012, Ohio districts came under scrutiny for a form of data scrubbing that involved the removal of students from attendance and thus test-score rolls. In the practice, districts broke enrollments for truant students, which under state reporting guidelines meant that their test scores wouldn’t count toward district report card grades.
A school’s students become eligible for vouchers if the school scored in academic emergency or academic watch or received an overall grade of a D or F in two of the past three school years, or if it scored in the bottom 10 percent in the state on state tests.