COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's top public schools official says no district received all A's on Ohio's new A-F report cards, and none received all F's. Superintendent Richard Ross said Thursday's release of the first round of new scores found that districts instead fell at all points on the scale. He also says the new grading system is clearer to understand.
"Everyone knows what an A is and what an F is and that's the point," Ross said.
The 2013 report cards rate schools and buildings in the first nine of 18 new performance criteria. Districts and buildings won't receive overall letter grades until 2015.
"This is a real opportunity for parents to engage our school folks with how we're going to improve our school buildings and our school districts. In the long run that's going to be a real benefit for our boys and girls," he said.
The Ohio Department of Education released the data on an interactive state website, but the website has been overwhelmed by traffic since launching.
“Parents and citizens are clearly interested in improving the state of Ohio’s schools," Ross said. “Unfortunately, the overwhelming traffic is slowing down the site, but we are working diligently to make adjustments to accommodate demand.”
The revamped system replaces the six-tier assessment system that featured such labels as ``excellent'' and ``continuous improvement.'' Ross believes those labels weren't good snapshots of how districts were actually performing.
"We had 'excellent with distinction' school districts last year and one had a school building in it with three F's, two D's and a C," said Ross.
Some districts may appear to have lower scores than last year, but Ross cautions parents against thinking that means their children aren't getting a quality education. He says the standards are now higher.
The state also slapped a "watermark" on nine school districts that are being investigated for data tampering by the Auditor of State's office. They are Canton City Schools, Campbell City Schools, Cincinnati City Schools, Cleveland Municipal City Schools, Columbus City Schools, Marion City Schools, Northridge Local Schools in Montgomery Co., Toledo City Schools, and Winton Woods City Schools.
"We wanted to do that because it's not final one way or the other yet and we'll continue to work at that with the Auditor's office and here until we get resolution," he said.
Click here to see how your school did.
One Ohio lawmaker isn't happy about the state's new school grading system. Sen. Eric Kearney believes the system makes good schools look bad. That's because it penalizes schools with high performing students that don't show improvement from year to year. He uses the example of the Princeton City Schools in Cincinnati.
"In this form it's graded an 'F' because the kid didn't improve, but these are gifted kids," he said.
The Cincinnati Democrat says the grades are confusing because there's no overall score. He also says the data is misleading because schools weren't aware of what they would be graded on at the time the data was collected.
"It's attractive at first, but it just confuses people the deeper you get into it," he said.
His biggest worry is that parents will start making decisions on where to send their children based on flawed data and scores. Kearney gives the new system a failing grade and he hopes the Ohio Department of Education fixes it.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)