DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Department of Education’s annual report card reveals a significant decrease in student performance compared to previous years, and many educators and state leaders are blaming the pandemic.

“We’re seeing decreases in student performance as measured on state tests. This is consistent with things we’re seeing in other states,” said Ohio Department of Education Chief Program Officer Chris Woolard.

The research also reveals the statewide performance index…moving from 84.7 to 72.5 in the last year. Woolard says statewide, attendance is also down. “Student attendance is really critical. When we look at that absentee data across the state, again not surprisingly, those numbers are a lot worse last year than they’d previously been.”

The data this year comes nearly a month later than it’s usual September release due to schools and students getting more time for state testing last spring. Letter grades are also not included in this years report. “The unique circumstances of the pandemic created a situation where we’re not gonna show letter grades, not gonna evaluate this performance,” said Woolard.

In The Miami Valley, Fairborn City Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sue Brackenhoff says though it’s taken time to adapt, she’s proud of district students and teachers. “They continue to work. They learn to not only teach virtually, but they learn to assess virtually, and to engage students,” said Brackenhoff.

At Dayton Public Schools, Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli also releasing a statement saying in part:

“While we recognize that this is a step back from the tremendous progress made on the report card in 2019, this is not a surprise. Remote learning took a devastating toll on student academic performance. As a result, the district has already taken proactive steps toward addressing the learning gaps that now exist.”

Woolard says the hope is to now use this data to pinpoint and work on the issues and struggles at hand. “Schools and districts can look at the areas where they’re struggling and then use some of those federal relief dollars to specifically challenge those areas.”