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New Research Shows Cincinnati Public Schools Outpaces Other Urban Districts in Post-Pandemic Growth

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) is on a positive path toward achievement growth, outpacing other urban districts across the country. 

The Education Recovery Scorecard, a collaboration between the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University, issued a report on the first year of academic recovery for school districts. 

While the pandemic caused significant drops in achievement across all grade bands for K12 public schools across the country, CPS focused on safely educating students, and simultaneously planning and implementing aggressive recovery initiatives for students to stop grade level learning loss. 

“To get back to 2019 achievement scores, our Board of Education also began a strong effort to develop a student outcome governance model with metric-driven goals and guardrails. Over the past two years, our teams have been deep in the instructional work each day, seeing and experiencing progress,” Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent and CEO Iranetta Rayborn Wright said. “Our internal data indicates it is working, but it is evident we need to see how we compare with other districts to share and leverage best practices.”

The Education Recovery Scorecard indicates positive growth for CPS in math and reading, with even more impressive results when comparing the District’s achievement growth against the decline and recovery over similar time periods and urban districts across the nation.

“The CPS math score, relative to the 2019 average, was on steady decline for over three years. In one year, the CPS' average math score has moved halfway to pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating key tactics, programs and the commitment by our teachers are working,” Superintendent Wright added. “Our reading score also demonstrated positive growth. Out of 44 Council of the Great City School members, CPS ranks second in math improvement and 15th in reading.”

In a recent NPR “All Things Considered” article and interview with Stanford professor Sean Reardon about the recovery data, and in particular math results, Professor Reardon stated, "you have to realize the losses from 2019 to 2022 were historically large. Students fell by more than a half-grade level behind in math, for example, nationally. That's a giant decline by historical standards. And the third of a year of increase in math is also a very huge increase by historical standards. In a typical year, maybe 2- or 3% of school districts in the country would see that kind of a gain, so to see it on average across 8,000 school districts is quite remarkable." 

Superintendent Wright echoed Professor Reardon’s comments saying, “CPS is among a select group of school districts that experienced significant recovery gains in math beginning in 2022. This data translates to nearly two years worth of recovery for our students in a single year."

Among the Ohio 8 largest school districts, Cincinnati Public Schools ranks first in math and fifth in reading (see table below).  

The data highlights the District’s intentional work to enhance professional development and instructional reviews to leverage curriculum, the investment in i-Ready assessments to monitor student progress in real time and a commitment to community engagement to improve student performance. 

“We still have much work to do, and in partnership with our Board, community and staff, we will remain aggressive toward our goals of surpassing pre-pandemic scores in core subjects, graduation rates and reducing racial disparity achievement gaps,” Superintendent Wright said.

Education Recovery Scorecard - Cincinnati Public Schools vs. Ohio 8

Rank

Ohio 8 School Districts

2022-2023 Change in Average Math Scores

1

Cincinnati Public Schools

0.72

2

Dayton City

0.66

3

Akron City

0.57

4

Canton City

0.52

5

Cleveland Municipal

0.49

6

Toledo City

0.45

7

Columbus City School District

0.37

8

Youngstown City

NA

 

Rank

Ohio 8 School Districts

2022-2023 Change in Average Reading Scores

1

Toledo City

0.35

2

Canton City

0.31

3

Youngstown City

0.25

4

Akron City

0.18

5

Cincinnati Public Schools

0.08

6

Cleveland Municipal

0.03

7

Columbus City School District

-0.23

8

Dayton City

-0.31

 

Education Recovery Scorecard - Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) Rankings - Math

  • Cincinnati Public Schools Ranks #2 in Math

Rank

CGCS School District Name

ST

Math 22-23 Change

1

Jackson Public Schools

MS

1.01

2

Cincinnati Public Schools

OH

0.72

3

Norfolk Public Schools

VA

0.67

4

Dayton Public Schools

OH

0.66

5

Metro Nashville Public Schools (Davidson County)

TN

0.6

6

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

NC

0.6

7

Birmingham City

AL

0.52

8

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

OH

0.49

9

Philadelphia Public Schools

PA

0.48

10

Pittsburgh Public Schools

PA

0.47

11

Toledo Public Schools

OH

0.45

12

Columbus City Schools

OH

0.37

13

Chicago Public Schools

IL

0.35

14

Richmond Public Schools

VA

0.33

15

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

NC

0.3

16

Oklahoma City Public Schools

OK

0.28

17

Atlanta Public Schools

GA

0.26

18

Portland Public Schools

OR

0.25

19

Detroit Public Schools Community District

MI

0.23

20

Fayette County Public Schools

KY

0.21

21

Fresno Unified

CA

0.21

22

Jefferson County Public Schools

KY

0.21

23

Shelby County Public Schools

TN

0.18

24

Los Angeles Unified

CA

0.16

25

San Diego Unified

CA

0.16

26

East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools

LA

0.15

27

Guilford County Schools

NC

0.15

28

Milwaukee School District

WI

0.15

29

Seattle Public Schools

WA

0.15

30

Sacramento City Unified

CA

0.14

31

Newark Public Schools

NJ

0.13

32

Santa Ana Unified

CA

0.13

33

Providence Public Schools

RI

0.11

34

Clark County School District

NV

0.1

35

Long Beach Unified

CA

0.06

36

San Francisco Unified

CA

0.05

37

Tulsa Public Schools

OK

0.04

38

Wichita Public Schools

KS

0.04

39

Indianapolis Public Schools

IN

0.02

40

Little Rock School District

AR

0.02

41

Bridgeport Public Schools

CT

0.01

42

Oakland Unified

CA

0.01

 

Boston Public Schools

MA

 

 

Washoe County School District

NV

 

 

Education Recovery Scorecard - Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) Rankings - Reading

  • Cincinnati Public Schools ranks #15 in reading

Rank

CGCS School District Name

ST

Reading 22-23 Change

1

Chicago Public Schools

IL

0.68

2

Jackson Public Schools

MS

0.6

3

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

NC

0.53

4

Jefferson County Public Schools

KY

0.35

5

Toledo Public Schools

OH

0.35

6

Metro Nashville Public Schools (Davidson County)

TN

0.32

7

Atlanta Public Schools

GA

0.26

8

Detroit Public Schools Community District

MI

0.26

9

Milwaukee School District

WI

0.26

10

Fayette County Public Schools

KY

0.24

11

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

NC

0.22

12

Shelby County Public Schools

TN

0.2

13

East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools

LA

0.1

14

Philadelphia Public Schools

PA

0.09

15

Cincinnati Public Schools

OH

0.08

16

Wichita Public Schools

KS

0.07

17

Guilford County Schools

NC

0.06

18

Seattle Public Schools

WA

0.06

19

Tulsa Public Schools

OK

0.06

20

San Diego Unified

CA

0.05

21

Oklahoma City Public Schools

OK

0.04

22

Pittsburgh Public Schools

PA

0.04

23

Providence Public Schools

RI

0.04

24

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

OH

0.03

25

Long Beach Unified

CA

0.03

 

Birmingham City

AL

 
 

Boston Public Schools

MA

 
 

Bridgeport Public Schools

CT

 
 

Clark County School District

NV

 
 

Columbus City Schools

OH

 
 

Dayton Public Schools

OH

 
 

Fresno Unified

CA

 
 

Indianapolis Public Schools

IN

 
 

Little Rock School District

AR

 
 

Los Angeles Unified

CA

 
 

Newark Public Schools

NJ

 
 

Norfolk Public Schools

VA

 
 

Oakland Unified

CA

 
 

Portland Public Schools

OR

 
 

Richmond Public Schools

VA

 
 

Sacramento City Unified

CA

 
 

San Francisco Unified

CA

 
 

Santa Ana Unified

CA

 
 

Washoe County School District

NV

 

 

Key Documents & Links

To view and listen to the NPR Article, please visit: https://www.npr.org/2024/01/31/1228214205/u-s-students-are-starting-to-catch-up-in-school-unless-theyre-from-a-poor-area 

To view key scorecard data, please visit the following links:

For additional Information about the Council of Great City Schools, please visit: https://www.cgcs.org/cgcs 

View and download Superintendent Wright's letter: Superintendent Wright Letter - CPS Outpaces Other Urban Districts in Post-Pandemic Growth - Feb 2 2024

Media Contacts: