Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Taft proposes report card for state's colleges

Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft wants Ohio's public colleges and universities to grade themselves on teaching and graduating students.

        Mr. Taft asked the Ohio Board of Regents, the panel that oversees the state's 38 colleges and universities, to come up with an annual report card that students and parents could use to shop for the best school.

        The report card would list graduation, transfer and retention rates and include students' average time spent and credits earned to get their diplomas.

        The governor outlined his request in a letter to Board Chancellor Roderick Chu, and discussed it at a luncheon meeting with reporters Tuesday.

        He said he was concerned about a recent report by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that revealed that student-athletes at Ohio State University had the lowest graduation rate among the Big Ten schools.

        “We're interested not just in student-athletes, but in all students,” Mr. Taft said. “I think this would be a very useful report for all of us.”

        While Mr. Chu and officials at Cincinnati-area universities signaled support for the idea, they also said an accurate report card may be hard to produce. Different universities, they say, have different strengths and weaknesses that a simple column of numbers might not reveal.

        Nearly 80 percent of the students who attend Miami University graduate in six years or fewer, Holly Wissing, a university spokeswoman, said her school would have no problem sharing that statistic with the rest of the world.

        “We have the highest graduation rate of Ohio's public universities,” Ms. Wissing said. “We think that (report card) would be great.”

        But the University of Cincinnati's 45 percent graduation rate would mar the school's good reputation if there were no explanation, said spokesman Greg Hand.

        “We have a lot of people come in, take one or two accounting classes, get a promotion at work, and they're done,” Mr. Hand said. “They didn't graduate, but they got what they came for.”

        A high graduation rate, said Mr. Hand, could mean a school does a great job of educating and keeping its students. It could also mean that a school simply refuses to fail students.

        “The numbers, by itself, with no explanation, could relate to both situations,” he said.

        Despite those concerns, Mr. Chu said he thought the Board of Regents could produce a report card containing much of what the governor was looking for, and do so within a year.


Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Qualls says goodbye to City Hall
FOP backs down in conflict with cop-killing lawyer
Holiday travel rush is on
Granny D walks nation for campaign finance reform
Property values up 15 percent
- Taft proposes report card for state's colleges
Taft wants to unplug electric chair
Zoo's new baby is Chaka's legacy
250 protest planned Hustler store
Bitterness follows superintendent's hiring
Thieves get $300,000 in jewels
'Toy Story 2:' Woody and gang faster, funnier
'End of Days' gutsy, gore-packed action flick
'Flawless' brilliantly acted, but plot just too predictable
'Princess Mononoke' subtle tale for grown-ups
'The Straight Story:' A simple movie about people
Bob Braun retiring from broadcasting
Calling cards come with picture of Pope, prayers
Shania Twain repetitive, but still real
TV news: Just say 'I don't know'
72 elementary schools win grants
Accused teacher won't return to class
'Big Five' spending is approved
Boyfriend sent to prison in murder
Clermont to charge inmates for stays
Exotic dancer sues Blue Ash
Home rule plays well in Union Twp.
Kenton housing plan advances
Ludlow trying to remedy water woes
Mason will check draw on aquifer
Newport police union takes contract squabble public
Southgate superintendent wins Ky. honor
Suspect held in library attacks
Three Rivers may put 8.2-mill levy on ballot
Trenton agog as Edgewood aims for title