Ohio High School Graduation Requirements Up in the Air
Ohio’s high school juniors may head into their summer break uncertain about what they need to do to earn a high school diploma. At the moment, they must reach a certain score on seven end of course tests. But that is likely to change.
A workgroup suggested to the Ohio Board of Education this week that the Class of 2018 should be allowed to use other factors like attendance, grade point average, and work study experience to graduate.
State Senator Peggy Lehner said on 90.3’s the Sound of Ideas show today (Wed) that too many students, an estimated 30% statewide, were heading toward failure with the new end-of-course exams.
“As students become more used to the type of questions on this new graduation test they will do better and it will become a valid tool. But in the meantime we need an escape valve for those kids who – you know they might know the content, they just don’t know how to answer the questions.”
But critic Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, says the proposal is too weak.
“It does not say anything about a student’s ability and not need remedial education or go into the workforce.”
State school board member Pat Bruns says school officials she has talked with accept the standards but need more time to realign their classroom work for the tests.
Shaker Heights High School Principal Jonathon Kuehnle supports the new graduation options but says students also need more time to adjust to the new problem-based exams. He argues the alternative requirements may be needed for several years.
“I’m not aware of any massive seismic shift in teaching, learning, legislature that would all of a sudden render the 30-50% of current juniors that we are worried about not being able to graduate. What is going to change in one year’s time where all of a sudden that huge number of students and teachers will all of a sudden make these targets?”
The state legislature will have the final say on how to set Ohio’s graduation requirements.