Ohio Board Of Ed. Exploring Alternatives To Graduation Test Requirement

Mar 15, 2017

Ohio high school students may be able to earn a diploma without relying solely on test scores.   A work group assembled to study Ohio’s graduation requirements meets Wednesday to discuss five proposed options. 

This year’s high school juniors will need to hit a certain score on seven different end-of-course exams to earn a diploma.  

But when estimates came in that 30 percent of them would fail, the Ohio Board of Education called for help.  

Ohio School Superintendent Paolo DeMaria says the work group came up with options that include lowering the score needed to pass tests, and adding other ways for students to earn points.

“Attendance might count for some number of points, workplace experience would count for some number of points, GPA would count,” DeMaria says. “So that the goal would be to accumulate somehow that level of points through a combination of either exam numbers and other non-exam based accomplishments.” 

Most of the comments from Ohio Board of Education members at a meeting this week were positive, but at-large member Laura Kohler said she didn’t want to make a diploma too easy to earn.

“In order for the diploma to have value and merit to the workforce, to institutions of higher learning, I think we’ve got to set a standard and then not be afraid to defend it,” said Kohler.

Superintendent DeMaria says whatever option is adopted would only be temporary until districts can better prepare pupils for the stricter test requirements. 

DeMaria says the work group is not looking at a two-tiered diploma where one group might receive an "academic diploma" and another a "basic diploma.”

The group meets Wednesday to refine various proposals, and Demaria will make a recommendation in April.

Any new graduation standard would not go into effect until next year.