COLUMBUS, Ohio – When the biennial budget passed recently, it contained an Ohio Senate provision that changed the high school graduation requirements. The State Board of Education (SBE) had been pushing a different version.
Last November, the SBE passed Resolution 15 which adopted the recommendations of the State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for High School Graduation Requirements. If it became law, students would be required to complete the following six areas:
- English Language Arts (ELA) – meet 1 of 4: performance on state test or other assessment, required GPA in ELA or college credit plus (CCP) course, writing demonstration for “Culminating Student Experience” or online state ELA course completion
- Math – meet 1 of 4: performance on state test or other assessment, GPA in math courses or CCP course, math demonstration for “Culminating Student Experience” or state math course completion
- technology – successfully demonstrate use of technology while in high school
- well-rounded content (satisfy two) – performance on state tests or other assessments, cumulative GPA and CCP, earn industry-recognized credentials, portfolio of work in an area of focus, and/or “Culminating Student Experience” with presentation
- Leadership/Reasoning and Social-Emotional Development – requirements are determined by local districts but include: earn the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness seal, “Culminating Student Experience” with presentation, extracurricular service completion
The “Culminating Student Experience” could include but is not limited to a major research project, community service, work-based learning or a career-tech program with evidence of completion. The details can be found on pages 10 and 11 of the Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee’s PowerPoint presentation from October’s SBE Meeting.
The Ohio Senate’s new graduation requirements still include mandatory state testing, but the number of tests has been cut down to from seven to two: Algebra I (contingent upon federal approval) and English II. Students must also meet current curriculum requirements, earn at least two diploma seals including either a Biliteracy Seal, OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal or one of the newly created seals from the SBE. Those new seals will include citizenship, science, honors, technology and others.
An example of a seal is, “A Seal of Biliteracy [which] recognizes graduating seniors who can demonstrate high levels of proficiency in English and at least one other language. A school or district gives this award by following state-established guidelines.”
To earn the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal, a student must, “demonstrate certain professional skills required for success in the workplace. Students work with at least three experienced and trusted mentors who validate the demonstration of these skills in school, work or the community.”
According to the new law, a student who fails to obtain the necessary passing score on either of the required state tests has additional options. Completing the College Credit Plus Program, evidence of enlistment in the armed forces, industry-recognized credentials or completing an apprenticeship program are some.
Local school districts are also required to create seals that count towards graduation for one or more of the following: community service, fine and performing arts and student engagement.
Key differences between the Senate passed measure and the SBE proposal are fewer tests with the Senate version, no provision for a “Culminating Student Experience” and no Social-Emotional Learning requirements for graduation.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute who helped create the Senate’s proposal said, “Unlike a competing proposal offered by the State Board of Education, the enacted provisions are objective, comparable, and valid. Students will have a variety of ways to demonstrate what they know and can do, but high expectations are applied to everyone. At long last, the Buckeye State can finally stop debating what to do about graduation standards.”
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