High school graduation change clears full legislature
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Ohio high schools can now turn their attention to helping seniors meet alternative graduation pathways, as the state Senate and House overwhelmingly approved those options Thursday.
Current high school seniors and juniors will not have to pass state tests to graduate, although those who already passed the tests will still qualify for a diploma via that route. Ohio has been one of about a dozen states that require most students to pass a standardized test to graduate.
The Senate approved the changes in House Bill 491 by a 29-0 vote, and the House passed it 78-1. The bill now goes to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. Legislators said last week the governor’s office supports the changes.
House Bill 491 gives current high school seniors exactly the same graduation options the Class of 2018 had. Students still have to pass the required 20 classroom credits, take all state “end-of-course” tests and retake any English or math tests where they scored a 1 or 2 on the 5-point scale.
But instead of needing certain scores on those new, harder tests, students can earn a diploma by meeting two of nine unrelated standards that include 93 percent senior-year attendance, strong senior-year classroom grades, 120 work/service hours, a “capstone” project and a variety of other options.
There’s a similar adjustment for students in career tech programs, taking away the requirement for a certain score on the WorkKeys exam and adding replacement pathways.
The bill sets similar graduation alternatives for the Class of 2020, with a few tweaks. The “good attendance” option would not be available to the Class of 2020. Work/service hours and capstone projects for Class of 2020 students would have to meet standards to be set next spring by the Ohio Department of Education. And the strong classroom grades option would apply to courses taken in both junior and senior year. Contact this reporter at 937225-2278 or email Jeremy. Kel[email protected]inc.com.
Ohio high school seniors and juniors will not have to pass state tests to graduate. Seniors will have the same graduation options as the Class of 2018.