Understanding the New Graduation Requirements
Many of you may be aware that requirements for graduation in Ohio will change with the Class of 2018. Previously students had to pass the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) to earn a high school diploma. For the Class of 2018 students have to take seven end-of-course exams that are each worth five points. A student needs 18 points on these seven tests to graduate. A student can also earn a diploma by getting a remediation free score on the ACT or earning an industrial credential.
During the transition to the new graduation requirements Ohio has changed the vendor for the end-of-course exams. School districts across the state began to realize that more students were not on track to graduate due to changes in the test vendors and how the tests were being scored. Last fall the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) shared data that showed that there could be more than a 30 percent drop in graduation rate for the state of Ohio. Based on initial ODE reports Loveland’s graduation rate could drop by 15 percent (50+ students), dropping our graduation rate to 78 percent overall. This drop is not due to the content being taught or the ability of our students to understand the content, but it is directly related to the reliability of some tests.
In November many school districts from across the state went to the State House to urge the Ohio Department of Education and our legislators to work with us to find a solution that was best for all students. I attended the November and December State Meetings to urge them to make adjustments to the requirements so students across our state are able to graduate on time. We have advocated for a system that does not punish our students and a process that allows teachers to better understand the expectations of the test itself.
At this point there has been no change to graduation requirements for the class of 2018 and beyond. The Ohio Department of Education has assembled a task force to look at the graduation requirements and make recommendations regarding the requirements in April. We will continue to keep track of the department’s progress toward fixing this problem and advocating for students across our state.
Loveland High School has been keeping track of students to make sure that they are on target to graduate. Our high school counselors have contacted any families where students may be in a situation to not meet the new requirements. We will continue to support and monitor our students so we can help them meet the new requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the high school directly.
Again, as before mentioned, it is because of concerns about how these changes and implementation of a high-stakes test could negatively impact students that the Ohio State Board of Education has established a task force to determine the best way to move forward. Any member of the Tiger Family wishing to voice concern about the new graduation requirements should contact the State Board of Education members directly. Please see a sample email below we have included for your consideration.
Dedicated to the future of our children,
Loveland City School District
Sample email to the State Board of Education members - feel free to copy and paste:
TO: State Board President Tess Elshoff, firstname.lastname@example.org; State Board Vice-President Nancy P. Hollister, email@example.com; Local State Board Rep Pat Bruns, Pat.Bruns@education.ohio.gov; State Superintendent Paolo DeMario, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample subject line: End high-stakes graduation testing for Ohio students
Sample Email body:
Dear [INSERT NAME],
As a parent in the Loveland City School District, I’m emailing to make you aware of my concerns regarding the continued implementation of high-stakes testing that puts a large percentage of Ohio students at risk to not graduate from high school. As a member of our state Board of Education you are empowered to be a voice on behalf of the students in Ohio; I am asking you to use your power to change the conversation from implementing these high-stakes graduation tests to eliminating high-stakes testing. Be the voice of reason – the future of our children depends on the decision you make.
State tests can be used for schools to evaluate programming and support for students, but should not be the deciding factor in graduation. We believe in the ability of the high-quality educators in the Loveland City School District to prepare our students for graduation and beyond.
[INSERT YOUR NAME]
[INSERT YOUR ADDRESS]