Various Paths to High School Graduation Offered in Ohio

a­­From Staff Reports

MARTINS FERRY — The Ohio Department of Education offers a few ways for students to earn their high school diplomas after their long school careers, but some local educators believe the pathways can make it more difficult for students to graduate on time.

Martins Ferry High School Principal Joe Mamone believes the Ohio Department of Education’s requirements are making it more difficult for students to graduate.

In past years, a student simply needed to attain a certain grade point average and the required number of course credits. Now, however, students also must achieve a certain number of points on end-of-course testing. Because so many students were not getting the number of points needed, the state legislature decided to offer two new additional options.

Mamone said, though, that it remains to be seen whether these additional options will be extended to those set to graduate in 2019 and beyond.

“It’s a tricky situation,” Mamone said.

Mamone noted students and parents meet with guidance counselor John Bennett several times a year to discuss the requirements and how they are doing. He said the state also continuously changes its requirements, which makes it difficult for the educators to prepare students for graduation.

“It’s tough on teachers, the administration and students. It feels like every year the state changes the requirements. And the state has not done a great job of providing test preparation stuff. It’s a challenge,” he said.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the Class of 2018’s students must do the following:

∫ Complete and earn a state minimum of 20 credits in specific subjects.

∫ Receive instruction in economics and financial literacy and complete at least two semesters of fine arts. Various school districts also may have additional requirements.

But getting the correct number of credits is not enough — students also must demonstrate what they have learned. According to the DOE, there are three different pathways a student can choose:

1. Ohio’s State Tests

Students must earn 18 out of 35 points on seven end-of-course state tests. They can earn up to five points on each test. Students need a minimum of four points in math, four points in English language arts and six points across science and social studies.

2. Industry-recognized credential and score on workforce readiness test

Students can earn an industry-recognized credential or a group of credentials totaling 12 points and earn the required score on the WorkKeys test. Ohio pays for students to take the test one time. Some districts offer the Senior Only program, through which students can earn credentials in one school year.

3. College and career readiness tests

Students can earn remediation-free scores in math and English language arts on the ACT or SAT test. A student’s district chooses either the ACT or SAT. Students will take a one-time statewide spring test in grade 11 for free.

Students who cannot meet any of three main pathways can still try two other options. In July 2017, a budget bill authorized two additional options only for students in the Class of 2018 who entered ninth grade between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. These options are available for those who do not otherwise meet one of the three pathways to graduate and earn a diploma:

Option 1

Students must take and pass courses that are their curriculum requirements and take all seven end-of-course exams. If students receive a score of “1” or “2” on any math or English language arts test, they must retake the test at least once.

Additionally, students must meet at least two of the below requirements:

∫ Attendance rate of 93 percent during the 12th grade year;

∫ Earn a GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in all courses completed during 12th grade (must complete at least four full-year courses);

∫ Complete a capstone project during 12th grade that the district or school defines;

∫ During 12th grade, complete a work or community service experience totaling 120 hours that the district or school defines;

∫ Earn three or more College Credit Plus credits at any time during high school;

∫ Earn credit for an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course and earn an AP exam score of 3 or higher or IB exam score of 4 or higher at any time during high school;

∫ Earn a WorkKeys exam score of 3 or higher on each of three test sections;

∫ Earn a State Board-approved industry-recognized credential or credentials that equal at least three points;

∫ Meet OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal requirements (under development).

Option 2

Students in a career-technical program must take and pass courses that are their curriculum requirements, take all seven end-of-course tests and finish a career-technical program that includes at least four courses in a single career pathway. They must also complete at least one of the options below:

∫ Earn a total score of proficient or better based on all career-technical exams or test modules;

∫ Earn an industry-recognized credential or credentials that equal 12 points; or

∫ Complete a workplace experience totaling 250 hours with evidence of positive evaluations.