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Bill Could Delay Changes For Ohio's Graduation Tests

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A bill passed in the Ohio House this week could delay changes to the tests Ohio students need to pass to graduate. For StateImpact Ohio, Michelle Kanu reports the legislation would also give new weight to the high school diploma.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

In 2009, the state legislature* decided to phase out the Ohio Graduation Test and replace it with a battery of individual, end of course exams.
The idea was that these exams would be given online, and they would align to the new, so-called common core learning standards that schools around the state and the country are adopting. The Ohio Department of Education wants students to start taking the new tests in the 2014-2015 school year.

But House Bill 193 would delay that timeline for a year.

State representative Andrew Brenner is sponsoring the bill and says the state needs more time to vet the exams and school districts need more time to prepare.

“Not every student does well with online tests, number one," he says. "And number two, lots of school districts—the bandwidth may not be there, the computers aren’t there. So you’re going to try to have kids take tests, and they don’t have enough computers to be able to have all of the kids take the test at the same time.”

H.B. 193 would also allow students to earn an additional seal on their diploma showing they’ve taken special vocational classes and passed a nationally recognized job skills test.

“If a student is ready to graduate and they have a workforce ready endorsement and they know that they have an industry standard on plumbing or some other alternative, they know that that student is ready to go right into the workforce and be able to work,” Brenner says.

Another provision of the bill would require the state to hold public hearings when adopting new content standards*.

The bill now moves on to the senate.

This story has been updated.
*The previous version said "In 2012, the Ohio Department of Education decided to phase out the Ohio Graduation Test and replace it with a battery of individual, end of course exams." That is not accurate. In 2009, the state legislature decided to phase out the Ohio Graduation Test and move toward end of course exams. That decision preceded the adoption of the Common Core, but the end of course exams ODE is now considering will be better aligned with the Common Core.

**The previous version said "the state will hold public hearings about the books and materials used to teach the Common Core." That is inaccurate. The law would require the state to hold public meetings when adopting new academic content standards, and school districts would be required to involve parents and educators in their process of selecting new teaching materials used to teach the content standards..

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