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Education Officials Try to Fix Ohio's Graduation Requirements

Paolo DeMaria
Ohio Department of Education

Ohio high school students may be able to earn a diploma without relying solely on test scores. A work group assembled to study Ohio’s graduation requirements will is meeting this week  to refine five new options.

This year’s high school juniors will need to hit a certain score on seven different end-of-course exams to earn a diploma. But when estimates came in that 30 percent of them would fail, the Ohio Board of Education called for help.  

Ohio School Superintendent Paolo DeMaria says the work group came up with options like lowering the pass level for the tests or adding other ways a student could earn points.

“The list right now is: an attendance requirement, completing some hours of work experience or community service, complete an internship or an apprenticeship, discussion about a GPA threshold,” DeMaria said.

Most of the board were positive about the new options, but at-large member Laura Kohler didn’t want to make a diploma too easy to earn.

“In order for the diploma to have value and merit to the workforce, to institutions of higher learning, I think we’ve got to set a standard and then not be afraid to defend it,” she said.

The school superintendent says whatever option is adopted would only be temporary until districts can better prepare pupils for the stricter test requirements.