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Ohio Is Close to Making Changes to Its Graduation Requirements

photo of Ohio Department of Education building
High school graduation rates across the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2016. But a third of Ohio's high schoolers are still not on track to graduate this year.

Ohio’s high school juniors may head into their summer break uncertain about what they need to do to earn a high school diploma. At the moment, they must reach a certain score on seven end of course tests. But as State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki reports, that is likely to change.

A workgroup suggested to the Ohio Board of Education this week that the Class of 2018 should be allowed to use other factors like attendance, grade point average and work-study experience to graduate.

The proposed changes came after local superintendents estimated as many as 30 percent of Ohio students would fail. But critic Chad Aldis of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute said on WCPN’s Sound of Ideas show, the proposal is too weak.

“It does not say anything about a student’s ability and not need remedial education or go into the workforce," Aldis said.

Shaker Heights High School Principal Jonathon Kuehnle supports the new graduation options but says students need more time to adjust to the new problem-based exams. He argues the alternative requirements will be needed for several years.

“ What is going to change in one year’s time where all of a sudden that huge number of students and teachers will all of a sudden make these targets?” Kuehnle asked.

The state Legislature will have the final say on how to set Ohio’s graduation requirements.