Ohio High Schoolers May See New Path to a Diploma

Ohio school superintendent Paolo DeMaria addresses state board of education
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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 meet tomorrow (Wed) to refine 5 new options.   State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki reports . .


This year’s high school juniors will need to hit a certain score on 7 different end-of-course exams to earn a diploma.  But when estimates came in that 30% of them would fail, the State 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.

“Attendance might count for some number of points, workplace experience would count for some number of points, GPA would count.  So that the goal would be to accumulate somehow that level of points through a combination of either exam numbers and other non-exam based accomplishments.” 

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.”

The school superintendent says whatever option is adopted would only be temporary until districts can better prepare pupils for the stricter test requirements.  DeMaria says the work group is not looking at a two-tiered diploma where one group might receive an "academic diploma" and another a "basic" diploma. 

The group will meet tomorrow (Wed) to refine various proposals and Demaria will make a recommendation in April.

Any new graduation standard would not go into effect until next year. 

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