State panel makes recommendation for students to graduate despite test scores

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN)- A state panel offered options for students to graduate despite low test scores.  This comes after a study revealed an alarming number of Ohio high school students were at risk of not graduating next year, because of new requirements.

Nearly 30 percent of high school juniors in the state are not on track to graduate next year and those numbers are even higher for some school districts in the Miami Valley, because starting next year high school seniors must achieve 18 points, instead of 16, on state exams to graduate.

“We’ve raised the bar and we’re asking kids to reach a higher standard, which is great I fully support that, but that 18 points could be detrimental to the students, over those seven end of course exams, trying to reach that level to graduate,” Springfield City School Superintendent Bob Hill said.

A state panel, which was tasked with looking into the new requirements, recommended an option that would allow students with 93 percent attendance, a 2.5 grade point average who complete a work study program or community service during their senior year to graduate, even if they don’t reach the 18-point standardized test requirement. However, they would still need to complete all required courses.

Faced with the possibility of a large percentage of students in his school district not graduating on time, Hill is restructuring their high school academy program and hoping the state board of education will allow some flexibility with their new graduation requirements.

“I would project 50 to 60 percent of our kids may not reach that 18 point threshold at the end of their senior year, so now if you reflect on what they have proposed we can personalize things a little bit more and get away from just a test,” Hill said.

Springfield is not the only school district that would see graduation rates plummet with the new requirement.  In Montgomery County alone seven school districts estimate one-third or more of their current juniors are at risk of not graduating next year.

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