Urge Your Legislators to Get Graduation Right

Image: Graduates

The Senate-passed budget bill (House Bill 166) includes new long-term graduation requirements based on a plan put forward by Ohio Excels (a group representing business interests).  This is an item of difference for the HB 166 conference committee as the House-passed budget did not include changes to graduation requirements.

Students should be able to demonstrate what they know in ways other than a standardized test.

Under the proposal, the new requirements would begin with the class of 2023.

To graduate, student would need to achieve a competency score on two end-of-course exams (Algebra and ELA II) and earn two “graduation seals” in addition to earning requisite course credits. Two tests (Geometry and ELA I) would be eliminated.

If after two attempts a student did not score high enough on the tests, a student may use an alternative demonstration of competency that is limited to:

  1. College-level course completion through College Credit Plus;
  2. A career technical education pathway; or
  3. Enlisting in the military. These are not viable options for all students.

OEA opposes this plan as currently written as it has an overly rigid reliance on high-stakes testing. 

Students should be able to demonstrate what they know in ways other than a standardized test.  OEA is advocating for improvements to this language or that the issue be considered in separate legislation.

You can help by emailing your legislators today by adapting the sample letter below.  Tell your legislators to get graduation right for Ohio’s students.

Talking Points:

  • The fundamental flaw at the proposal’s heart is a rigid over-reliance on high-stakes testing.
  • The plan would be greatly improved by offering students an additional way to demonstrate competency (such as grade point average in those courses).
  • It is important to recognize the professional judgement of licensed educators as the most valid method for making decisions about student work and readiness for graduation.