Johnstown Independent

State's new mandate starts with freshmen

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Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge high schools' class of 2018 will face new state requirements to graduate.

Ohio House Bill 487 recently established new requirements that include several end-of-course exams for high school students to earn a diploma, beginning with students entering ninth grade this year.

Johnstown-Monroe High school principal Michael Heath said 125 freshman would be affected by the change.

He said the new requirements ensure that students are better prepared for success after high school whether they attend college, pursue other training or go directly into the workforce.

Heath posted the new requirements in a letter to freshmen's parents on the district's website, johnstown.k12.oh.us. He also posted a letter to them regarding new testing requirements.

Northridge High School principal Amy Anderson didn't respond to ThisWeek's request for comment by press deadline.

Students in the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 and those who are repeating ninth grade this school year will continue to operate under Ohio's existing graduation requirements, including taking the Ohio Graduation Tests in the spring of their sophomore year.

The new requirements don't change the current courses or number of course credits students must complete to be eligible for graduation, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

In addition to course credits, however, students must earn points toward graduation by taking seven end-of-course exams. Those tests include English I or II, Algebra I, Geometry, Integrated Math I or II, Physical Science, American History and American Government.

School districts will have the option to use the state end-of-course exams to replace their course final exams and use the state's test as part of the class grade, according to the ODE.

The exams will replace the Ohio Graduation Test.

Students will earn one to five points for each exam, based on their performance, using the point scale: advanced, five points; accelerated, four points; proficient, three points; basic, two points; and limited, one point.

Students who take Physical Science, American History or American Government as part of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or college dual-credit programs may use their scores from those programs' end-of-course exams in place of the state end-of-course exam scores to accumulate graduation points. The state board is in the process of determining how this would work.

A student who earned high school credit in any of those courses before July 1, 2014, automatically will receive a score of three points per course exam toward the total points needed for graduation, according to the ODE.

The State Board of Education hasn't yet approved the minimum number of points a student must accumulate to become eligible for a high school diploma, but the board's graduation requirements committee in September is expected to propose that 18 points be the minimum for graduation eligibility.

Of those points, students must earn a minimum of four total points across the English end-of-course exams, four points for math exams and six total points for science and social-studies exams.

Students who do not earn the required number of graduation points still could meet the requirements for a diploma if they earn a remediation-free score on a national college admission test, such as the ACT or SAT. The score must show the student wouldn't need to take a high-school-level review course in college before earning college credits.

Students also could qualify for graduation by earning an approved industry-recognized credential and achieving a workforce-readiness score on a related job-skills test. The selection of those assessments is in progress, according to the ODE.

During the next year, job-skills tests and college admission tests will be selected, as well as passing scores for those tests.

The state also is scheduled this winter to determine how the new graduation requirements would apply to students in dropout-prevention and recovery programs.

 

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