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Ohio Graduation Estimates Once Again Raising Concerns


Ohio education officials said last week that the potential for a high school graduation crisis for the class of 2018 was easing because of an alternative path to graduation approved by state lawmakers.

But state school board members say the numbers for 2019 are still cause for concern.

So far, only 65 percent of this year's high school juniors have met or are highly likely to reach graduation requirements for 2019.

To Board Member Stephanie Dodd, that shows little improvement compared to last year’s juniors. She says it’s time to look for other graduation requirements. 

“I think that extends beyond a one-time-test I think it involves a bigger look at what’s happening in our schools and in our classes.”

Dodd says that might include the grade in the course itself and not just the final exam.

Last fall, board members were told a third of the students in the Class of 2018 would not meet more rigorous graduation requirements implemented by the state Legislature in 2014.

Those requirements included receiving 20 course credits in addition to scoring 18 out of 36 on seven end-of-course exams, receiving a remediation free score on the ACT or SAT, or receiving an industry credential.

After numbers did not improve for the class, board members in April worked to come up with an additional path to graduation for the class. That path would require seniors to meet two of nine potential senior year requirements, including achieving a 93 percent attendance rate, having a 2.5 GPA, or completing a capstone project, among others.

A bill creating that alternative pathway was approved by lawmakers in June, helping to ease the so-called crisis and resulting in the updated numbers presented to the state Board of Education’s Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee last week.

The alternative path to graduation only applies to the class of 2018.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.