(Ohio) – A new report indicates graduation rates in Ohio have risen by ½ percentage points from 2017 to 2018 with at least 10 percent of last year’s seniors using alternatives to a diploma.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, a 1.2 percent increase takes the state to an all-time high of 85.3 percent. However, despite new options for students such as earning a diploma via less academically challenging options such as good senior-year attendance and working part-time, still, 15% of the 2018 class did not graduate in four years.
ODE officials explain that the data shows that the new options did not create a ‘diploma for everyone’ solution. State officials have noted a plan to continue to work with stakeholders in order to further develop long-term graduation requirements that give students the opportunity to show competency through a variety of ways.
The class of 2018 was initially supposed to be the first group of students required to pass one of three harder new test pathways in order to earn their high school diploma. However; the state legislature ruled, citing the multiple testing changes that class had experienced and worries of a graduation crisis, alternative options over the summer.
For instance, instead of needing certain scores on those tests, students could earn diplomas by meeting two of the nine standards that included:
- Good senior-year attendance
- Strong senior-year classroom grades
- Work/service hours
- Completion of a capstone project
Additionally, students still had to pass school classes and at least attempt the state tests.
The ODE data also indicated that 67 percent of 2018 seniors met one of the three harder testing pathways, with at least 10 percent using one of the alternative pathways. Unfortunately, another 15 percent did not graduate in four years with approximately 8 percent listed as ‘diploma reported, no pathway identified.’
It is expected that in 2019 state legislators will try to settle on a new set of long-term graduation requirements. But, the challenge remains to find a balance that includes a focus for strong pure academic demands as well as calls for more attention on interpersonal skills that employers say many graduates are lacking.