Review of rigorous graduation requirements too late, educators say

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CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) –  The class of 2018 will be the first in Ohio that has to meet the new requirements to graduate high school. Those requirements say that students must earn 18 points on tests at the end of a course.

Superintendents asked the State School Board to phase in those points, but that proposal was voted down, 17 to 1 on Tuesday.

Now, a special task force is being formed to look at requirements, but some educators say it’s pretty late in the game.

“It’s probably something that maybe should have been done sooner, because by the time the task force comes together and collects their data and draws some conclusions, it’s going to be April, near the end of the school year, so nothing is really going to be resolved for the juniors this year as they exit this year,” said Doug Hiscox, superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center (MCESC).

The Ohio School Board wants to form a task force to look at the point system and current requirements. Educators say if the task force makes suggestions, however, it’s going to take time to implement the changes.

“I’m not sure how a task force would help. What I think they’re hoping to get is just further information as to, is this truly going to be detrimental to children?” said Kim Davis, director of teaching and learning at MCESC.

Davis said while districts are saying that they have significant students that will not be graduating under the requirements, the Ohio Department of Education is refuting the data. The data says 66.5 percent of students are on track to meet requirements with two years remaining and 28 percent have already met requirements.

“The department believes that 38 percent are more likely to meet those requirements being that they will retake the test, more than likely, and earn more points, and there are a couple of tests yet they haven’t taken,” she said.

Students can retake the test when there’s a window, but the results aren’t showing a lot of gains.

“English 1, only 19 percent of students that retake the tests show any improvement and Algebra or Math 1, only about 14 to 15 percent are showing improvement. That is reason for alarm as well,” Davis said.

A task force is going to look at the point system and make recommendations by April.

“If anything changes, it will help next year in preparation for graduation,” Hiscox said. “If nothing changes and those gaps are still remaining that were there when we started this process, there’s not going to be a lot of time to fill those graduation requirements.”

The Ohio Department of Education’s data is still new and it’s not complete. There are also tests students still need to take that could change the numbers.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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