December 2018 - Ohio’s Pathways for a High School Diploma
By Michael Short, Ed.D., Principal, Perrysburg High School
For many years, students earned a high school diploma by passing required classes. About 20 years ago, Ohio added testing to this equation, such as the Ohio Graduation Test. The Ohio Department of Education has since developed Ohio’s Pathways for a High School Diploma, which involves, in addition to passing all 21 required credits, other criteria that they must meet to earn a high school diploma.
There are three pathways to a high school diploma that are currently available to our students:
• Earning at least 18 points on seven end-of-course state tests. The courses the tests cover include: English I, English II, Algebra I OR Int. Math I, Geometry OR Int. Math II, Biology, American History and American Government.
• Earning an industry-recognized credential and a work-readiness score on a test called WorkKeys.
• Earning a remediation-free score on the ACT or SAT.
Last school year, in addition to these three pathways, school districts were offered other pathways that were not renewed this year. At this time, these are the only three pathways available to graduating seniors.
For about 98% of our students, earning a diploma through one of these three pathways will not be an issue. For the small number of students who we felt could potentially not meet one of the three pathways, we tried to stay ahead of the game by contacting their families right away once we knew about the changes. We are committed to working with them to give them the best chance for success.
We set up a portion of their school day preparing them for the end-of-course exams. We are using test preparation tools that are individualized to each student and we are optimistic that this plan will work for them; they should be able to pass with this additional preparation work this school year.
For students living with disabilities, there is an exemption so they are still able to graduate as long as their course requirements are met.
For the industry-recognized credential, Perrysburg High School students, via Penta Career Center, have access to more than 30 of these credential programs, such as automotive technology or cosmetology. Students take a test called WorkKeys in order to utilize this pathway to graduation.
We are currently investigating minor adjustments we could make at Perrysburg High School to offer industry-recognized credential pathways to our students in-house. For example, we do have classes that teach Microsoft Office, but at this time the students do not take the credential test at the end of the course. Not only will this help us meet this new state requirement, but it also gives our students more options and a stronger skill set upon graduation, which we are pleased to be working toward.
The notion that a high school diploma alone can lead to a career has become archaic. For students not planning to attend college or university, additional industry credentials would serve them well. Not every student is college-bound and every student needs tools for success, and this helps with that. Our mission, ensuring all students achieve their greatest potential, underscores how important it is to provide clear pathways for the needs of each and every one of our students.
Posted Monday, December 17, 2018