That’s significant because many freshman and sophomores have spent this COVID-affected year taking Algebra I or English II — subjects where they need to pass a state test for the primary route to a diploma. There are options for students who fail those exams (future-year test retakes, career tech or military commitments, or earning college credit in high school), but some argued more flexibility should be granted.
“We always want to talk about accountability for these students, but we should be talking about compassion and understanding,” said state Sen. Teresa Fedor, a veteran Education Committee member. “These young people have the most at stake because it is their futures that will be affected, not ours.”
Testing advocates from Ohio Excels and the Fordham Institute had argued the exams are important to show that current freshmen and sophomores have mastered those core math and English courses.
High school graduation in Ohio is not simple, as the rules have changed repeatedly. Current juniors and seniors are governed by one system, while the classes of 2023 and beyond have different requirements. The state’s guidance document for the 2023 system is 56 pages long.
Senators approved an amendment Fedor proposed to give current seniors one more option. They can qualify for a 2021 diploma if they’ve passed the minimum number of classroom credits and also earned the Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal.
Other HB 67 provisions
The final version of the bill retains several House provisions, including:
** State testing windows are extended for an extra week this spring.
** Schools don’t have to administer the state American history exam this year (one of the few state tests that is not federally required).
** Ohio will seek the federally offered waiver of certain accountability standards for 20-21.
** The deadline for 20-21 state report cards for schools is moved back from Sept. 15 to Oct. 14.