Carole speaks about state graduation requirements and assessments with Dr. Jim Lloyd from Olmsted Falls High School and Amanda Morris from Allerton Hill Communications. Dr. Lloyd recently organized a large meeting to get more educational leaders involved in the decision-making process that directly impacts students.
Rally for change in Ohio
Stemming from a lot of dissatisfaction with the Ohio State Report Card results in addition to the Ohio State graduation requirements an organic, grassroots movement was born to address frustrations and concern around these issues. Ultimately it started from frustration and concern, and focused into a message for more consultation with educational professionals about legislative decisions concerning education. Over 200 superintendents attended the rally.
Testing and Opting Out
While there was a bit of a roll back by the Ohio State legislature on testing hours, testing has not disappeared. Other countries worldwide do not test the way the U.S. tests. We test the entire population from a very young age. While there needs to be assessment to determine competency, it is so easy to take it to the extreme where we find ourselves with students under extreme pressure and large swaths of time spent testing.
Ohio Graduation Requirement Changes
Affecting the class of 2018, there are the local requirements for students to receive 20 credits in their coursework, and then there are several pathways to graduation. These include the end of course exams in courses like Algebra, Geometry, Sciences and English, a college and career readiness test (writing, math, reading like the ACT or SAT), and a third path– industry credential and workforce pathway. While there is no one-size-fits all path to competency and ultimately graduation, these requirements are complex and difficult to track.
Superintendents are not seeking to roll back accountability but an evaluation of what they believe are false pretenses for a point system to track student achievement and hold students to a high standard. The speed at which schools are being asked to use these complex systems is the true problem. Change is difficult and it cannot be forced or pushed through.
You can’t be a professional problem identifier. There are several alternatives that have been provided. One person cannot speak for every school district, so overall the recommendation has been to talk to all of the stakeholders and districts, don’t move too quickly and take time to get to the currently proposed point requirements. While we may not escape testing completely, we can collect other data to objectively measure student competency. Evaluating whether students are ready for life after school is extremely complex. Can a test tell us that a student can work collaboratively, cooperatively, creatively? Finding balance and being reflexive in our practices is key.