XENIA — Xenia High School’s incoming freshmen are going to find it a little tougher to receive diplomas.
Ohio’s 130th General Assembly recently passed HB 487, which included some changes to graduation requirements beginning this fall. Gone is the Ohio Graduation Test. Instead the Class of 2018 must successfully complete one of three pathways to graduation in addition to completing the required units in the various subjects.
The pathways are:
• #1: Achieve a cumulative passing score on seven end-of-course exams. The seven exams are: English I, English II, Algebra I, Geometry, Physical science, American history, and American government.
• #2: Earn a remediation-free score on a nationally-recognized college admission exam, like the SAT or ACT. Under H.B. 487, all students will take a college admission exam in their junior year, free of charge.
• #3: Earn an industry-recognized credential or state vocational license and achieve a passing score on an employability assessment, like WorkKeys, to demonstrate workforce readiness and employability. The State Board will approve a list of acceptable credentials.
The cumulative passing score on the end-of-course exams and the passing score on the employability assessment will be determined by the State Board. The remediation-free score on the college admission exam will be determined by the Board of Regents.
“These new requirements will make it more difficult for students to earn a diploma,” said Xenia Community Schools Superintendent Pro Tem Denny Morrison. “However, they will ensure that our students are prepared for the next step after high school. These requirements go hand-in-hand with our district’s desire to cultivate high academic expectations among all of our students through project-based learning, student self-assessment, differentiated instruction, and real world use in every classroom.”
The minimum units in the subjects remain unchanged: Four units of English language arts; four units of math; three units of science; three units of social studies; one-half unit of health; one-half unit of physical education and five units of electives.
Students are also required to receive instruction in economics and financial literacy while in high school and must complete at least two semesters of fine arts classes at some point while in grades 7-12.
XCS will work hard to try and make sure no student is left behind.
“Our district will continue to offer intervention services wherever necessary,” Morrison said. “Our goal is to have a 100 percent graduation rate and we will not rest until we attain that goal.” The latest data available, which is a year behind according to Morrison, is 79 percent. This year’s 10th grade class had an 86 percent pass rate in the reading section of the OGT and a 79 percent pass rate in math.
No matter which pathway a student elects in order to receive a diploma, all students will take the end-of-course exams.