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New State Testing Requirements Prompt DPS To Explore Alternative Graduation Pathways

Dayton Public Schools
Liam Niemeyer

A recent report from the Ohio Department of Education has revealed that around a quarter of Ohio’s high school seniors are not on track to meet the state’s new testing requirements for graduation. In urban school districts, the number is even higher. Many districts are turning to alternative pathways to graduation.

Last year, after the Ohio Department of Education raised testing requirements for the class of 2018, school officials across the state said they were expecting to see massive drops in graduation rates as a result.

This spring, ODE reacted by providing alternative pathways to graduation for students unable to meet the higher testing requirements. These options include meeting higher attendance or GPA requirements, doing 120 hours of community service, and completing a capstone research project.

Dayton Public Schools is taking advantage of those alternatives. More than 42 percent of DPS seniors are currently on track to meet the state's new testing requirements.

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, DPS associate superintendent of academics, says to help students graduate, the district is requiring all seniors to complete a long-term research project as a kind of insurance policy to ensure students who don’t meet the testing requirements have a backup plan.

"This is a serious thing of being allowed to graduate, earning the right to graduate. And we’ve got to support our students in achieving that." she says. "So, the expectation is that all of our students are going to pass this, and we’ve going to help them pass it - not by lowering the standards, but by support, mentoring and teaching.”

Critics have said many of these alternative graduation options are not rigorous enough.

The alternative pathways are only valid for the class of 2018.