The Class of 2017

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I spent yesterday downtown at the Ohio Statewide Race to the Top conference hosted by the Ohio Department of Education.  As a Race to the Top school district it is important that we stay abreast of what the legislative and Department of Education priorities are.

My main goal yesterday was to gain clarification on several important items.  At the top of my priority list were the graduation requirements for this year’s 9th graders.  If you have a child in the class of 2017 it is not yet clear what will be required to graduate from high school.  We know that the courses required in Senate Bill 311 (Ohio Core) are still in effect. What we don’t know is exactly what assessments our freshman will need to pass in order to graduate.  Unfortunately, I learned that The State Education Department does not yet know either.

Several days ago State of Ohio Superintendent, Dr. Richard Ross wrote the following in guidance to school districts: “As the rules stand today, schools must begin giving students in grades 3-8 and in high school the Next Generation Assessments during the next school year (2014-2015). In addition to the Next Generation Assessments, next year’s 10th-graders (the Class of 2017) must also take the Ohio Graduation Tests. Students will need the graduation tests to meet legislative graduation requirements. Necessary changes in legislation and related timing issues have prevented the Ohio Department of Education from establishing how the Next Generation Assessments will affect future graduation requirements.

A Graduation Requirements Committee of the State Board of Education is working to develop the new graduation rules. However, legislation is needed to make the rules effective for the Class of 2018. Until we know if or how legislation will change, the department will not be able to tell schools which assessments will be used for graduation requirements for the Class of 2018 and beyond. Reaching a decision on this and providing guidance to schools are high priorities of the department. We will be working closely with the Ohio General Assembly to get closure on this issue.

In the meantime, here is what I can tell you: This year’s Ohio Graduation Tests will align to both the current standards and Ohio’s New Learning Standards. Next year, both the Ohio Graduation Tests and Next Generation Assessments will align to Ohio’s New Learning Standards.”photo 2

What I learned at the conference today is that there will indeed be Ohio Graduation Tests next year.  They will be given during the same testing window (this week), they will be paper and pencil tests (not computer based), and they will cover the new learning standards, not the old learning standards.  The Freshman will also take the PSAT in 10th grade.  What other end of course exams, or options such as earning industry certifications, that will be required (if any) are still to be determined.  We were told that a proposal is scheduled to be brought forward at the November State Board of Education Meeting. The State Board will hopefully take action and we can explain with clarity to students, parents, and school leaders exactly what students will need to do in order to graduate from high school in Ohio.  At the very least our kids deserve this, and really, it is disappointing that we have put kids in a position where they are 10 weeks into high school and we cannot tell them exactly what they will need to do to in order to graduate.

With what we learned today it looks like we are getting closer.  Stay tuned….

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3 Responses to The Class of 2017

  1. Stephanie Donaldson says:

    Trent, can you explain the reasoning behind the PSAT being administered to all 10th graders? Is the ODE going to be utilizing PSAT results as another performance measurement in Ohio school Districts? Also, currently, Worthington students pay a fee to take either the PSAT or the PLAN, would this change as well with the Class of 2017?

  2. tbowers3 says:

    Stephanie,

    The State is calling the PSAT a College and Career readiness assessment that will provide students feedback on their progress and help them schedule the courses they will need to meet their preferred track. It will be free to students. Here is the press release ODE put out:

    Ohio Selects PSAT for New College-Career Readiness Assessment

    Release date: 8/7/2013

    COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio high school sophomores will take the PSAT assessment beginning in October 2014 so that students will know if they are on course to graduate ready for college or a career.

    The PSAT, which is administered nationally by The College Board, will be provided free to students and local schools under the provisions of a state law requiring that Ohio establish a college and career assessment program.

    The assessment will not be used for college admissions, placement or course grades, but rather to help guide high school course selection and preparation.

    “Too many students move through high school and graduate without ever knowing if they are really prepared for what comes next,” said State Superintendent Dr. Richard A. Ross. “By taking the PSAT, sophomores will get feedback on their strengths and weaknesses while there is still time to make changes if needed.”

    About 40 percent of Ohio high school graduates who attend an Ohio public college need to take one or more non-credit remedial classes because they were not prepared for college-level work.

    “Taking remedial courses in college means spending money on classes without getting college credit,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey. “Providing the PSAT to Ohio’s sophomores will hopefully decrease the number of students who need those remedial classes, and increase the number of students who are ready for the next level when they graduate.”

    As required by law, the PSAT was selected via a competitive procurement managed by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. The Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents worked together to develop specifications for the $1.6 million contract.

    The PSAT is taken by more than 3.5 million students nationwide annually. It includes reading, math and writing skills sections. The results can be used by students to focus their preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.

  3. Stephanie Donaldson says:

    WOW! What a windfall for the College Board! $1.6 million from the ODE for ANOTHER assessment that, “will not be used for college admissions, placement, or course grades.”

    Every year in public education, we push acceleration down, now we have AP courses offered at the 10th grade level, Algebra II in 8th grade, PSAT and PLAN exams for 10th graders and yet 40% of Ohio grads require one or more remedial classes in college?!? Supposedly, we have classrooms full of 10th graders in this District that can master a college level course like AP U.S. History…at 15?!? Why bother with college then? Soon, it is bound to happen, our students will be taking AP classes in 9th grade and taking the PSAT as freshmen (some already do) and we will be asking why bother with high school?

    Does anyone; administrator, teacher, parent or student believe that knowing a PSAT score at 15 years of age will result in a student being able, “to focus their preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice?!? What sophomore juggling Honors FST, or Honors English II, or AP U.S., etc. has time to focus on anything other than the curriculum at hand?!?

    The College Board must be thrilled; now students attending high school from very early on have to be aware that it is all about test once again. Do you know what a good administrator, teacher, or parent advises a student at 15 years of age about their possible lower PSAT score? They tell students not to worry about it, that there are subjects on the PSAT that they haven’t even been exposed to yet because, and here’s a thought, they are too young to be taking a test in OCTOBER of their sophomore year about subjects they have yet to be exposed to or master as a sophomore, junior or senior!

    Hear this ODE – I do not want my administrators, teachers, or students being evaluated on a PSAT score. STOP with the excessive and expensive assessments and let the administrators lead, the teachers teach and the students learn! Throw the mandatory PSAT assessment out and take the $1.6 million back from the College Board!

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