Ohio high schools move forward with alternative pathways extension

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Ohio high school seniors will once again have more options toward getting their diploma.

Earlier this month, The Ohio legislature passed House Bill 491, extending the alternative pathways program for high school graduation requirements for this year and the class of 2020.

It allows students to take other paths toward graduation other than passing state and college preparation tests. Some of those options include doing a senior capstone project or completing community service hours.

School officials say it's beneficial to the kids to have other options.

"In order to be successful, it takes more than just knowing a test," Marietta High School principal Chad Rinard said. "You got to have those soft skills, got to be able to communicate. You got to become a good leader and have to be to work on time."

"I think it shows that we are caring about every kid, that we aren't just emphasizing college as the only option," said Adam Eichhorn, a business education instructor and adviser to seniors. "And so we are reaching out to every student, addressing every kids needs whether it's going onto four year, a trade school or just developing those skills that they can find a career to be successful with."

Below you will find the current graduation options from the Ohio Department of Education's website, including the alternative pathways.

-- You must complete and earn a state minimum of 20 credits in specific subjects. Additionally, you also must receive instruction in economics and financial literacy and complete at least two semesters of fine arts. Your district may have more graduation requirements. Your school counselor has this information.

You must demonstrate what you have learned through one of these three options.

1. Ohio’s State Tests - Earn 18 out of 35 points on seven end-of-course state tests. You can earn up to five points on each test. You need a minimum of four points in math, four points in English language arts and six points across science and social studies.

2. Industry-recognized credential and score on workforce readiness test Earn an industry-recognized credential or a group of credentials totaling 12 points and earn the required score on the WorkKeys test. Ohio pays for you to take the test one time. Some districts offer the Senior Only program through which you can earn credentials in one school year.

3. College and career readiness tests - Earn remediation-free scores* in math and English language arts on the ACT or SAT. Your district chooses either the ACT or SAT. You will take a one-time statewide spring test in grade 11 for free.

If you do not meet any of the above three pathways, Ohio law provides you two additional options to earn a high school diploma.

diploma.

The Department expects that most students will meet one of the three existing pathways and districts should continue to work with students, as appropriate, to meet these requirements. However, the recent budget bill authorized two additional options only for students in the class of 2018 who entered grade 9 between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. These options provide an opportunity for those students who do not otherwise meet one of the three existing pathways to graduation to earn a diploma.

The two additional graduation options are:

OPTION 1 – AVAILABLE TO ALL STUDENTS IN THE CLASS OF 2018.

Students must take and pass courses that constitute the curriculum requirements and take all seven end-of-course exams. If the student receives a score of “1” or “2” on any math or English language arts test, the student must retake the test at least once.

Additionally, students must meet at least two of the below requirements:

- Attendance rate of 93 percent during the 12th grade year (this will be eliminated for the class of 2020);
- Earn a GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in all courses completed during 12th grade (must complete at least four full-year courses); for the class of 2020, the GPA of 2.5 requirement will be calculated cumulatively based on both 11th and 12th grade performance, rather than just 12th grade
- Complete a capstone project during 12th grade that the district or school defines;
- During 12th grade, complete a work or community service experience totaling 120 hours that the district or school defines;
- Earn three or more College Credit Plus credits at any time during high school;
- Earn credit for an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course and earn an AP exam score of 3 or higher or IB exam score of 4 or higher at any time during high school;
- Earn a WorkKeys exam score of 3 on each of three test sections;
- Earn a State Board-approved industry-recognized credential or credentials that equal at least three points;
- Meet OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal requirements.

OPTION 2 – AVAILABLE TO THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASS OF 2018 IN CAREER-TECHNICAL PROGRAMS.

Students must take and pass courses that constitute the curriculum requirements and take all seven end-of-course exams. Students must finish a career-technical program that includes at least four courses in a single career pathway and complete at least one of the options below:

- Earn a total score of proficient or better based on all career-technical exams or test modules;
- Earn an industry-recognized credential or credentials that equal 12 points;
- Complete a workplace experience totaling 250 hours with evidence of positive evaluations.