Ohio lawmakers OK graduation, testing changes

School testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio high school students beginning with the class of 2018 would see new graduation requirements and receive free college-admission testing under a legislative compromise that cleared the state Legislature on Wednesday.

Both the Senate and House approved the changes, which Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign.

The new rules would begin with this fall’s ninth graders, reducing the number of electives required from five to three. The bill also establishes that seven end-of-course exams in English, math, science, U.S. history and government will replace the Ohio Graduation Test.

Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton said the bill sets the timetable and procedures for replacing the graduation test. The state had previously announced its decision to replace the test, but hadn’t decided what would replace it and when.

“It adds certainty. That’s really the important thing,” Charlton said of the bill.

Students taking accelerated options, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or post-secondary courses, would be exempt from the end-of-course exams in those subjects. A remediation-free score on a nationally-recognized college admission test or an industry-recognized credential coupled with passage of a workforce readiness or job-skills assessment also could substitute for end-of-course testing.

Under the bill, all students would take a college admission test such as the ACT or SAT in 11th grade free of charge.

Basic courses required for graduation would remain largely unchanged: four units each of English and math; three units each of science and social studies; half a unit each of health and physical education; and additional coursework in financial literacy and fine arts.

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