Starting as early as next year, a new battery of state tests will replace the Ohio Graduation Tests that Ohio high-school students must pass to complete high school.
The new tests are part of Ohio’s adoption of the Common Core, a national set of standards about what students should know and be able to do. They’re also part of a national push to ensure high school graduates are better prepared for college and jobs.
Currently, students must pass the OGTs in reading, writing, math, science and social studies in order to graduate from high school. Students usually take the OGTs as sophomores.
By 2014-15, the OGTs will go away. They will be replaced by two separate series of tests:
- A nationally administered test such as the PSAT or the ACT Plan. (Former state schools chief Stan Heffner said last year it would likely be the ACT Plan.) Both tests measure whether high school students are on-track to be prepared for college-level courses.
- Ten individual “end of course” exams in English, math, social studies and science. Students will be able to take those exams either when they finish a course or at the end of the school year, Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton said.
The new tests will definitely be in place by 2014-15, That means that current eighth graders will be the first to take the new college readiness and end-of-course exams instead of the OGTs, Charlton said. The state is still deciding what tests current ninth graders will take, he said.
There’s also a possibility the new tests could start in 2013-14 if the state funds the earlier start date.
Students in grades 3-8 will continue to take state tests in the same subjects they do now, but the test themselves will change starting in 2014-15. The new tests will be taken on computers or other digital devices and will likely be more difficult to pass than the current state tests.
But big questions about all of these new tests remain.
Which tests will students need to pass in order to graduate from high school? How high will students need to score in order to “pass”? How will these tests factor into new school report cards?
Those details are still to be determined, Charlton says.