Eye on Education



So You Want to Graduate from High School




In order to graduate from high school in Ohio, students must meet testing and curriculum requirements.

For students in graduating classes through 2013, this includes earning:

  • Four credits in English language arts (One unit is generally equivalent to one school year),
  • Half a credit in health,
  • Three credits in math,
  • Half a credit in physical education,
  • Three credits in science, including one of biological sciences and one of physical sciences,
  • Three credits in social studies, including half a year of American history and half a year of American government, and
  • Six credits in electives, including either one unit or two half units in business, technology, fine arts or a foreign language.

For students in the graduating classes of 2014 and later years, the requirements are a little tougher. Students in these classes must earn four units in math including one credit in Algebra I and must earn one credit in advanced study in a specific science, in addition to one unit each in biological sciences and physical sciences. However, they need only earn five credits in electives. In addition, all students except those following a career-technical path must complete at least two semesters of fine arts at any time in grades 7-12.

In addition to passing the required classes, students are also expected to pass the five Ohio Graduation Tests (OGT) in reading, math, writing, science, and social studies. However, students may be exempted that they pass the graduation tests under certain circumstances. Students take the graduation tests for the first time in the spring of their sophomore years and can continue to retake the tests until they pass all required parts.

Ohio’s class of 2009 included 122,203 students, according to the state Department of Education.  Ohio currently defines its graduation rate as the number of students who graduated in a given school year divided by the number of twelfth graders at the start of that school year. Starting in August 2011, the state will start reporting graduation rates using a new method. And starting in August 2012, the graduation rate calculated using this new method will “count” towards schools’ and districts’ academic ratings. This new method divides the number of students who graduated in a given school year by the number of students who started ninth grade four years earlier. It will provide a more accurate picture of the percentage of students graduating from high school within four years of enrolling and takes into account students who transfer among schools and districts, move to a different state or country, and others.

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