ODE Begins Rolling Out Graduation Guidance

Our team at EnvisionEdPlus and our partners have had a lot of fun this summer working with schools to find solutions for students in the Class of 2020 who are not yet on track for on-time graduation. Our Operation Graduation Design Labs have brought together about 350 participants so far from all corners of Ohio and many different school settings, creating some dynamic conversations about how to leverage the one-time flexibility of Ohio’s graduation requirements for 2020 in alignment with early plans to implement the new requirements for this year’s 9th graders – not to mention how to attend to the Classes of 2021 and 2022 in between.

Our recent blog, New Graduation Requirements Approved with Funding Opportunities To Support Alignment offered a comprehensive overview of the new requirements and new funding opportunities that could help school and district leaders transition to the new requirements. The Ohio Department of Education has begun to provide guidance and clarification about the requirements and their impact on everything from state report cards to teacher evaluations. In some cases, we have answers to questions that Design Lab participants have been asking, while in others, we are at least pointed in the right direction.

Whether you have been following along closely or are just starting to wrap your arms around the changes, we hope you’ll find useful this summary of the new information available and answers to some of the most common questions we’ve heard.

Guidance and Resources

ODE has updated its Graduation Requirement webpages and released several preliminary guidance documents that are very helpful in understanding the new expectations and options available for students in the graduating classes of 2018 – 2022 as well as the full implementation of these requirements for the Class of 2023.  

Current guidance and resources to review include:

We also recommend regularly checking the Graduation Requirement webpage, because this is where you will find the most updated information. Also, if you are not already registered, consider signing up for ODE’s EdConnections because ODE plans to continue announcing updates within this weekly newsletter. 

Technical Guidance. ODE staff say their top priority is to release technical guidance on the impact of the new requirements on state assessments (including elimination of ELA I and geometry end-of-course assessments) and accountability (teacher evaluation and local report card). The goal is to release this guidance by the end of September. But some guidance, such as elimination of geometry EOC, requires federal approval.  

Common Q&A
How do we address SLO implications? Reach out to the OTES staff at ODE.  They are working on guidance for this and will have the best answers to these questions. 
Should we administer Geometry EOC to incoming Freshmen this winter? YES. Although the legislation indicates that the Geometry EOC will be eliminated, federal approval is needed. Until you receive official notice from ODE, plan to administer the Geometry EOC as usual.
Will students be required to take U.S. Government, American History and Biology EOCs even though they are not required for graduation? Districts are required to administer them.  District testing policy should address student participation expectations.  (Questions about things like the 95% participation rate requirement should be addressed within upcoming guidance.)

At Risk Identification Policy Guidance.  ODE anticipates preliminary guidance will be released near the end of October. Districts must have their policy in place no later than June 30, 2020.

Who has to have a graduation plan? When do they need graduation plans?  Ohio law now requires each 9th grader to have a graduation plan.  Districts must implement this during the 2020-2021 school year for incoming 9th graders (Class of 2024). Districts can choose to create them earlier than 9th grade, but graduation plans must be in place for 9th graders and then updated annually for all students. 
How do districts determine “at risk”?  ODE guidance will provide some clarification, but, this is a district decision. Districts must provide intervention for students identified as ‘at risk’ in alignment with the new policy that must be developed by June 30, 2020. 

Upcoming Algebra I and ELA II Competency Guidance.The Department is working on convening a stakeholder team to identify the definition of “competence” for these state assessments and to establish cut scores. The legislation required ODE to provide this information by March 1, but ODE hopes to have guidance to schools in late fall or early winter.  

State Diploma Seal Guidance.  Preliminary guidance will be released in late fall or early winter. Specific guidance for the state technology seal, military seal and industry credential seal is expected in late spring. 

How many Industry Credential points will be needed to meet career readiness competency or the Industry Credential Seal? This will be announced when guidance is released, but we anticipate it will be 12 points. 

Michele Timmons, President

michele@envisionedplus.com 614.893.7341

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