Ohio Issues New Graduation Requirements

Changes offer more paths to graduation

The State of Ohio Department of Education issued new graduation requirements for high school students beginning with the class of 2023. 

Students need to take End Of Course exams, called EOCs. Under the previous requirements, the tests were graded on a one-five point scale, and students were required to achieve 18 total points between the seven EOC tests.

However, the Department of Education has eliminated EOC point requirements for graduation. Students will still take EOCs, but they no longer need to get 18 points to graduate.

The state has not removed the requirements of completing EOCs entirely. EOCs are now graded on a three digit point scale, ranging from the low 600s to the low 800s. Students are required to score a minimum 684 on the Algebra 1 and English Language 2 EOCs to graduate. If students do not pass tests, they are required to retake them once, and can repeat them as many times as necessary. However, they can also earn this credit by completing college courses through the College Credit Plus program or enlisting in the military.

As well, the state has introduced “seals.” Students can earn a variety of seals over different areas of education. Students must earn two seals, out of a choice of 12 state and local seals. The requirements for state seals are designated by the state, while the specific requirements for local seals are chosen by the school. Of the two seals necessary, students must get at least one state seal.

Some of the seals can be earned through the EOC tests. For example, students can get the science seal by scoring 700 or higher on the biology EOC, or get the citizenship seal by scoring 700 or higher on the history and government EOCs. 

In addition, seals give students more options for graduation than just EOCs. For example, the citizenship seal can also be achieved by getting a B or higher in the U.S. History and Government classes. 

David Peterjohn, Guidance Counselor Department Chair, said that seals will give students more flexibility. “It’s not all focused on tests,” Peterjohn said. “The students can kind of choose which seals they want to go for.”

Other examples of seals include the state technology seal which can be earned by completing a robotics or engineering class, and the local fine arts seal, which can be earned with getting four art credits.

“I think they want students to focus on areas that they’re interested in, so that you can be ready and prepared and pursue those when you graduate from high school,” Peterjohn said. “That’s the theory in principle.”

Shaker will require the current Class of 2025 freshmen and beyond to need only one half  credit of physical education, as opposed to the one credit that was required previously, according to Peterjohn. They are also required to take a semester of PE and a semester of health class in their freshman year.

In addition, Shaker wants students to take the high school’s health class as opposed to online programs, according to Peterjohn. “More and more kids have been doing health online, and we want kids to take our health class here. The in-person learning, the topics they cover in our health class are just really good, especially around mental health and things like that,” he said.

As well, students are no longer able to get an independent study PE credit in freshman year, which means at least one of their physical education credits will come from a PE class, according to Peterjohn.

Students have been able to waive half of a PE credit with two years of marching band. However due to the reduction in the PE requirements, these band waivers will no longer be available for the Class of 2025 and beyond. 

The State of Ohio will also require students in the class of 2026 and beyond to complete a one-semester financial literacy class. This will teach students how to make good decisions to plan for a strong financial future.

On their goals for the changes, the Ohio Department of Education stated, “Whether a graduate chooses to enter the workforce, pursue a postsecondary education, enlist in the military or engage in a meaningful self-sustaining vocation, Ohio’s high school graduates will be challenged, prepared and empowered for their lives after high school.”

For more information: State graduation requirements handout

Information on all seals: Ohio graduation requirements

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