HB 491 ~ Provisions to Allow Alternative Graduation Pathways
Following a recent vote of the full Senate, including an amendment that would allow alternative graduation pathways for the classes of 2019 and 2020, the House held a long floor session but before adjourning, the Amended HB 491 was given a “thumbs up” with just one dissenting vote. This means the only step left for the bill is the governor’s signature. Once he signs the bill, it will become effective in 90 days (likely sometime in March).
Even though the bill won’t take effect right away, its provisions will apply to the class of 2019, and those students can use the graduation alternatives set forth for this school year (the bill makes changes to the alternatives for the class of 2020). Am. HB 491 contains a number of other education related provisions. The following is a list of graduation-related topics addressed in the bill.
Alternative graduation requirements
The bill extends the two alternative graduation pathways for public and chartered nonpublic high schools established by H.B. 49 of the 132nd General Assembly (the main operating budget act for the 2017-2019 biennium) for an additional two years. Under current law, students in the class of 2018 may choose certain graduation pathways as alternatives to those afforded under continuing law (see "Background – graduation requirements" below). The bill extends the alternatives to the classes of 2019 and 2020. Additionally, the bill modifies one of the alternative pathways for the class of 2020.
Main alternative pathway
The first pathway qualifies a student for graduation if the student:
(1) takes all of the end-of-course exams required for the student or takes an alternate assessment for chartered nonpublic school students,
(2) retakes, at least once, any end-of-course exam in English language arts or math for which a student received an equivalent score of lower than "3,"
(3) completes the district's or school's required units of instruction (HCSD requires 21 credits), and
(4) meets at least two of the following other conditions:
(a) Has an attendance rate of at least 93% during the twelfth grade (for classes of 2018 and 2019 only);
(b) Takes at least four full-year or equivalent courses during the twelfth grade and has a grade point average of at least 2.5 for those courses;
(c) Completes a capstone project during the twelfth grade;
(d) Completes, during the twelfth grade, 120 hours of work in a community service role or in a position of employment, including internships work study, co-ops, and apprenticeships;
(e) Earns three or more transcripted credit hours under the College Credit Plus program at any time during high school;
(f) Passes an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) course, and receives a score of 3 or higher on the corresponding AP exam or a score of 4 or higher on the corresponding IB exam, at any time during high school;
(g) Earns at least a level 3 score on each of the "reading for information," "applied mathematics," and "locating information" components of WorkKeys assessment;
(h) Obtains an industry-recognized credential or a group of credentials equal to at least three total points; or
(i) Satisfies the conditions required to receive an OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal.
Changes to the main alternative pathway for the class of 2020
The bill modifies the conditions for the class of 2020 under the main alternative pathway, including:
(a) A student in the class of 2020 may not use the attendance in twelfth grade as a condition to graduate (as noted above).
(b) A student in the class 2020 must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 of courses taken during eleventh and twelfth grades (instead just the twelfth grade).
(c) A capstone project completed by a student in the class of 2020 must comply with guidance issued by the Department of Education. The bill specifies that the guidance must be issued by May 31, 2019, and must describe the components of a successful capstone project and the process for evaluating each component, and ensure that each project is designed as a culmination of the student's high school experience.
(d) The student's completion of 120 hours of work in a community service role or a position of employment must comply with guidance developed by the Department in consultation with the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation. That guidance must be issued by May 31, 2019. It must describe the requirements for school district or school approval and verification of the work and must indicate that it is preferable that students complete the work with a business or nonprofit organization registered in Ohio.
Career-technical alternative pathway
The second pathway applies equally to the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020. It qualifies a student for graduation if the student (1) takes all of the end-of-course exams required for the student or takes an alternate assessment for chartered nonpublic school students, (2) completes the district's or school's required units of instruction, (3) completes a career-technical training program approved by the Department that includes at least four career-technical courses, and (4) completes one of the following other conditions:
(a) Attains a cumulative score of at least proficient on career-technical education exams, or test modules, that are required for a career-technical education program;
(b) Obtains an industry-recognized credential, or a group of credentials equal to at least 12 points; or
(c) Demonstrates successful workplace participation, as evidenced by documented completion of 250 hours of workplace experience and by regular, written, positive evaluations from the workplace employer or supervisor and representative of the district or school. (This condition must be based on a written agreement signed by the student, a representative of the district or school, and an employer or supervisor.)