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    Ohio Grants Additional Flexibility to Schools for Year-End Testing and Graduation Requirements

On March 20, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 67 into law, which went into effect immediately upon signing. The bill grants Ohio schools much-needed flexibility for both graduation requirements and required testing for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are the bill’s most significant features for Kindergarten through 12 schools:

  • Ohio schools are now exempt from administering the state’s required American history end-of-course exam in the 2020-2021 school year;
  • For the 2020-2021 school year, in relevant courses, Ohio’s 11th and 12th grade students may use their final course grades in lieu of a score on an end-of-course exam to meet their graduation requirements);
  • School districts are authorized to grant a high school diploma to any student on track to graduate this year whom the school principal and other school staff determines has successfully completed the required curriculum;
  • The spring achievement testing windows for the school year have been extended; and
  • Students have an additional graduation pathway available to them if they successfully complete their school’s curriculum requirements and earn the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal.

While HB 67 adds new paths to graduation for the class of 2021, it adds additional complexity to the already numerous graduation paths for the graduating class of 2021. The OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal pathway in HB 67 creates another way for high school seniors to earn their diplomas. This is in addition to the existing paths for graduation available to this class, which include both the pathways already in place and the new graduation requirements that will apply to the classes of 2023 and beyond.

Prior to HB 67, students graduating in 2021 could use the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal as one component to demonstrate their competency and readiness for graduation. For only the current school year, because of HB 67, students are eligible for graduation by only completing the required curriculum and earning the OhioMeansJobs-Readines Seal. This new graduation pathway provides a streamlined and simplified path to graduation for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have questions about this bill or about any issues related to education law and policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Alex EwingChristopher Thomas, or any member of Frost Brown Todd’s Government Services practice group.