October 24, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
36°F
test

State test dashes some seniors’ hopes

A Vermilion High School senior needed to get just one more question correct on the science portion of the Ohio Graduation Test to collect her diploma.
Superintendent Bruce Keller said all of the instructors at the school felt terrible for the girl.
“She tried so hard, but she did not quite get her nose above the bar,” Keller said.
After 10 hours of remedial instruction, the student will get another crack at passing the science portion of the five-pronged test that evaluates skills in reading, writing, math, science and social studies.
Elyria had 12 students — including three who attend classes at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School — who failed to pass one or two portions of the test, Superintendent Paul Rigda said.
Elyria will provide 10 to 20 hours of remedial instruction at no charge before the 12 students take the test again in July, he said.
“A dozen is not terrible, but I feel very badly for those students and their families,” Rigda said.
About 75 percent of Elyria students passed the test in 10th grade and never had to worry about it again, while other students passed it as juniors or seniors, Rigda said.
Lorain had 49 seniors — or 11 percent  — who didn’t graduate because of the test. This is the first year in Ohio that passage of the test or compliance with the state’s Alternative Pathway to Graduation is required.
Students around Lorain County narrowly failed a portion of the test but still were permitted to graduate because they met the alternative criteria, which requires a 97 percent attendance rate, a grade-point average of at least 2.5 out of 4.0 and a letter of recommendation from teachers in the subject area such as math or science.
The 49 students held back in Lorain pales in comparison to Cleveland, where some 1,300 students — about a third of the senior class — couldn’t graduate because they failed part or all of the test.
Lorain Schools spokesman Dean Schnurr said there has been some improvement in the past year. In 2006, 67 students — or 14.8 percent of the seniors — failed to graduate, and that was before passage of the test became a requirement.
“We actually showed improvements, and we’re very proud,” said Schnurr, who attributed some of the improvement to the Ohio Graduation Test “boot camp” run by the district.
Around Lorain County, only one school district — North Ridgeville — had none of its students not graduate solely based on their test results. One student flunked the test, but lacked a credit to graduate.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245  or cleise@chroniclet.com.