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Columbus area school districts see spikes in potential graduation rates with law adjusting requirements

Lisa Rantala, WSYX |

During a year of education struggle, some school districts are on track for spiking graduation rates due to a new law passed last month. Several suburban districts in central Ohio are starting to see graduation rates of nearly 100%.

“If we have students not able to graduate this year in large percentages, that’s cause for concern in the whole world of education,” Kevin Miller with the Buckeye Association of School Administrators told ABC6/FOX28. “It might be working throughout the summer of 2021 for credit recovery to make sure those students successfully cross the finish line.”

In January of this year and during another peak of the pandemic, Columbus City Schools showed just 38% of its 2,900 seniors were “on track” to graduate. Due to cases like this, Miller said lawmakers created House Bill 67 which switched up graduation requirements for this year. It made it so standardized testing would not determine who received a diploma but end-of-grades would. Those are given by the student’s teachers and principals.

ABC6/FOX28 also requested “on track” data from area suburban districts and discovered an eligibility shift for graduating students since HB67 has been passed.

– In Dublin City Schools, 98% of its seniors are currently on track to graduate. Prior to this year, DCS has averaged about a 96% graduation rate over the last three years recorded by the state.

– In South-Western City Schools, the “on track” rate is currently 94% and climbing. The Ohio Department of Education shows SWCSD has averaged an 87% rate over the last three recorded years.

– Westerville City Schools now has 94% of its seniors eligible for graduation after an average grad rate of 90%.

ABC6/FOX28 asked Miller, “When you don’t see numbers like this in years past, do you think some students will receive their diploma when maybe they should not have this year?” Miller answered, “If they run the risk of watering (graduation) down, it really undermines who we are as educators. I don’t know of any educators who would be willing to do that.”

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