The Oregon Department of Education is advising the state to make significant changes to high school graduation requirements. This includes the removal of the decades-old requirement to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and other skills in addition to creditable coursework.

The department also abolished the requirement that students must pass Algebra I, that states provided one diploma instead of three options, and provided financial aid, resumes, and other documents to help prospective students. It also recommends adding a requirement that students pass a planning course that covers the skills of

These recommendations were included in Thursday’s report to be discussed Sept. 21 with the Senate Education Committee It follows a years-long review of state graduation standards mandated by Congress. It called for investigating whether state graduation standards unduly hold back some students and whether state graduation requirements are preparing students for life after high school.

The department determined that the requirements were hurting students of color and needed improvement.

State Senator Michael Denbrough, a Portland Democrat and chairman of the Senate Committee, said the report signaled the beginning of change.

“What we have before us is the end of the beginning,” Denbrough said. “This is the investigative work we have asked them to do, and the State Board of Education will take the lead in addressing these.”

Graduation rates rise, but gaps remain

Overall, Oregon’s graduation rate has risen in recent years for all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic levels.

The on-time graduation rate for all students in 2014 was about 72%, one of the lowest in the nation. increased by more than 10% by 2019.of Pandemic set back slightlyjust over 80%, but still one of the highest graduation rates held by the state.

Despite improvements, gaps remain among student groups. The 2021 graduation rate for low-income students is about 10 percent below the state average.

Although male students still have lower graduation rates than female students, and the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students has narrowed dramatically due to higher graduation rates for the latter group, native students and native Student graduation rates remain among the lowest. Students from Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Among the reasons for this, the report said the methods used to assess essential skills were tailored to white cultural values ​​and did not adequately measure the knowledge of individual students.

Abandon Skill Evaluation

When the state board of education approved the assessment of essential skills 10 years ago, it had practical motivations, he said. Dembrow of D-Portland who was on the board when it passed.

He said the idea is to show students that they can apply their knowledge to real-life situations.

Students were to demonstrate different skills. Comprehension of a variety of texts, ability to write clearly and accurately, mathematics skills, listening skills, critical and analytical thinking, use of technology, civic and community engagement, global literacy and personal responsibility, management and teams work. Schools can measure them through test or sample preparation, or any other method the school chooses.

Instead, skills were assessed primarily from state standardized tests, which Denbrough said were never supposed to be used to measure an individual student’s level. Balance smarter test, or SBAC, Measures the English, math and science proficiency of students across the district. Denbrough said it was intended to show which school districts were falling behind, rather than whether individual students had grasped the basic skills.denbrough said Ultimately gave the state bad data.

Due to the pandemic, states temporarily suspended skill requirements in 2020, prompting Congress to ask the Department of Education to review graduation requirements.

Other changes

Today, students who want to graduate from high school are required to complete 24 credits in English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Arts, Second Language, Vocational Education, Technical Education, and Health and Physical Education.

The Ministry of Education ended the requirement that students take Algebra I and instead recommended expanding the types of courses that count toward math credits.

Future planning course recommendations help students develop interview skills, write resumes, learn how to apply for federal financial aid to colleges, and complete applications for postsecondary education such as colleges and universities. help.

1 diploma

In addition to the standard diploma most students receive, students can obtain a modified or extended diploma as an alternative. Modified and extended diplomas are primarily for students with disabilities who have “demonstrated their inability to meet the full set of academic content standards for a high school diploma, even with reasonable modifications and accommodations.” was created in

In its review, the Department of Education found that school districts It disproportionately pushes students of color without learning disabilities into non-standard diplomas. again, Students with modified or extended diplomas enter colleges with a much lower admission rate than students with standard diplomas.

Departments want to kill extended and modified diplomas while offering students multiple ways to obtain a standard diploma.

Senator Sara Gelser Blouin, a member of the Senate Education Committee at D-Corvallis, proposed an expanded and modified diploma for Oregon that was approved by Congress in 2007.

“When we passed that bill, school districts created their own alternative credentials for students with learning disabilities, rather than awarding standard state-sanctioned, federally-recognized diplomas. she said.

In doing so, some schools denied students the coursework required for a standard diploma. Extended and modified diplomas are federally recognized, compelling schools to provide equal opportunity for students and to support the graduation plans of students with disabilities.

“This was transformative for students with disabilities,” she said. “We took children who only got her 12 credits in high school, up to her 24.” And the number of students with disabilities who graduate from high school and earn a diploma has also increased. did. Found Gelser Blouin When analyzing state data.

She said she opposes the recommendation to revert to one diploma. “Hold the school district accountable,” she said, if she unfairly pushed students of color into non-standard diplomas. “Don’t take a favorable tool to another disadvantaged group in the system.”

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