The Ohio Graduation Test is a good idea — in theory. The class of 2007 was the first required to pass it in order to graduate.
It was designed to ensure that students across the state are actually learning and retaining information, rather than simply being passed from grade to grade because of lazy teachers or school districts looking to pad their graduation rates.
But for a test designed to hold schools accountable, it really punishes students on what is supposed to be one of the best moments and memories of their young lives — graduation. Yes, students must be responsible for their futures and academic careers. But schools already hold a hammer in that regard — they can fail any student who does not pass or put forth the expected effort in class.
In addition, one all-encompassing exam cannot account for the student who truly struggles to maintain a C-average and is not a good test taker.
Students who do not pass the OGT do have options for “alternative pathways to graduation,” but they are extremely strict and again fail to account for a student who really struggles — even though that student can go on to be a productive member of society using other skills.
State education officials will undoubtedly examine the results of the first year of testing and make tweaks to the system as needed. One of the first things they should look at is making the “alternative pathways” more obtainable for the C-student and making sure school districts, not students, pay the price for poor showings.