Legislative Service Commission
126th General Assembly
Sens. Gardner, Padgett, Harris, Clancy, Mumper
To earn a high school diploma, students of school districts and nonpublic schools must complete their high school's curriculum, which must at least satisfy the minimum high school curriculum prescribed in state law, except that disabled students instead must complete their individualized education plans (or IEPs). In addition, students of school districts, community schools, and chartered nonpublic schools must pass the state high school proficiency or achievement tests.
The bill prescribes a new minimum high school curriculum, called the "Ohio Core," first applying to the Class of 2011. Thus, students entering the ninth grade in the 2007-2008 school year in any public or private school will be subject to the new minimum curriculum. (See COMMENT 1.) As with the current state minimum high school curriculum, the new Ohio Core continues to consist of 20 units of study, but the distribution of those units among subject areas is changed from current law. The following table compares the bill's Ohio Core curriculum with the current minimum state high school curriculum:
STATE MINIMUM HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM
As the table illustrates, the new curriculum requires four, rather than just three, units of math. It also requires that one math unit consist of "algebra II" or its equivalent.
While the bill continues to require three units of science, it adds that those units must include "laboratory experience." In addition, the three units must consist of one each of physical science and biology (as under current law) and one unit of either chemistry, physics, or advanced biology. The bill does not prescribe how much laboratory time must be completed. Thus, it may not be clear whether an Ohio Core science unit must consist of 120 hours of instruction, which is normally required for one unit, or 150 hours, which current law (retained by the bill) requires for laboratory courses.
The bill adds a new requirement for two units of study in foreign language. It does not, however, specify any particular language that must be studied or how much time must be spent on any one language. Finally, to keep the total curriculum at 20 units, it reduces a student's electives to three units, of which one unit or two half-units must be chosen from either or both business/technology or fine arts.
The bill retains the current authority of school districts and private schools to require additional units of instruction for graduation, as long as their curricula include the 20 Ohio Core units.
The bill makes several purpose and intent statements regarding its new Ohio Core curriculum requirements.
Purpose of the Ohio Core. The bill first states that Ohioans must be prepared to apply increased knowledge and skills in the workplace and to adapt their knowledge and skills quickly to meet the rapidly changing conditions of the 21st century, and that national studies indicate that all high school graduates need the same academic foundation, regardless of the opportunities they pursue after graduation. Therefore, the bill states that completion of the Ohio Core curriculum:
(1) Is intended to fully prepare high school graduates to succeed in their post-secondary opportunities, whether those opportunities involve an entry-level job, an apprenticeship, military service, or college;
(2) Is the standard expectation for all students graduating from high school after September 14, 2010 (see COMMENT 1);
(3) May be satisfied through a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, integrated, applied, and traditional coursework, as long as the student successfully completes the required units of study.
Intention to appropriate funds. The bill also states the finding that since "teacher quality is essential for student success in completing the Ohio Core curriculum," the General Assembly intends to appropriate funds for strategic initiatives designed to strengthen schools' capacities to hire and retain highly qualified teachers in the subject areas required by the curriculum.
Coordination. The bill further states that stronger coordination between high schools and institutions of higher education is necessary to prepare students for more challenging academic endeavors and to lessen the need for academic remediation in college. Thus, the bill states that "the General Assembly strongly encourages the State Board of Education, the Ohio Board of Regents, the Partnership for Continued Learning, school districts, community schools, nonpublic schools, and institutions of higher education to collaborate to ensure that only in rare instances will students who complete the Ohio Core curriculum require academic remediation after high school."
The bill provides for an alternative to completing the Ohio Core curriculum for high school graduation. Under the bill, a student who is subject to the Ohio Core and does not complete that curriculum may graduate from high school only if the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The student and the student's parent must meet with the guidance counselor and principal of the student's school. Those individuals must discuss the student's career or post-secondary plan and the possible consequences of not completing the Ohio Core, including the inability to enroll in a state university without further coursework (see "Admission to a state university" below).
(2) The student and the student's parent must sign and file with the school district a written acknowledgement stating that (a) they have met with the guidance counselor and principal as required, (b) they are fully informed of the consequences of not completing the Ohio Core, (c) the parent consents to the student's not completing the Ohio Core, and (d) they have identified the remaining courses the student will seek to complete.
(3) The student must successfully complete, at a minimum, the alternative curriculum, which is the same minimum high school curriculum prescribed under current law.
The bill does not specify a deadline by which a student and parent must take these steps to opt out of the Ohio Core. Presumably, then, each school district, community school, and private school could elect whether to impose a deadline.
The bill applies the Ohio Core curriculum requirements to students of community schools, as well as students of school districts and private schools. Under current law, community schools are not subject to state curriculum standards, and their students may satisfy the curricular requirement for a diploma by completing the school's curriculum. Under the bill, therefore, each community school that serves high school students at a minimum must satisfy the Ohio Core curriculum beginning with the Class of 2011.
(R.C. 3313.61(B) and 3325.08(B))
Continuing law authorizes public high schools to issue an "honors diploma" to any student who has successfully completed the high school curriculum (or, if the student is a disabled student, the student's IEP), has met the proficiency or achievement testing requirements for graduation, and has met additional criteria established in rules adopted by the State Board of Education.
The bill authorizes the State Board to prescribe an honors diploma that recognizes technical expertise for a career-technical student.
The bill also prohibits the granting of an honors diploma to any student who is subject to the Ohio Core curriculum but instead elects to graduate under the alternative requirements described above.
(R.C. 3301.0713, 3301.42(M), and 3314.03(A)(11)(d))
Beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, the bill requires all eleventh graders enrolled in public and nonpublic high schools to take a college readiness assessment. The assessment must measure students' mastery of the academic content and skills in reading, writing, and math needed to do introductory level coursework at an institution of higher education and to avoid remedial coursework. Although the Ohio Board of Regents must designate a score on the assessment that indicates a student is prepared for college, there are no consequences under the bill for public and private school students who fail to attain that score.
(R.C. 3301.0713(A) and (E) and 3301.42(M))
The bill directs the Partnership for Continued Learning to work with the State Board of Education and the Board of Regents to evaluate the suitability of existing exams (such as, perhaps, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or ACT) for use as a college readiness assessment. By October 31, 2006, the Partnership must recommend an appropriate assessment to the State Board and the Board of Regents. Both boards jointly must adopt the recommended assessment within three months. The boards also must jointly adopt rules for the administration of the assessment.
(R.C. 3301.0713(B) and (C))
School districts, community schools, and nonpublic high schools must administer the college readiness assessment to their eleventh graders each year on a date selected by the State Board. The date chosen by the State Board must be prior to November 30 and must allow sufficient time for students' scores on the assessment to be returned to their schools before the end of the school year.
If a student who is home schooled wants to take the college readiness assessment to qualify for admission to a state university (see "Admission to a state university" below), the student's parent may request the school district in which the student is entitled to attend school to administer the assessment. School districts must give the assessment to any homeschooler who has completed the equivalent of the tenth grade and whose parent requests it. Districts may establish procedures and deadlines for requesting the assessment and must determine the time and place it will be administered. The results of a student's assessment must be provided to the student's parent. Although the bill prohibits districts from charging homeschoolers a fee for taking the college readiness assessment, the Department of Education must reimburse districts for the costs of administering the assessment to those students.
(R.C. 3302.032 and 3314.012)
Under the bill, by June 30, 2012, the State Board of Education must select one or more measures of the preparedness of high school graduates for higher education and the workforce for display on the school district and building report cards. Prior to selecting any measure, the State Board must consult with the Partnership for Continued Learning and the Ohio Board of Regents. Although the State Board may select any measures it considers appropriate, the bill states that those measures may include student performance on the college readiness assessment required by the bill (see above), the percentage of students who earn college credit while in high school, or the percentage of students who take remedial coursework in college. The Department of Education must begin including the measures on the report cards covering the 2012-2013 school year. The bill prohibits a district's or building's performance on the measures from affecting its report card rating.
(R.C. 3313.6013, 3314.03(A)(11)(d), and 3333.34)
The bill requires each school district, community school, and nonpublic high school to offer students in grades 9 to 12 the opportunity to participate in a dual enrollment program. As defined by the bill, a dual enrollment program enables a student either (1) to earn credit toward a degree from an institution of higher education while enrolled in high school or (2) to complete coursework while in high school that may qualify for college credit if the student attains a specified score on an examination covering the coursework. Dual enrollment programs include the existing Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO), Advanced Placement courses (see "College credit for AP courses" below), and similar programs established through agreements between individual districts or schools and post-secondary institutions.
Under continuing law, all school districts and community schools must participate in PSEO, which allows high school students to enroll in nonsectarian college courses on a full- or part-time basis and receive high school and college credit for those courses. Districts and community schools meet the requirement to offer a dual enrollment program through their mandatory participation in PSEO. Nevertheless, districts and community schools may offer additional dual enrollment programs to students "in good standing." The bill directs the Partnership for Continued Learning to develop a definition of "in good standing" for schools to use in determining who qualifies for dual enrollment programs other than PSEO.
Nonpublic high schools also are eligible for PSEO and may satisfy the bill's requirement by electing to participate in that program. Private high schools that do not participate in PSEO must offer at least one other dual enrollment program instead, but only to students in good standing, as defined by the Partnership for Continued Learning.
All school districts, community schools, and nonpublic high schools must provide students in grades 8 to 11 with information about the dual enrollment programs they offer. In addition, the Board of Regents, in collaboration with the State Board of Education, must publish an annual report describing those programs and make it available to all public and private school students in the affected grades.
Continuing law requires the Partnership for Continued Learning to make recommendations for increasing opportunities for students to participate in dual enrollment programs. The bill further requires those recommendations to include expanded opportunities for students to earn college credit on their high school campuses. Also, under the bill, the Partnership must recommend legislative changes that would improve the operation of PSEO and other dual enrollment programs. These legislative recommendations, which must be developed in consultation with the Board of Regents and the State Board of Education, are due by October 31, 2006.
The bill generally requires ten of Ohio's 13 state universities, beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year, to admit any Ohio-resident undergraduate student who entered ninth grade after July 1, 2007, only if that student has successfully completed the Ohio Core curriculum. This provision applies to the University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, University of Cincinnati, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Miami University, Ohio University, Ohio State University, University of Toledo, and Wright State University. It specifically does not apply to Central State University, Shawnee State University, and Youngstown State University. (See COMMENT 2.) The bill also authorizes any of the ten state universities to which the admission requirement applies to delay admission or to conditionally admit a student who has completed the Ohio Core curriculum, if the university determines that the student still requires academic remedial or developmental coursework. The university may delay admission, or make admission conditional upon, the student's completing this additional coursework at a university branch, community college, state community college, or technical college.
The bill also provides a number of exceptions to the general requirement. First, a student who has not completed the Ohio Core may be admitted if the student has earned at least ten semester hours (or its equivalent) at a community college, state community college, university branch, technical college, or another post-secondary institution (except any of the ten state universities to which the general prohibition applies) in courses bearing college credit that may be applied to the requirements for a degree. (See COMMENT 4.) State universities must grant credit for those courses in the manner prescribed in any applicable articulation and transfer policies of the Board of Regents or any agreements the universities have entered into with the institution where the student completed those courses. The bill also specifically states that credit toward satisfaction of this exception may be granted for college credit earned during high school through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) or other dual enrollment programs, if the courses may be applied to the requirements for a degree. (See "Dual enrollment programs" above.)
Second, the bill permits admission of a disabled student who has not completed the Ohio Core, if the student successfully completed the student's IEP.
Third, a student who has completed the equivalent of the twelfth grade through home schooling may be admitted without completing the Ohio Core, if the student has completed the eleventh grade college readiness assessment (see "Junior-year college readiness assessment" above) and demonstrated mastery of the academic content and skills in reading, writing, and mathematics needed for introductory college coursework without remedial coursework.
Fourth, a high school student may be admitted to a state university as a secondary student participating in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program or another dual enrollment program.
The bill does not authorize the ten state universities to waive the new admission requirement. However, it requires the Partnership for Continued Learning to make recommendations for legislative changes that would establish criteria for state universities to use in granting waivers to the general requirement that each resident undergraduate student complete the Ohio Core curriculum prior to admission. The Partnership must develop its recommendations in consultation with the Board of Regents and issue them by October 31, 2006.
Beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year, the bill limits the amount of state operating funds that the University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, University of Cincinnati, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Miami University, Ohio University, Ohio State University, University of Toledo, and Wright State University may receive for academic remedial or developmental courses for undergraduate students offered at their main campuses. Funding for those courses is limited as follows:
(1) In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years, to 3% of the total undergraduate credit hours provided by the university at its main campus;
(2) In the 2013-2014 academic year, to 15% of the first-year full-time-equivalent (FTE) students enrolled at the university's main campus;
(3) In the 2014-2015 academic year, to 10% of the first-year FTE students enrolled at the university's main campus; and
(4) In the 2015-2016 academic year, to 5% of the first-year FTE students enrolled at the university's main campus.
The bill states that it is the intent of the General Assembly that state universities make every effort over time to eliminate the academic remedial or developmental courses they offer on their main campuses. The bill, however, specifies that a state university may offer academic remedial or developmental courses at any of its branch campuses. (See COMMENT 3.)
After the 2015-2016 academic year, the bill prohibits state operating subsidies for academic remedial or development courses at the main campuses of the ten affected state universities.
The bill provides that, except for the funding limits prescribed for the ten specified state universities, remedial or developmental courses may be offered to students who commence undergraduate studies in 2011-2012 or later only by Central State University, Shawnee State University, Youngstown State University, university branches, community colleges, state community colleges, and technical colleges. (See COMMENT 3.)
Finally, the bill requires each state university to grant credit for academic remedial or developmental courses successfully completed at an approved institution in accordance with any applicable articulation and transfer agreements the university has entered into with that institution.
The bill requires the Board of Regents to withhold state operating subsidies for remedial and developmental courses at a state university's main campus in order to conform to the funding limits prescribed in the bill (see above). The Board also must adopt standards for academic remedial and developmental courses and to encourage and assist in the design and establishment of such courses.
In addition, the Board must encourage and assist in the development of articulation and transfer agreements between state universities and other institutions of higher education in accordance with the Board's policies and procedures.
The Advanced Placement Program (AP) offers students the opportunity to earn college credit while enrolled in high school through participation in high-level academic courses in various subject areas. Generally, to be eligible for college credit, a student must take an exam covering the course content. Each college or university establishes its own policy regarding how well students must score on AP exams to receive course credit at that institution.
To bring consistency to these policies at Ohio's public institutions of higher education, the bill directs the Articulation and Transfer Advisory Council of the Board of Regents to recommend standards for awarding course credit to students based on their scores on AP exams. The Council must recommend a score on each AP exam that it considers to be a passing score for which college credit is appropriate. Upon adoption of the recommended standards by the Board of Regents, all state universities, community colleges, state community colleges, university branches, and technical colleges must comply with the standards in awarding course credit for scores on AP exams.
Continuing law requires the State Board of Education to adopt standards for and to approve teacher preparation programs at public and private institutions of higher education. The bill further requires the State Board, in collaboration with the Ohio Board of Regents, to issue an annual report on the quality of those institutions. This report must be prepared in collaboration with the Teacher Quality Partnership, which is a research consortium of 50 Ohio colleges and universities that offer teacher preparation programs. Information contained in the report must include (1) identification of best practices in the preparation of teachers drawn from the Teacher Quality Partnership's research, (2) a plan for implementing best practices in approved teacher preparation programs, and (3) the number of graduates of approved teacher preparation programs who graduated with a subject area specialty and teach in grades 7 to 12, disaggregated by the subject areas of math, science, foreign language, special education, and any other subject areas determined by the State Board. All information in the report must be based on data collected by the Teacher Quality Partnership.
1. It is possible that a student who enters ninth grade in the fall of 2007 with the Class of 2011 might seek to graduate in 2010, at the end of eleventh grade. In that case, it is not clear whether the student must complete the Ohio Core minimum curriculum to graduate. The bill (in R.C. 3313.603(C)) applies its Ohio Core graduation requirement beginning September 15, 2010, which would appear to exempt a student graduating before that date. But an existing law (R.C. 3313.614(C)(1)), which the bill does not change, requires a student to "complete the curriculum required by the school district or school issuing the diploma for the first year that the person originally enrolled in high school." Because most students entering high school in 2007 will be subject to Ohio Core, the latter law might be construed as applying Ohio Core to all students who enter that year, regardless of when they wish to graduate. (In the opposite situation, it seems clear that students older than the Class of 2011 who do not earn their diplomas by 2010 because they are still taking state proficiency or achievement tests need not satisfy the Ohio Core minimum.)
2. Regardless of the uncertainty over curriculum requirements for students in the Class of 2011 who wish to graduate from high school early, any student who enters ninth grade after July 1, 2007, must complete the Ohio Core to be directly admitted to one of the ten affected state universities in the 2011-2012 academic year or later. This restriction would not apply, however, to a student of the Class of 2011 seeking admission to a state university in the 2010-2011 academic year, at the end of eleventh grade.
3. The bill's provisions regulating remedial courses at state universities might conflict. On one hand, R.C. 3345.061(B) limits state subsidies for remedial courses and asserts "the intent of the General Assembly that state universities make every effort over time to eliminate" remedial courses on their main campuses, which appears to leave the elimination process to each university's judgment. On the other hand, R.C. 3345.061(C) forbids remedial courses at the main campuses of ten universities for students who commence undergraduate studies in and after 2011-2012, "except as otherwise provided in this section." The policy effect of reading the two provisions together is unclear. It is conceivable that they might be construed as authorizing the ten affected universities to continue offering remedial courses at their main campuses beyond the subsidy limits, so long as the universities bear the cost. It also is conceivable that they might be construed as limiting the ten universities to offering only the amount of remedial courses for which state subsidy is available, which would be zero after the 2015-2016 academic year.
4. Although the bill permits state subsidies for remedial courses at the main campuses of the ten universities through 2015-2016, it specifically prohibits students who did not complete the Ohio Core curriculum from pursuing at those main campuses the ten semester hours of college credit to qualify for admission (R.C. 3345.06(B)(1)).
 R.C. 3313.61 and 3313.615. Beginning with the Class of 2007, the ninth grade proficiency tests are replaced by the tenth grade achievement tests, known as the Ohio Graduation Tests (R.C. 3301.0712, not in the bill).
 R.C. 3313.603(A)(1).
 The bill does not specify with whom a student enrolled in a community school or a private school must file the statement. Likely, that statement is to be filed with the school's chief administrator.
 The Partnership for Continued Learning is a 19-member body charged with making recommendations to facilitate collaboration among providers of preschool through post-secondary education and to maintain a high-quality workforce. Members are the Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, the Director of Development, the chairpersons and ranking minority members of the House and Senate education committees, and 11 representatives of education and workforce interests appointed by the Governor. (R.C. 3301.41, not in the bill, and 3301.42.)
 The Ohio State School for the Blind and the Ohio School for the Deaf also must give the assessment. Joint vocational school districts may administer the assessment to students instead of the students' home districts. (R.C. 3301.0713(B)(1) and (2).)
 The Department of Education assigns each school district and building a rating based on three components: (1) achievement on performance indicators established by the State Board, (2) a performance index score, which measures improved performance on the achievement tests by students scoring at all performance levels, and (3) the federal measure of adequate yearly progress (R.C. 3302.03(A) and (B), not in the bill, and 3314.012(B)).
 See R.C. Chapter 3365. PSEO consists of two "options," which the student chooses at the time of enrollment in a post-secondary course. Under Option A, the student is responsible for payment of all tuition and other costs charged by the institution of higher education. The student may opt to receive only college credit for successful completion of the course, or both college and high school credit. Under Option B, the student receives both college credit and high school credit for the course, and the state makes a payment to the post-secondary institution on the student's behalf. (R.C. 3365.04, not in the bill.)
 The bill states that the General Assembly finds that Ohio's two-year institutions are respected points of entry for students embarking on their post-secondary careers and that courses completed at those institutions are transferable to state universities in accordance with articulation and transfer agreements developed according to state law. Under those provisions of continuing law, the Board of Regents is required to (1) adopt policies and procedures for the transfer of coursework and degrees among state institutions of higher education, (2) adopt rules for a statewide system of articulation agreements for students pursuing teacher preparation programs, and (3) adopt criteria, policies, and procedures for the transfer of technical courses (see R.C. 3333.16, 3333.161, and 3333.162, none in the bill).
 The Council is a standing committee of the Board of Regents charged with facilitating implementation of the statewide articulation and transfer policy.
 R.C. 3319.23, not in the bill.
 Under R.C. 3313.614(C)(2), not in the bill, once a person finishes the high school curriculum, that person need not meet any new curriculum requirements that take effect while the person is still trying to pass state proficiency or achievement tests.