Brenner, a Powell Republican, said he would support giving points for being in things like science or math clubs, but deciding which others have real learning value is hard.
"That leads to bigger problems," Brenner said.
He also supported a way for students who do well in class but just do not handle tests well to earn points, while worrying that schools with students on the edge will end up with grade inflation.
"That's going to put pressures on teachers to adjust grades," Brenner said. "There's always going to be a push-pull on this."
So, when it comes to making adjustments for his friends in the charter industry because assessment scores and attendance are awful, he is all for it, but when it comes to an equitable graduation system for Ohio's students, he finds it worrisome. When I suggested this to Rep Brenner on Twitter, he said that that's not what he meant. Unfortunately, he also suggested that there is no graduation crisis, which I find terribly alarming for the third of Ohio's juniors in danger of not receiving a diploma.
I am writing you today on behalf of the Class of 2018, to encourage you to act on the recommendations of the Superintendent's Workgroup on Graduation, at minimum. I say "at minimum" because I'm not entirely convinced that the recommendations of the Workgroup will sufficiently remedy the pending Graduation Crisis. I believe Senator Lehner was correct when she said, “I’m a little bit concerned that it’s not going to capture as many kids as we maybe think it will. 2.5 is a pretty high GPA. And for an amazing number of these kids, that (93 percent) attendance rate is pretty high.”
I believe a safe harbor for this year's juniors is the only equitable solution considering the 3 year assessment mess that created the crisis. This should be followed by a sincere move toward the minimization of assessments, and abandonment of high stakes measures associated with them, as has been recommended by stakeholders statewide.
Ohio is one of only 14 states to require assessments in order to graduate, and as an American History teacher at Elyria High School I can say without hesitation that the benefit of these assessments is negligible. High School GPA remains the best predictor of college success. The assessments and pathways do nothing to promote student pursuit of vocational programs. Even when the ODE was forthcoming with data from state assessments, the only real purpose it served was to direct educators to help students be more successful on assessments.
No Child Left Behind ushered in this test and punish mentality in 2001. During the time since, scores for high school students have stagnated on the NAEP, SAT scores declined between 2006 and 2014, and ACT scores have been flat. The philosophy has run its course.
While I understand, politically, that some testing will remain, the time for punishing students on the basis of standardized tests is over. Please consider a safe-harbor for the class of 2018, or minimally moving forward with the Workgroup's suggestions. If there is anything that I can do to be of assistance, please let me know.
Thank you for your time and service to the state of Ohio.
Yours in education,
Matthew T. Jablonski