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Schools can offer flexible options

By John Published: October 3, 2010

By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

Ohio high school students this year won't have to log 120 hours of seat time to get credit for required or elective courses.

A new state law allows alternatives such as ''testing out'' of a class or completing an independent project to satisfy the course requirements.

Each district is responsible for crafting its own ''credit flexibility'' and Akron Public Schools is firming up its policy in advance of four informational meetings that begin Monday.

Here's how it will look in a nutshell:

Students who don't want to sit through a class and are capable of pursuing an alterative can take a test, complete a project or some combination of those options.

The law doesn't allow the district to flag in any way on the transcript that the students achieved their grade by testing out or completing a project.

If a student scores 80 percent or better on the test, the grade they get is the grade that appears on the transcript.

If they don't meet the 80 percent threshold, it won't count against them, but they'll have to
take the class or find another option. University courses and online courses may also substitute for seat time.

Students who complete a full season in Junior ROTC, marching band, cheerleading or sports will get credit for one semester of physical education, but they'll also have to pass a test to show they've mastered certain standards.

The state requires two semesters of physical education to be taken sometime during high school to graduate, so students could repeat the alternative option to satisfy the requirement.

However, athletes aspiring toward big-college sports scholarships should consult with their athletic director before pursuing alternatives to regular course work.

Students also may complete approved independent projects, internships or other personalized experiences instead of actually sitting in class.

Those applications will be due Nov. 1 and students will have to demonstrate they're capable of completing a rigorous plan that matches state academic standards.

The district has set aside Dec. 4 at 400 W. Market St. for students who want to ''test out'' of two courses.

Students will have to submit applications for that option, and the tests will follow the ACT testing protocols.

Here are the meeting times and places in Akron:

• Monday, 6 p.m.; Kenmore High School, 2140 13th St. SW.

• Thursday, 6 p.m.; Ellet High School, 309 Woolf Ave.

• Oct. 11, 6 p.m.; Firestone High School, 333 Rampart Ave.

• Oct. 14, 6 p.m.; North High School, 985 Gorge Blvd.

John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or Read the education blog at



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