Only 10 high school seniors in Akron Public Schools out of more than 1,300 have come up short on the Ohio Graduation Test this year and will not graduate with their classes, even though they’ve earned the required academic credits.
In 2007, the first year the OGT became a requirement for a diploma, 95 seniors missed graduation, prompting many frantic and angry phone calls to board members.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see that number drop the way it has,” said board President Jason Haas.
Principals and other school counselors have stepped up their efforts over the last five years to identify students who need help and make sure they have opportunities to get extra tutoring.
Students have seven chances to pass all five tests before their graduation date, beginning with the spring of their sophomore year.
Tests are given twice during the school year — in October and again in March.
School counselors urge juniors to take the summer session and pass their remaining tests before they start their senior year rather than stake all their hopes of crossing the stage with their classmates on a single last-chance attempt before graduation.
The district offers a two-week cram session in the summer for juniors and seniors. This year’s session begins June 13, with testing June 25 through June 29.
Help with credits
In addition to the special classes providing help on the test, the district offers summer classes for students short of the credits needed to graduate.
Last year, 61 seniors who passed their OGTs didn’t have enough credits to graduate. The year before, the number was 33.
The district will soon know how many this year will fall short on credits.
“They are just getting ready to take their senior exams, so we won’t know that for another week or so,” said Julia Mann, executive director of secondary schools.
There’s still a chance for caps and gowns and photographs for students who don’t walk the stage with their classes.
Akron held its first September graduation ceremony in 2009 for students who missed their class graduations but passed the OGT in the summer session.