Monday, May 26, 2008

Akron seniors get the message, but too many still fail the OGT

The Class of 08 can pound their chests against the Class of 07 for one thing .. fewer will miss graduation for failing to pass the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT).

Of the current seniors, 89 still haven't passed all portions of the OGT and therefor can't walk across the stage. That compares to 127 last year, some of whom were in tears as they threw themselves on the mercy of the Board of Education, which was powerless to change the policy.

This year's seniors learned a lot from watching last year's class. Still, 89 out of 1,500+ seniors is too many .. but at least the test scores are moving in the right direction.

I know there's an argument to be made about how some kids are great students but lousy test takers and vice-versa. I know that a great many parents fell the district is spending too much time "teaching to the test," but right now, it's what we've got.

One of the kids who failed to graduate last year stayed in touch with me over the summer. She'd only missed the test by one point on the science portion, and had to watch her twin sister walk the stage while she stayed in the audience. And after taking some make-up classes and retaking the OGT, she finally passed it to get her diploma. It was a fun follow-up story to put on the evening news. If she did it, shouldn't other OGT-F's be able to do it?

Still, I wonder how many of last year's OGT failures just said "the heck with it" and moved on without a diploma to face the world.

Yeah, I still feel bad for the seniors who completed every academic class of the last 13 years but won't get to walk across the stage with their classmates. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that you don't want to miss. Hopefully the Class of 09 will accept the challenge to beat the 89 left behind this year.

I'd love to get some feedback from Akron teachers .. on what they think helped more of this year's class get over the challenge of "the test."

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