Education Expectations Lowered

Passing grades lowered; more students pass graduation test.

The State Education Department says far more of Ohio's tenth-graders passed the state's new graduation test this year. That's likely due in part to the State Board of Education's decision in June to lower the scores necessary for passing. The new scores were set after students fared poorly on a 2003 trial run of the test that is much harder than the ninth-grade proficiency test it is replacing in 2007. In March, 78 percent of those tested statewide passed the reading portion of the Ohio Graduation Test, and 67 percent passed math. Last year, when sophomores statewide took a preview version, 66 percent passed reading and only 24 percent passed math. Some educators have criticized the new passing scores -- saying they are too low. But Education Department spokeswoman Dottie Howe said the test is fair and realistic.