He said sections of the test will be aligned with the courses the students are taking that particular year. Each assessment is rated on a performance scale from five down to one. Out of a perfect score of 35, a student must earn at least an 18 to be eligible to graduate.
They must score at least four points total in English I and II, four points in Algebra I and Geometry and six points in History, Biology and Government.
The scoring system was created to provide flexibility for the students; to offset areas of weakness by giving students the opportunity to score higher in areas of strength, he said.
He said it’s a “logistical nightmare” keeping track of all the students’ scores.
Also, Prohaska said, for the first time, the ODT allowed every junior in the state to take the ACT for free. He said 47 percent of the juniors at Monroe said that was their first time taking the test. He called that “a good thing” because now they may take the test again after they gained confidence.
Another speaker, Phil Cagwin, Monroe superintendent, talked about how public school systems have changes. He said students can take college prep courses either at the high school or college or take vocational classes at Butler Tech. These classes are free to the students since the districts are responsible for the financial burden, he said.
Given the educational opportunities, he said public school are asking: “Where do we fit in right now?”
Public schools are “almost in a competitive market for students,” Cagwin said.
He has told teachers: “You need to be on your ‘A Game’ at all times. You need to add a value to these kids’ lives they can’t get somewhere else.”
The entire landscape of public education has changed.
“It’s a different world than when I went to high school,” Cagwin said. “When I went to high school, it was high school. That was your only option.”
Middletown Superintendent Sam Ison said the district has seen great success with connecting students to potential employers. He said 27 Middletown area employers have connected with 60 high schools students, who work a couple of hours a week without pay.
He said employers have contacted the district and shown interest in hiring particular students.
“That has allowed them to find a sense of confidence,” Ison said. “This is working folks.”
Business leaders have told Ison they’re looking for candidates who are 18, high school graduates and those who can pass a drug test.