Why Did Oregon Education Officials Recommend Changing The Graduation Requirements?

The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 744 last year, which mandated that the Oregon Department of Education submit a report assessing the state’s graduation standards by September 1, 2022.

The Oregon Department of Education’s report, which was released on Thursday, contains study findings, recommendations, and eight proposals on what is expected of high school graduates in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Education investigated graduation criteria in other states and surveyed thousands of Oregonians for the first review of graduation requirements in the state in 15 years. According to the report’s findings, Oregon should alter its graduation standards to make them more equal and in line with what employers and institutions expect of prospective employees and students.

Colt Gill, the director of ODE, stated that the proposals are centered on modifying Oregon’s educational framework in order to better serve students and help them graduate.

“When we put requirements in front of pupils, we know they can meet them. Because we believe that’s what has to be addressed to help our students, to help Oregon’s graduation rates, and to help more students achieve a diploma in Oregon, that’s one of the reasons you see so many of our recommendations focused on the system, Gill said.

However, feedback and statistics gathered for the research indicate that there are disparities in graduating among different student groups, from the diplomas students receive to the way they complete graduation requirements.

The adjustments Oregon has to make, according to Dan Farley, ODE Administrator for Research and Accountability, are systemic and not dependent on the performance of any one student.

The responsibility for meeting our previous graduation standards nearly entirely fell on each student, according to Farley. While graduation really serves as a community indicator and represents students’ access to top-notch learning materials throughout their K–12 education.

Gill stated that ODE’s recommendations, which will be made to legislators and the State Board of Education later this month, were informed by the data gathered for the report.

Oregon Education Officials Recommend Changing The Graduation Requirements
Oregon Education Officials Recommend Changing The Graduation Requirements

The Public Opinion

Over the past year, 3500 people, including kids, parents, teachers, and community members, spoke with state officials. State officials also held Zoom sessions and community chats with particular groups in addition to the statewide poll that received the majority of the responses.

Flexibility, the importance of competencies like financial literacy and critical thinking, and the techniques for evaluating students’ knowledge in subjects like arithmetic, reading, and writing are among the themes that the report outlines from the input that was provided.

“The students at my high school weren’t prepared for the real world. Even the basics of resume writing weren’t taught to the students. Internships weren’t offered or directed toward students… One Oregonian who was cited in the article claimed that the school was only concerned with getting students to graduate and was not interested in what would come next.

Access to high-quality education for all pupils, according to Gill, was a recurring theme.

When it comes to meeting the standard, Gill said, “Our students and their families, as well as our educators, weren’t so concerned about where we set the standard; they feel like they can meet it, and the students feel like they can meet it, as long as they have access to an equitable education to help them get there.”

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