Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Tutoring under-utilized

TOLEDO Public Schools have made a generous offer, thanks to state aid, of free tutoring to help high school students pass the new Ohio Graduation Test. But most students have so far ignored it, and it's likely that many won't think much about the test until the last minute, when it may well be too late.

That's a shame. The OGT replaces the OPTs, the Ohio Proficiency Tests, beginning with last year's freshmen, the class of 2007. In order for this fall's sophomores to qualify as members of the class of '07, they must pass the OGT.

TPS received $380,000 from the state for the tutoring effort, and the district has sensibly held a number of sessions to try to accommodate a variety of schedules. Students could attend tutoring sessions on Saturdays, before and after school, and during the summer. Just 15 students are in half-day summer sessions at Waite High School now, and a mere 46 students have attended summer tutoring at Scott High School. Sadly, TPS said only 30 students took advantage of tutoring offered last February and another 20 students were in after-school sessions last spring.

The poor response almost makes it seem futile to pour so much money and effort into trying to aid students. Many may have legitimate reasons for not taking advantage of the tutoring, with work and transportation issues likely among them. Yet most could find the time and a way to get there if they really want.

It's a mistake to be unconcerned. The OGT is considerably more difficult, and students have only four opportunities to retake it - compared to nine or more times they could take the OPTs - in order to graduate on time. Given the nature of teenagers, many will probably be far into their high school years before they get serious about the tests, only to find out that there's too little time to master what they didn't learn previously.

To avoid disappointment at graduation time, parents would be advised to put their feet down now and make their teenagers study their lessons and accept the tutoring.

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