Credit Flexibility

Background Information

Senate Bill 311 (also known as Ohio Core) requires schools in Ohio to adopt a plan that will enable students to earn units of high school credit based on a demonstration of subject area competency, instead of or in combination with completing hours of classroom instruction.  The goal is to (1) allow students to show what they know and move on to content they are ready to learn and (2) learn subject matter for credit in ways not limited solely to seat time or the walls of a school building. The purpose of credit flexibility is to develop learners who take primary responsibility for planning and implementing their own learning outside of the traditional classroom options. To see how other schools in Ohio have succeeded with the Credit Flexibility option please click here.

Some of the goals of Credit Flexibility include:

  • Broaden the scope of curricular options
  • Increase the depth if study available
  • Customize the time needed to complete a degree 
  • Develop skills like creativity and innovative thinking

Credit Flexibility is a new way for students to earn high school credit. It allows students to earn graduation credit through one of the following options:

      • Successfully completing coursework
      • Testing out or showing mastery of course content
      • Pursuing an educational option and/or an individually approved option
      • Any combination of the above options

Benefits of Credit Flexibility:

    • It is flexible; the time and conditions for learning can be customized to meet student needs
    • Greater access to more learning resources, especially real world experiences
    • Use of multiple measures of learning, especially those in which students demonstrate what they know and can do

How it works

Students spend a certain number of hours in a classroom, this is known as seat time. Carnegie units represent the number of hours of instruction a high school student receives.  One Carnegie unit is 120 hours of instruction.  This is equivalent to 1 high school credit.  In the past the value of seat time was used to measure student learning.  However, educators now know that the number of hours a student spends in a classroom may not reflect an accurate measurement of student learning.  

Students who can demonstrate their knowledge ensures that they have learned a concept fully.  This is how Credit Flexibility works. Students who can demonstrate what they have learned are able to move on to more strenuous content. 

Any student interested in pursuing Credit Flexibility for high school credit may apply.  The student will submit a Personalized Learning Program Application (PLP), which will be found at Summit County Educational Service Center's website. The application must be complete before it will go under review by a Credit Flexibility Committee. Students may be required to submit supporting documentation.

Upon approval of the application, the student then may proceed with the learning activity and credit will be awarded when all requirements are completed and evaluated.  The Credit Flexibility Committee may consult with faculty members of the related department or others as needed to provide necessary information prior to making a decision regarding the awarding or denial of credit. 

Grades earned through Credit Flexibility will not be weighed. The letter grade on the student's transcript and included in the student's grade point average will be awarded as determined by the teacher. 


Assessments for Credit Flexibility Courses

Assessment of student knowledge may include multidisciplinary teams, professional panels, performance based assessments, end of course placement certification examinations.


Earned Credits

Credits that are earned through Credit Flexibility will be reflected on high school transcripts like other course credit earned. 


Ohio Department of Education contacts for Credit Flexibility are attached below as the PDF entitled, "ODE Contacts Credit Flexibility." 

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A. Hilker,
Dec 13, 2010, 5:13 AM
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A. Hilker,
Dec 13, 2010, 5:36 AM
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A. Hilker,
Dec 13, 2010, 5:09 AM