A student graduates from high school hoping to begin a well-paying job repairing medical equipment but needs to take and pay for community college courses to gain high school-level math skills required.
All students deserve the opportunity to take courses that prepare them to enter the workforce, the military, or postsecondary education. As states continue to provide more graduation options or change existing requirements, the landscape is becoming more complicated within and across states.
- The level of rigor and expectations are not the same across schools and districts within states.
- A significant portion of students do not complete or have access to courses that prepare them for their next steps.
- Too many students earn a high school diploma without having taken and passed the courses needed for admission into either the more selective or broader-access colleges and universities in their states.
- Students and their families need information about their graduation options and about where those options lead upon graduation.
Typically, states set graduation requirements for students through units or courses. As more and more states explore new and innovative ways to award diplomas and assess learning to better meet students’ needs, now is the time to talk about how states structure high school graduation expectations and policies to ensure that graduation requirements and course pathways equip all students for success.