Nov 23, 2022

Tallman: New graduation requirement process continues

Posted Nov 23, 2022 2:53 PM

NICK GOSNELL
Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Mark Tallman with the Kansas Association of School Boards notes that the State Board of Education approved changes to graduation requirements for students that are not yet in high school earlier this month.

"The State Board of Education has spent about a year and a half looking at high school graduation requirements," Tallman said. "In the end, it is not really that they made a lot of big changes, but they have done some things to, I think, try to add a little more flexibility for students and add a few additional requirements."

Right now, the state board requires everyone to have 21 credits to graduate. That minimum number isn't any larger, but some areas are more specific. There will now need to be at least half a credit related to financial literacy and an additional credit in the STEAM area, preferably in computer science.

"The Board is saying students should have to have two additional, what they are calling, post-secondary assets," Tallman said. "Probably the best way to explain this is, they are going to have to earn two other recognitions that are not part of classes you would take. This could be anything from earning a technical certificate while you are in high school, scoring high on the ACT or SAT or state assessments to demonstrate college readiness, completing a community service project, some type of internship or job shadowing or on the job training."

The details on that requirement are still to be worked out, but the goal is to say, if you've learned what is needed for a requirement, you don't necessarily need to have learned it in a traditional classroom.

"Let's say a student is participating in Olympic-level training in some type of sport, should you also have to take a half year of physical education to satisfy that?" Tallman said. "The idea is to say if the school, the principal, the school board can agree that there are other ways to show that you are learning what you would be expected to learn in these required classes, there are different ways you can award credit. The question is, how can we come up with a system that people have confidence in, that it is meaningful, that it is fairly applied and those things."

Again, they are not asking current high schoolers to change in midstream, but rather to phase it in for those who will be freshmen next year.

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