New graduation requirements to be finalized


Piper Hansen

In order to finalize changes to the new high school graduation requirement proposal, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will vote tomorrow, Dec. 5, at their regular meeting.

During a press conference yesterday, interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said “when kids receive a Kentucky high school diploma, regardless of where that diploma is earned, that kid is better prepared to be successful in post-secondary education and the workforce.”

Lewis originally proposed a plan that would require students to prove transition readiness before graduating high school. However, on Monday night Lewis announced that he would scale his proposal back because of rural school districts who might have a hard time funding the different options to prove transition readiness.

Instead, Lewis emphasized the numerous ways that students can prove that they are ready to graduate, including a standardized test that students would take in grade 10.

Several community activists and teachers asked Lewis at the press conference to consider delaying the vote to provide the community with adequate time to examine the proposed changes and give feedback to the board, but Lewis was unwavering in his effort to implement the new requirements as soon as possible.

Freshmen, starting in 2020, will be responsible for ensuring that they have completed the minimum requirements. Below is a comparison of the current requirements and the proposed changes to the proposal.

Current graduation requirements

  • Four language arts or english credits
  • Three math credits
  • Three social studies credits
  • One health and physical education credit
  • Seven academic or career interest credits
  • One humanities credit
  • ACT benchmarks: English, 18; Reading, 20; Mathematics, 19; Science, 23

Proposed graduation requirements

In addition to credit requirements and ACT benchmarks listed above, students will choose one of the following “qualifiers” to demonstrate college or career preparedness:

  • Completing any pre-college curriculum regulated by the Council on Post-Secondary Education (CPE)
  • Meeting a CPE benchmark on the ACT or other college admissions exams in one section
  • One dual credit course with a college or university passed with at least a C
  • One Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge Advanced International course and test passed
  • Receiving industry certification
  • Four credits in a single career pathway
  • At least 500 hours of work experience