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|Implementation of Career- and College‑Ready Requirements for High School Graduation in Washington
The Washington State Board of Education recently developed career- and college-ready (CCR) graduation credit requirements that are more aligned with career pathways and with admissions standards at the state’s universities. The requirements took effect for the class graduating in 2019, though some districts implemented them earlier and others received waivers to delay implementation until the class of 2021. Local and state education leaders in Washington state asked Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest to conduct a study of districts’ progress toward implementing the CCR graduation credit requirements from 2018 to 2019. The study looked at student groups from the class of 2018 that did and did not meet the CCR graduation credit requirements and also examined changes in student outcomes when districts increased fine arts, science, world languages, or total graduation credit requirements in any year between 2012/13 and 2017/18. The study found that the percentage of districts implementing all CCR graduation credit requirements increased from 9 percent in 2018 to 56 percent in 2019. The districts that adopted the new requirements by 2018 tended to have fewer students per teacher in required content areas than districts that did not meet all the requirements. About 27 percent of all 2018 graduates met the CCR graduation credit requirements, with gaps that suggest additional barriers exist for students of color, students eligible for the national school lunch program, current English learner students, and students who have low scores on grade 8 state assessments. Finally, past district-level increases in fine arts, science, world languages, and total graduation credit requirements showed little impact on student academic outcomes.
|Advanced course completion rates among New Mexico high school students following changes in graduation requirements
In an effort to promote college and career readiness, the state of New Mexico passed a law in 2008 requiring high school students to complete at least one unit of advanced coursework (for example, Advanced Placement [AP], gifted and talented, honors, and International Baccalaureate courses) in order to graduate. The purpose of this was to study examine the completion of advanced coursework during the period following the legislative change for all high school students in New Mexico who were freshmen in 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12 and were in a New Mexico high school for four years. Descriptive statistics were used to examine differences by student subgroups (White, Hispanic, and American Indian students) and other characteristics (student performance on the 8th grade standards-based exam, free-reduced price lunch status, and English learner status), and by school characteristics (school size, school performance rating, Title I status, and urbanicity). The study finds that over 56 percent of students in New Mexico completed one or more advanced courses in high school. Results indicate that a higher percentage of White students completed one or more advanced courses than Hispanic and American Indian students. This gap in course completion across racial and ethnic groups was smaller, though persisted, when examining high-performing students. Results show that a higher percentage of students in larger schools completed one or more advanced courses than in smaller schools, and this gap persisted even when examining high-performing students. Education agencies could improve supports aimed at increasing advanced course access (for example, staff development efforts, teacher quality, and paying AP exam fees) and the supply of advanced course offerings in schools with low advanced course completion rates in order to help improve advanced course participation and completion rates.
|Graduation exam participation and performance, graduation rates, and advanced course-taking following changes in New Mexico graduation requirements, 2011–15
New Mexico students who were in grade 9 in 2009/10 and were expected to graduate in 2013 were the first cohort to be required to meet increased math and science course requirements and to take a new graduation exam. The purpose of this study was to describe graduation exam performance of the 2011–2015 cohorts, enrollment in Algebra II and lab science for the 2014–2015 cohorts, and the relationship of exam performance and enrollment with graduation outcomes. Grade 11 and 12 exam results for five cohorts of students–2011 cohort through 2015 are compared. Among students who took an exam in grade 11, the percentages who scored proficient or above on the reading, math, and science components of the exams by grade 12 are compared across cohorts and by gender, race/ethnicity, free or reduced-price lunch eligibility status, and English learner status. Percentages of student subgroups in cohort 2014 and cohort 2015 who took Algebra II and two lab sciences are also compared. The report describes the percentage of students in different subgroups who go on to graduate for those with various levels of performance on the exams and for those who are and are not taking Algebra II and two lab science courses. The results indicate that among students who stayed in school to grade 11, more scored proficient or higher on the math and science components of the graduation exam than before the change in requirements. The increase in proficiency rates for reading, math, and science between 2011 and 2015 was particularly large for Hispanic students and low for Native American students. Among those who stayed in school for four years, the percentage of students enrolling in Algebra II and two lab science courses increased between the 2014 cohort and the 2015 cohort, and Native American students in these cohorts had the highest rates of enrollment in these courses. Students who were proficient in more sections of the exam and students who took Algebra II and two lab science courses had higher rates of graduation than other students. The overall direction of change is positive on these measures, but differences were found in exam performance, course enrollment, and related graduation outcomes by subgroups. These differences may have implications for targeting resources and services for students most in need of support for staying in school and fulfilling requirements necessary to graduate.
|Meeting Oregon’s New High School Math Graduation Requirements: Examining Student Enrollment and Teacher Availability
The study was motivated by a 2005 Oregon law that requires students to take three years of mathematics courses at the algebra I level or above (advanced math), beginning with the Class of 2014. This study examines the percentage of Oregon students enrolled in high school–level math courses during 2006/07 and 2007/08 who would have been on track to graduate had the new mathematics requirements been in place. It also examines whether there would have been an adequate supply of teachers endorsed to teach advanced math in 2006/07 and 2007/08, had the new requirements been in place.
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