New High School Graduation Requirements
In November 2022, after more than a year of discussing graduation requirements for Kansas students, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to approve the Graduation Requirements Task Force recommendations.
The new graduation requirements will include:
- Maintaining the minimum graduation requirement of 21 units of credit.
- Giving districts the option to use mastery and competency to award credits.
- All students completing two or more postsecondary assets from an established list that includes career/real-world and academic assets – aligned with their Individual Plan of Study (IPS).
- All students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, schools, students and families will be able to opt out.
Additionally, the State Board of Education approved changes to the number of credits and the type of courses that students are required to take. Under the present system, students must take four units of English language arts (ELA) to graduate. Under the new requirements, students will need a total of four communication units – 3.5 units of ELA (reading, writing, literature, technical) and one-half credit of communications (speech, debate, forensics, journalism, public speaking).
Students still will be required to earn three units of social studies (world, US history, US government) and one unit of fine arts (music, dance, art theater, etc.).
Under the present system, students need three units of science and three units of math to graduate. The new requirements are seven science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) units, which include three units of math (algebraic and geometric concepts); three units of science (physical, biological, earth/space); and one STEM elective (computer science, advanced math or science, robotics, advanced career and technical education (CTE), agriculture, etc.).
Currently, students need one unit of physical education and six units of electives. With the new requirements, students will need one-half unit of physical education; one-half unit of health; one-half unit of financial literacy; and four and one-half units of electives related to the student’s IPS (with an emphasis on CTE/Pathway courses).
The Graduation Requirements Task Force was established in June 2021 to complete a comprehensive evaluation of Kansas high school graduation requirements to better meet the needs of students in the 21st century. The graduation requirement changes approved last week are the first in the state in about 20 years. The new graduation requirements will go into effect will be with the class of 2028.
USD 497 has assembled three working groups to develop recommendations around the biggest changes to current graduation requirements. The working groups are listed below with links to the minutes from the discussion of each working group.
Communications (0.5 Credits)
STEM (1.0 Credits)
Financial Literacy (0.5 Credits)
Future working groups will be established regarding post-secondary assets and total number of credits.