The KY Board of Education approved new high school graduation requirements on Wednesday, December 5. The requirements were changed from the original proposal due to feedback from various stakeholders. Still, they are a significant addition to the requirements of Kentucky students to graduate from high school.

Now that they have been approved by the KBE, they go to the General Assembly for approval in its 2019 session.

Here are the basics of the new requirements, as outlined in a press release from the state Department of Education:

Graduation Prerequisites

Under the revised statute, students entering high school in the 2021-22 school year will demonstrate basic competency in reading and math in one of three ways:

1. The student’s 10th-grade state-required assessments meeting the minimum criteria in reading and mathematics:

  • The minimum criteria shall include scoring, at least, as an Apprentice in reading and mathematics in the state-required assessments approved by the Kentucky Board of Education.
  • Students who do not meet the minimum criteria on one or both assessments may retake the reading and/or mathematics assessments twice annually in the 11th and 12th grades of high school enrollment.
  • The student’s first completion of the assessments in grade 10 shall contribute to the school’s accountability rating; or

2. The student’s 8th-grade state-required assessment rating of Proficient or higher for reading or mathematics or both reading and mathematics, if applicable; or

3. The principal may submit a collection of the following student evidence to the superintendent or designee for review and approval:

  • The student’s ILP that includes student transcript;
  • If applicable, the student’s IEP that includes evidence that the student has received specially designed instruction and related services in reading and mathematics;
  • Performance on the required state assessments;
  • Appropriate interventions, targeted to the student’s needs, provided to the student to ensure support was provided toward meeting the requirements outlined in this administrative regulation;
  • Student work demonstrating the students’ competency in reading and/or mathematics, as applicable; and
  • The student’s post-graduation plans.

For public charter schools, principals may submit the same collection of student evidence to the commissioner of education or designee.

Graduation Qualifiers

Under the revised proposal, students entering high school in the 2020-21 school year must meet one of eight Graduation Qualifiers (listed below), in addition to the Graduation Prerequisite:

  1. Precollege curriculum as established by the Council on Postsecondary Education in 13 KAR 2:020; or
  2. Benchmark score in one section of a college admissions or placement examination as established by the Council on Postsecondary Education in 13 KAR 2:020; or
  3. Three postsecondary credit hours or more of a Kentucky Department of Education-approved dual credit course with a grade of C or higher; or
  4. One course and corresponding assessment meeting the following criteria:
    • Advanced placement (AP) with a score of three or higher; or
    • Cambridge Advanced International (CAI) with a score at or above benchmark; or
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) with a score of five or higher; or
  5. Industry certification as approved by the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board; or
  6. Four credits from valid courses within a single KDE-approved career pathway; or
  7. Complete two years of a KDE-approved or Kentucky Labor Cabinet-approved pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship
  8. A KDE-approved process to verify 500 hours of exceptional work experience, or alternative requirements as prescribed in a student’s IEP.