Why do high school expectations matter?

Another student gets good grades, graduates from high school, and earns admission to a public university, but realizes too late that high school coursework did not provide the academic preparation needed for college and must be repeated- this time costing college tuition.

All students deserve the opportunity to take courses that prepare them to enter the workforce, the military, or postsecondary education. As states continue to provide more graduation options or change existing requirements, the landscape is becoming more complicated within and across states.

— The level of rigor and expectations are not the same across schools and districts within states.

— A significant portion of students do not complete or have access to courses that prepare them for their next steps.

— Students and their families need information about their graduation options and about where those options lead upon graduation.

Achieve has released a new brief, Graduation Requirements Matter – and Differ – More Than You Think, examining the equity implications of the way that states structure high school graduation choices for students. In states that offer more than one way for students to graduate, including at least one option at the college- and career-ready (CCR) level, it makes a big difference whether all students automatically start out on the CCR pathway (with the option to opt into a less rigorous option if needed) or whether the burden is on students to proactively opt into the CCR pathway. In states where the CCR option is the default for all students, an average of 88 percent of students ultimately complete the CCR option – compared with an average of just 47 percent when students have to opt into the CCR option. CCR default states also have much higher CCR completion rates for students of color and low-income students, as well as smaller gaps between students of color and white students.  

For more, see: https://www.achieve.org/graduation-requirements-matter

Or visit the Graduating Ready website at https://highschool.achieve.org/