OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 1026 (File 540, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS.

SUMMARY

This bill extends, for another two years, the current graduation requirements, which require that students earn at least 20 credits to graduate. Therefore, heightened graduation requirements that require students to earn at least 25 credits are postponed and would take effect with the freshman class beginning in the 2019-20 school year, instead of the 2017-18 school year. The bill also makes changes to the heightened requirements established in current law and allows graduation requirements to be met through successful demonstration of subject matter content mastery achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning.

The bill also does the following:

1. postpones by two years the beginning of required remedial services for grades seven through 12 (instead beginning with classes graduating high school in 2023),

2. specifies that high school courses must meet statewide subject matter standards to fulfill graduation requirements and allows mastery-based courses to satisfy these requirements; and

3. requires the State Board of Education to adopt statewide subject matter content standards that are reviewed and revised at least every 10 years.

It also makes conforming changes.

*Senate Amendment “A” increases the required minimum health and safety education high school graduation requirement (see BACKGROUND) from a half credit to one credit for the freshman class beginning in 2019-20.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

HEIGHTENED GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

The bill makes the following changes to the heightened requirements established in current law:

1. increases the minimum science, technology, engineering, and mathematics credits from eight to nine;

2. reduces the minimum career and life skills credits from three-and-a-half to two (i.e., one credit in physical education and wellness and one credit in health and safety education);

3. reduces the minimum world language requirement from two credits to one;

4. adds at least one-credit of a mastery-based diploma assessment rather than a senior demonstration project; and

5. removes end-of-year exams for certain math, history, science, and English courses.

Table 1 below compares the heightened graduation requirements in current law set to take effect with the freshman class entering high school in 2017-18 with the heightened requirements under the bill set to take effect two years later.

Table 1: Comparison of Heightened Graduation Requirements

Heightened Graduation Requirements in Current Law (CGS 10-221a)

Heightened Graduation Requirements under the Bill

Humanities: at least nine credits, including at least:

four in English, including composition;

three in social studies, including one in American history and at least one-half credit in civics and American government;

one credit in fine arts; and

one credit in a humanities elective

Humanities: at least nine credits, including civics and the arts

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: at least eight credits, including at least:

four credits in mathematics, including algebra I, geometry, and algebra II or probability and statistics;

three credits in science, including at least one credit in life science and one in physical science; and

one credit in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics elective

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: nine credits

Career and life skills: at least three-and-a-half credits, including at least:

one credit in physical education;

one-half credit in health and safety education; and

two credits in career and life skills electives, such as career and technical education, personal finance, and public speaking

Physical education and wellness: at least one credit

Health and safety education: at least one credit

World languages: at least two credits

World languages: at least one credit

Senior demonstration project or an approved equivalent: at least one credit

Mastery-based diploma assessment: at least one credit

End of school year examinations in algebra I, geometry, biology, American history, and grade 10 English

N/A

SUBJECT MATTER CONTENT MASTERY

Under the bill, students may fulfill high school graduation requirements through successful demonstration of subject matter content mastery achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning. These pathways include:

1. cross-curricular graduation requirements,

2. career and technical education,

3. virtual learning,

4. work-based learning,

5. service learning,

6. dual enrollment and early college,

7. courses taken in middle school,

8. internships, and

9. student-designed independent studies.

The bill specifies that (1) a local or regional board of education determines whether to grant academic credit for demonstration of mastery through these pathways and (2) demonstration of mastery must be in accordance with statewide subject matter content standards.

BACKGROUND

Health and Safety Education

By law, public schools must offer health and safety instruction that includes the following topics:

1. human growth and development;

2. nutrition;

3. first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation training;

4. disease prevention and cancer awareness, including age and developmentally appropriate instruction in performing self-examinations for the purposes of screening for breast and testicular cancer;

5. community and consumer health;

6. physical, mental, and emotional health, including youth suicide prevention;

7. substance abuse prevention;

8. safety, including the safe use of social media and may include the dangers of gang membership; and

9. accident prevention (CGS 10-16b).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

36

Nay

0

(03/22/2017)