PA 17-42—sSB 1026
AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
SUMMARY: This act maintains current graduation requirements, which require students to earn at least 20 credits to graduate, for another two years and subsequently delays implementation of heightened graduation requirements, which require students to earn at least 25 credits.
Prior law required students, beginning with the 2017-18 freshman class, to earn at least 25 credits in order to graduate. The act postpones implementation of this heightened 25-credit requirement to the 2019-20 freshman class. The act also changes several of the heightened requirements' academic content areas and credit minimums established in prior law and allows their fulfillment through successful demonstration of subject matter content mastery achieved through alternative educational experiences and opportunities.
The act also does the following:
1. postpones by two years the beginning of required remedial services for grades seven through 12 (beginning with classes graduating high school in 2023, rather than 2021);
2. requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt statewide subject matter content standards that are reviewed and revised at least every 10 years; and
3. specifies that high school courses must meet these statewide subject matter content standards to fulfill graduation requirements and allows mastery-based courses to satisfy these requirements.
It also makes technical and conforming changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017
HEIGHTENED GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
Table 1 below compares the heightened graduation requirements in prior law that were set to take effect with the freshman class entering high school in 2017-18 with the heightened requirements under the act set to take effect two years later with the freshman class entering high school in 2019-20.
Table 1: Comparison of Heightened Graduation Requirements
Heightened Graduation Requirements in Prior Law (CGS § 10-221a)
Heightened Graduation Requirements under the Act
Total minimum credits required: 25
Total minimum credits required: 25
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: at least 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: 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
*Existing law, unchanged by the act, allows students to earn up to four credits in fulfillment of the world language requirement (1) in grade six, seven, or eight; (2) through online coursework; or (3) privately through a nonprofit provider, as long as the student achieves a passing grade on an exam prescribed, within available appropriations, by the education commissioner.
SUBJECT MATTER CONTENT MASTERY
The act allows boards of education to grant students credits in fulfillment of high school graduation requirements for 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 act 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 the statewide subject matter content standards the act requires SBE to adopt.