Missouri’s state board of education has voted to raise high school graduation requirements for the state’s 900,000 public school students.
Approved on Oct. 6, the changes are the first the state has made to its graduation rules in 20 years. The new requirements raise the number of credits required for graduation from 22 to 24, and mandate new classes in personal finance and health.
Under the rules, students beginning with the class of 2010 will have to earn four credits in English, three each in mathematics, science, and social studies, and half a credit each in personal finance and health.
Jim Morris, a Missouri education department spokesman, said the changes, when proposed by the board, drew 600 public comments, most of which favored the plan.
The new rules are part of an ongoing effort across Missouri to raise the rigor of high school academics and align the state’s requirements with those of local districts. Department officials estimate that 70 percent of students are in high schools that already require 24 credits for graduation.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2005 edition of Education Week