College & Workforce Readiness Data

Data: How Is Coronavirus Changing States’ Graduation Requirements?

By Sarah D. Sparks — April 08, 2020 1 min read
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Seniors this year are ending their school years amid concern, confusion, and closures, but states and districts are looking for ways to make sure they still successfully launch into their postsecondary education and careers.

Most states have so far changed at least some graduation requirements for the Class of 2020, from eliminating end-of-course tests and exit exams to allowing districts to lower the number of credits students need to graduate or the types of courses they must take. The map and chart below include specific flexibility states are adopting or considering with regard to hours, credits, testing, college dual-enrollment programs, and career-technical programs. In many states, local districts make the final decision on how to award diplomas, though here too, states do provide guidance.

Changes to State Graduation Criteria, Class of 2020

What Kind of Flexibility Do States Give?

While local districts have the most determination in deciding credits and mastery for awarding diplomas, many states have weighed in on particular areas, such as minimum credits, ways of demonstrating course mastery, and how to award credit for dual-enrollment. Click on the dropdown to compare states’ approaches on individual requirements, and check out the guidance tab for links for state documents.

Data Note

A state is considered to have “flexibility offered” if it has made approved changes to its graduation requirements specifically to compensate for pandemic-related disruptions to the Class of 2020’s diploma attainment. A state may make additional flexibility changes; the map will be updated to reflect this. To contribute data or information, please contact ssparks@educationweek.org.

See Also

EdWeek StateByState iStock GettyImagesPlus IMG (1)
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States Coronavirus and Learning: What's Happening in Each State
Education Week Staff, April 3, 2020
1 min read
Christine Pappis, a senior at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, Calif., snapped this screenshot during a 5-hour video call during last Saturday night. Pappis said she uses FaceTime to keep in touch with her friends, since they are not only in school closures, but community lockdown; some of her friends tried to hang out and “ended up with a $400 fine.” The students, in order from top to bottom: Natalie Salcedo, Pifolau Denson, Samantha Gutiérrez, Sabrina Liaw, Christian Bowker (bottom left) and Pappis, bottom right.
Christine Pappis, a senior at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, Calif., snapped this screenshot during a 5-hour video call during last Saturday night. Pappis said she uses FaceTime to keep in touch with her friends, since they are not only in school closures, but community lockdown; some of her friends tried to hang out and “ended up with a $400 fine.” The students, in order from top to bottom: Natalie Salcedo, Pifolau Denson, Samantha Gutiérrez, Sabrina Liaw, Christian Bowker (bottom left) and Pappis, bottom right.

Source: State Web sites, guidance documents, interviews, and news reports.

Reporting & Analysis: Sarah D. Sparks

Visualization: Laura Baker

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