Increasing graduation requirements, all by itself, is unlikely to make students better prepared for college or careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,.
What students need are courses that are truly rigorous and adequate preparation for those courses, according to ACT, the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company.
The report looks at the aftermath of a 2005 Illinois law that requires high school students to take at least three years of math and two years of science. Examining what happened in nine graduating classes in response to that law, ACT found students’ enrollment patterns didn’t change in math, but the law did prompt more students particularly those in the bottom half to enroll in more science courses. The changes had no effect on how well students did in those subjects on the act college-entrance exam.
A version of this article appeared in the August 20, 2014 edition of Education Week as Graduation Requirements