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College & Workforce Readiness

Thousands More Slated to Receive Retroactive Diplomas

By Catherine Gewertz — October 23, 2017 1 min read
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Thousands of people who couldn’t graduate from high school because they failed an exit exam are now in line to receive diplomas anyway.

Nevada is the latest state to hand out high school diplomas retroactively, to adults who couldn’t graduate because they failed the required high school exam. To qualify for the diploma, students must have completed all other requirements, such as the required number of credits.

As we reported last year, several other states began offering retroactive diplomas when they eliminated their exit exams, reasoning that students shouldn’t be punished for not performing well on a test later deemed unnecessary or poorly designed.

In a memo earlier this month, Nevada schools Superintendent Steve Canavero told district superintendents about the initiative to grant diplomas to students who left high school as long ago as the 1980s, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Former students can submit written requests for their diplomas to their school districts, the Gazette-Journal said.

Beginning in 1979, Nevada required students to pass one or more exams in order to graduate from high school. By the time the requirement was eliminated, last year, students had to pass tests in four areas: writing, reading, math and science.

Nevada and some of its school districts recently reported big jumps in the high school graduation rate, and some officials said that the absence of an exit exam requirement could have been one factor that fueled those gains, the Gazette-Journal reported.

Nevada’s high school graduation requirements are in transition. The class of 2016 was the last that was required to pass the exit exam, known as the HSPE. The classes of 2017 and 2018 must take four new end-of-course tests, but they’re not required to pass them to graduate. Those end-of-course exams will be a graduation requirement for the class of 2019, however.

Art: Getty Images

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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.