By Kurt Becker, ISD 15 Curriculum Program Supervisor
When the class of 2015 enters 9th grade next year, it will be faced with new graduation requirements. To graduate from a Minnesota public high school, a student must meet the state’s course credit requirements along with any additional local requirements, which are established by the school district. When the new Minnesota Academic Science Standards were put into effect by the legislature in May 2010, a change in the state’s graduation requirements was also put into effect.
Beginning with the class of 2015, all students must earn a credit in either physics or chemistry before they are eligible to graduate. This requirement is in addition to the existing state requirement that students must earn a credit in biology.
This new law, along with the new earth and space science standards, will cause a change in ISD 15’s local graduation requirements. Currently, students must earn at least six science credits in high school. Students must take a two-trimester 9th grade physical science, where they earn two credits, and they must take a two-trimester biology class, typically in 10th grade, to earn two more credits. The additional two credits come from elective courses.
The changes begin with the class of 2015. The physical science and biology requirements will remain the same. However, students will also need to take a two-trimester physics or chemistry class where they earn two
additional credits. Because the new earth and space science standards don’t fit into an existing course, students in the class of 2015 and beyond will also need to take a one-trimester earth and space science class where they will earn one credit. In all, students in the class of 2015 and beyond will need to earn seven science credits in order to meet local graduation standards.
In addition to all of the credit requirements in science and other subject areas, there are also state assessment graduation requirements. As the spring Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and the Graduation Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) tests approach, we are reminded that today’s high school student is continuously held to a higher standard in order to graduate. The staff of Independent School District 15 has done a fantastic job of ensuring that graduates meet and exceed those higher standards.
The change in graduation standards, requested by the Minnesota Department of Education, will be voted upon at the February 14 ISD 15 School Board meeting.