- The board of education for Washington, DC, is establishing a task force next month to look at a move toward graduation requirements based on how much a student knows.
- The move would end the district's practice of basing graduation on "seat time," which is common in many districts across the country.
- This winter, a move by the district to open more avenues for students to earn credits toward graduation, including passing a test or conducting a "course equivalent" like a project or internship.
Many states and districts across the country are beginning to move away from high school graduation requirements based solely on how much time students have spent in class. Vermont, for example, passed proficiency-based graduation standards last year. Colorado districts are developing new graduation requirements aimed at making sure students are college and career ready. New York, meanwhile, has long used Regents testing to determine whether students can graduate.
It's always worth noting that, at the moment, many states' posted graduation rates are likely lower than reported. An NPR investigation last month found evidence that districts and states fudge the numbers on how many students graduate, either by easing graduation requirements or by mislabeling students who drop out.