Graduation Requirements are Changing


Graduating high school is required for admission into college.

Things are changing quickly in Colorado, so juniors might want to start studying.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has changed the graduation requirements for the state’s high school students; graduating will not only require completing enough credits and having passing grades, but also acquiring a certain standardized test score. These new standards will take effect starting with the class of 2021,.

Students will need to “demonstrate college or career readiness in English and math based on at least one measure,” according to the CDE in their menu of testing options.

These requirements can be fulfilled through taking the SAT, ACT, ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), AP tests, Accuplacer, District Capstone, International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, and/or by passing college classes in concurrent enrollment. Each test has its own requirement score that students must meet to qualify for graduation.

Most students in the class of 2021 and consecutive classes will have to adhere to the above standards to graduate. (Image made in Canva.)

The CDE is currently in progress of informing high schools with more details on the new graduation scale; at Air Academy High School, though, the news has already begun to spread, causing a variety of reactions.

“Taking the SAT already has enough pressure, but making it a graduation requirement adds unnecessary pressure,” said junior Zoe Farrell.

Junior Crystal Camacho said, “Personally, I’m not a good test taker, so I don’t feel that [the] SAT shows my capacity to succeed. [This] will just put more pressure on us. But I’m [also]…doing Career Start, so as long as I pass the [college] classes I can graduate with no problem.”

Career Start is the dual enrollment program high school students can use to earn college credits through courses at Pikes Peak Community College. Students can chose to take and pass these courses instead of testing.

During the first two weeks of October, AAHS juniors began receiving presentations on the new requirements during their English classes. Many students felt a wave of shock pass over them and are not thrilled about the news.

However, the many staff members at AAHS are confident that the requirement changes will be beneficial for students.

“What we want students to really think about is that if they are not meeting the requirements on their PSAT, to start looking at the other testing options,” said counselor Erica Riggs.

Colorado is actually late on creating these requirements, as other states such as Montana, Illinois and Utah have required testing for some time now. These turn of events may even be a valid change to help schools prepare students who plan to continue into college.

“I think the requirement change is a good thing. Not everyone’s…at the same math ability, so it gives people different options to meet the math requirement,” said math teacher Jason Catron. “I don’t think that it will effect any of my teaching and I doubt it will have an impact on how other teachers teach their classes.”

AAHS students have multiple outlets to assist them with studying and preparing for exams.

The Kadet Center in D building’s room 401 provides peer tutors in most subjects, along with calm, soothing environment for students to work in. The Library Media Center (LMC) offers the Kadet Math Access Center (KMAC) to help students with math with providing peer tutors along with teacher assistance.

“I don’t see this as a big hurdle for students to have to stress out or freak out about…I think they’ll be fine,” said Catron.

Change can always be shocking and difficult to adjust to, but there is a comfortable testing option for everyone and, at AAHS, students will be highly prepared to take on their new requirements.

“Study hard and do the best you can. That’s all you can do,” said Camacho.

Graduating may require more work, but all the hard work will prove beneficial. Class of 2021 should stock up on testing books and study material, as they are paving the path of graduation for the future.