By: Tyler Kehret
Graduation requirements have been becoming a lot harder over the past few years. Not only are students required to take more credits in subjects such as math and science, but students are also required to show more proficiency in the Essential Skills. The current senior class of 2012 only has to pass the state reading proficiency to graduate. The junior class of 2013 has to pass both reading and the writing proficiency. Starting with the class of 2014 all students are required to pass the reading, writing, and math state proficiencies. Also in the last few years students have been required to get four credits of English instead of three, three credits of science instead of two, three credits of math Algebra I or higher instead of just two credits. Students are also required to now have three credits in a second language, arts, or career/tech education class in addition to six elective credits. “There are very few pure electives that do not count towards the arts or career/tech education credits. Everything from cooking to computer classes count, so it is very difficult to not get all three credits in four years,” said Debi Meier, a counselor here at McNary.
“I believe that it was necessary thing to help students better prepare themselves to be a productive member of society,” Meier said. “I think that this was done because the country is moving away from manufacturing and we need more people with math and science, the types of jobs that are available in the future need more education in math and science” Meier said.
With more and more requirements being added and less classes to take it is becoming much harder to graduate than it used to be. So what if a student is unable to pass the state test requirements or is unable to complete that third math credit of Algebra I or higher? “If a student is unable to pass the state tests, possibly because they are just not good at taking tests, there are several other options. For instance a student can get a 440 on the SAT in reading or an 18 in reading on the ACT. In math you can get a 450 on the SAT in math and a 19 in math on the ACT,” said Meier. Students can also provide work samples in each subject in order to pass the efficiencies. At McNary there is also a newer class called Advance Topics. It is a class for students that did okay in algebra I and geometry but are not quite ready to move on to algebra II. It is a way for students to get that third math credit of algebra I or higher without having to take algebra II.
Even though students need to complete more tasks in order to graduate, there are many checks to make sure students graduate on time. If a student fails a class first semester freshman year, there are systems in place to make sure they get their credit recovery and are on track to graduate.