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Graduation Guidelines


What Are Graduation Guidelines?

Colorado Graduation Guidelines are a road map to help students and their families plan for success after high school. In order to graduate from high school, students choose from a Menu of Options - adopted at the local school board level - to demonstrate Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) in English and math. The guidelines go into effect for the Class of 2021.

Graduation Cap

What's New?

Regional Conversations - PWR Symposiums

Join your peers from neighboring schools and districts for a Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Symposium to talk about implementing PWR initiatives. ​Engage in strategic conversations about capstone, work-based learning, industry certifications, and ICAP.

Consider hosting a PWR Symposium next year for your colleagues and those in neighboring districts. View the PWR Symposium Flyer and contact Robin Russel, 303.866.2908,

Menu of Options

Local school boards establish high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the Colorado Graduation Guidelines for the graduating class of 2021. Local school boards and districts select from this menu to create a list of options that their students must use to show what they know or can do in order to graduate from high school, beginning with the graduating class of 2021.

School districts may offer some or all of the state menu options, may raise a cut score on an included assessment and may add graduation requirements in other content areas.

Graduation Guidelines begin with the implementation of: Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP)21st Century Essential Skills, and Colorado Academic Standards for all content areas, including a course in Civics.

View expanded descriptions and implementation strategies.

Print a copy of the Menu of Options 

Menu of Options




62 on Reading
      Comprehension or
70 on Sentence Skills

61 on Elementary Algebra

Next Generation ACCUPLACER

241 on Reading or

236 on Writing

255 on Arithmetic (AR) or 230 on Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QAS)


18 on ACT English

19 on ACT Math

ACT WorkKeys - National Career Readiness Certificate

Bronze or higher

Bronze or higher

Advanced Placement (AP)




31 on the AFQT

31 on the AFQT

Concurrent Enrollment

Passing grade per district and higher education policy

Passing grade per district and higher education policy

District Capstone



Industry Certificate



International Baccalaureate (IB)



SAT: Scores update for new SAT (2016)



Collaboratively-developed, standards-based performance assessment

State-wide scoring criteria

State-wide scoring criteria


Why Graduation Guidelines 

The guidelines have two purposes, the first is to articulate Colorado’s shared beliefs about the value and meaning of a high school diploma. The second is to outline the minimum components, expectations, and responsibilities of local districts and the state to support students in attaining their high school diploma.

Life beyond high school is different from what it used to be. Most jobs in Colorado now and in the future require training or education beyond high school. Students who graduate and work in Colorado will need in-demand skills that meet business, industry, and higher education standards.

What does this mean for me now? 

  • Align Graduation Guidelines with your local graduation requirements
  • Develop implementation strategies for the Class of 2021
  • Include programs that are already in place:concurrent enrollment, capstone projects, or career pathways.

Where can I find help? What is getting in the way?

What's on the horizon?

  • Districts report the measure(s) by which each student from the class of 2021 has graduated, according to the Menu of Options.

When did it start? 

Fact Sheets

Next Steps

These graduation guidelines have been a catalyst for excellent conversations – about competencies, postsecondary and workforce readiness (PWR) and local control.

The Colorado Department of Education continues to meet with interested constituents to solicit feedback on the development of graduation guidelines and has engaged the expertise of more than 500 contributors. If you or your group is interested in being part of the conversation, we would like to hear from you.

Contact:Robin Russel, 303-866-2908,

Find it Now


Currently, Colorado's only statewide requirement for high school graduation is the satisfactory completion of a civics/government course that encompasses information on both the United States and State of Colorado (C.R.S. 22-1-104)

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Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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