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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.
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.
- October 25 – South Metro Denver, hosted by Cherry Creek Schools, Register Here
- Nov 7 – Grand Junction, hosted by Mesa County Valley D51 schools, Register Here
- Nov 20 - Haxtun, hosted by Northeast BOCES, Register Here
- Dec 4 - Buena Vista, hosted by Mountain BOCES, Register Here
- Feb 26 – Limon, hosted by East Central BOCES, details are forthcoming
- TBA – Pueblo, North Denver Metro
Please return to this website for more dates and locations.
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.
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)
|ACT||18 on ACT English||19 on ACT Math|
| ACT WorkKeys
National Career Readiness Certificate
|Bronze or higher||Bronze or higher|
|Advanced Placement (AP)||2||2|
|ASVAB||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
|International Baccalaureate (IB)||4||4|
Scores update for new SAT (2016)
| Collaboratively-developed, standards-based
|State-wide scoring criteria||State-wide scoring criteria|
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?
- Learn from other districts about their plans and practices.
- Find out what the Top Jobs in Colorado are
- Explore the new College Admission website from CDHE
- Join a conversation with the ad hoc Graduation Guidelines Committee, or the NE BOCES Collaborative.
What's on the horizon?
- Implementation Practices: Districts have been learning from each other about how to implement Graduation Guidelines. Join your peers and neighbors in regional conversations; come to a PWR Symposium
- Reporting: Districts report the measure(s) by which each student from the class of 2021 has graduated, according to the Menu of Options.
- Find a sample report form and provide feedback to the data team: 2019-2020 Student Interchange File Layout Graduation Guidelines (PDF)
- Submit data as students demonstrate readiness according to the Menu. Districts do not need to wait until 2021.
When did it start?
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, email@example.com
Find it Now
- Graduation Guidelines Engagement Toolkit (PDF)
- Menu of Options (Print a Copy of the Fact Sheet)
- Students with Exceptions: English learners, gifted students and students with disabilities
- Promising Practices: Board policies, district plans, rubrics and implementation strategies for capstone and industry certificates.
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)