Movement on STEM Graduation Requirements

The days of graduating high school without higher level mathematics courses or several lab sciences may be over if STEM education advocates have their way.  Across the country, as states weigh education reform and the task of ensuring that students are ready to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive workforce, STEM subjects are getting an increasing amount of attention.  As a consequence, graduation requirements are getting a second look by state legislators.

Reforms outlined by the Maryland Board of Education make improving student proficiency in STEM areas and preparing students for “21st Century” careers top priorities. Among the changes outlined by Maryland would be requiring four years of high school math, through Algebra II. The state also plans to emphasize AP courses in STEM areas and put more STEM teachers in its schools.

Maryland is far from the only state experimenting with adding STEM requirements prior to graduation.  Tennessee, through its Tennessee Diploma Project, raised its mathematics requirement from three years to four, altered science requirements, and created elective areas focused on “Math and Science” and “Career and Technical Education.”  In Washington, the Partnership for Learning has put its weight behind making STEM fields integral parts of graduation requirements and standards.

Posted by Rachel Barker

Sources: Maryland Public Schools, National Conference of State Legislatures, Partnership for Learning, Tennessee Department of Education

Photo credit: Archbishop Carrol High School Graduation 2010 courtesy of flickr user Jim, the Photographer


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