Wayne D. Lewis Jr. was named interim commissioner by the Kentucky Board of Education on April 17, 2018. The past year has been a whirlwind of action aimed at raising the bar for student learning and achievement and closing longstanding and even widening gaps between groups of Kentucky students.
This is the third of a six-part series detailing the work and achievements of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) during the past year. To see the whole report, view this pdf.
NEW MINIMUM HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS ADOPTED
Kentucky boasts one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country – awarding 93% of its 12th-grade students a high school diploma. However, slightly more than half of recent high school graduates are attending college and even fewer are completing. Employers consistently bemoan the lack of essential skills recent graduates possess when entering the workforce. Kentucky postsecondary institutions also are increasingly concerned about the lack of academic preparedness of their freshman students.
In early 2018, KDE began working to better align the minimum requirements for the Kentucky high school diploma with contemporary entry-level expectations for college and the workforce. To begin, KDE convened a group of 80 stakeholders from business and industry, postsecondary education, and elementary, middle and high school educators to identify the knowledge and skills a Kentucky high school student should have upon graduation.
After public comment and revisions, in December 2018, the Kentucky Board of Education approved changes to the regulation on minimum graduation requirements for Kentucky students entering high school in 2019 and 2020.
Prior to graduation, students now will be required to demonstrate basic competency in mathematics and reading, and also will take courses designed to align with the student’s Individualized Learning Plan. The regulation became official on April 5, 2019, and requirements began being phased in with students entering their freshman year this fall.