Starting with graduations in June, there will be more than a dozen new ways for students to earn a high school diploma in New York State. NY1's Lindsey Christ, filed the following report.
For years, there have been five tests high school students needed to pass to graduate in New York: English, Math, Science, U.S. History and Global History. Starting this year, though, students will have the option to replace one of the history exams with another, approved test—including several in career-focused subjects like electronics, culinary arts or hospitality management.
"What we are trying to do today is to signal that you can have multiple pathways to graduation that are comparably rigorous, that reflect a high standard of expectation as to what students can do when they graduate—but that don't have to be one narrow model," said State Education Commissioner John King.
The Board of Regents approved the new policy Monday. It opens up five new "pathways" to graduation.
Students will be able to swap out a history test for one in a foreign language, the arts or humanities. They could also choose an additional science or math test or one of thirteen pre-approved career and technical exams.
"We are going to recognize another pathway, or perhaps multiple pathways, for students to recognize school's relevance, to address the drop out issue, to address students who have different interests," said Board of Regents President Merryl Tisch.
Traditionally, the pass rate for Global History has been lowest of the five required exams, but education officials insist they are not looking to water-down standards or make it any easier to graduate.
"This is really about CTE programs, coursework and the assessments that are comparably rigorous to the kinds of coursework and assessment that is reflected in the Regents exams," King said.
"We want kids to do better—not simply to say, 'Okay, what is the bare minimum that I can leave high school,' but 'How much can I get out of high school so I am ready for college and careers?'" said Assistant Commissioner of Education Charles Szuberla.
The city offers career and technical courses at 45 high schools. Last year, 2,800 students graduated from one of the programs.