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Developing Colorado's High School Graduation Requirements

Because of a discussion about refining the menu of career and college ready demonstrations for graduation guidelines at the state board of education meeting in February, graduation guidelines will now be referred to as graduation requirements. Documents and resources produced and posted after March 1, 2015 will be titled Colorado graduation requirements and documents before that date will be titled Colorado graduation guidelines.

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State statute (section 22-2-106) requires the state board of education to adopt a set of requirements for high school graduation by May 2013. Local school boards may use their own locally developed graduation requirements so long as they “meet or exceed” any minimum standards or core competencies/skills adopted by the state board. The law outlines several considerations that the state board must take into account when adopting a set of requirements, including:

  • Alignment with the description of postsecondary and workforce readiness
  • Alignment with postsecondary academic admission standards
  • Recognition of multiple and diverse pathways to a diploma
  • Articulation through a standards-based education system
  • Attainment of skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century
  • Importance of academic and career planning


The Graduation Guidelines Council, a representative group of educators and community members established in statute, has been meeting since June of 2012 to draft and refine requirements for high school graduation. State board of education adoption occurred in May 2013. Districts will have until the 2015-16 school year to adopt local high school graduation policies that meet or exceed the state requirements. Districts will then begin implementation of graduation policies with the seventh-grade class of 2015-16 for their graduation in 2021.


We want to hear your thoughts

The Colorado Department of Education is currently meeting with interested constituents to solicit feedback on the development of these graduation requirements. If you or your group is interested in being part of the conversation, we would like to hear from you.

Robin Russel
Phone: 303-866-2908

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