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Graduation Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions for Class of 2021

What flexibility for the class of 2021 do schools, charters, and districts (Local Education Providers) have for Graduation Guidelines?

  • For 2020-2021, local education providers (LEPs) may graduate students according to district determined graduation requirements, that include the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options and/or local options, such as courses.
  • ​Local education providers can decide if they would like to implement for the class of 2021 or delay full implementation until the class of 2022.

Will we have to change anything in our board policies for graduation requirements?

  • An LEP may need to work with its local board of education to update the current graduation policy (IKF). Local education providers can decide if they would like to implement for the class of 2021 or delay full implementation until the class of 2022
  • The Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) is working on guidance for school districts. Please contact Josie Lewis at CASB for more information,

When will Graduation Guidelines start again?

  • Full implementation of the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options will go into effect for students graduating in the 21-22 school year and beyond, including 5th, 6th, and 7th year seniors from Anticipated Year of Graduation (AYG) 2021, and all students with AYG 2022 and beyond..

Do we have to report Graduation Guidelines for the class of 2021?

  • Yes. Reporting Graduation Guidelines is part of the Student Interchange File for the class of 2021 (22-11-204(V) C.R.S.).
  • ​CDE worked with EDAC and other stakeholders to determine reporting categories for the 2020- 2021 school year.

Will accountability still be linked to Graduation Guidelines for 2021?

  • Accountability is on pause because of the pandemic.
  • CDE will work with Education Data Advisory Committee (EDAC) and other stakeholders to determine reporting categories for the 2020- 2021 school year.

Which assessments and measures from the Graduation Guidelines Menu are available now?

Will the SAT test that was canceled for spring 2020 be rescheduled?

  • Yes, the free, school-day SAT was re-scheduled for September 23 OR October 14, with a makeup day of October 27.

What is the last date by which students may complete graduation requirements to be considered a graduate of the class of 2021?

  • In order to count as a graduate in the class of 2021, students must meet local graduation requirements by August 31, 2021. Students may complete graduation requirements over the summer, if necessary. Consider counting summer courses, online courses, jobs, internships, apprenticeships, earned industry certificates, or other assessments/opportunities.

Can students return for a fifth year if they have not met their graduation requirements by August 31, 2021?

  • Yes. Students may continue their education for a fifth, sixth or seventh year (or until age 21) if they are not yet ready to graduate.  They will need to meet graduation benchmarks from the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options.

By which date do we need to report our 2021 graduates to CDE?

  • At this point, the year-end data collection is scheduled to close on September 10, 2021. 

Where can I find out more information about Graduation Guidelines?

Please visit  the Graduation Guidelines Website and Menu of Options

  • Local education providers have aligned their graduation requirements with the state’s Graduation Guidelines in board policy.  See examples here.
  • Local school boards have the authority and flexibility to select from the Menu of Options that their students must use to show what they know or can do in order to graduate from high school. LEPs 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 areas.
  • LEPs decide the number of courses required for graduation, and the method by which these courses are taught or delivered. The only course required in state law for graduation is Civics ( 22-1-104 (3)(a) C.R.S). LEPs have the ability to determine how this course requirement is met.
  • Graduation Guidelines begin with the implementation of Individual and Academic Plans (ICAP), Essential Skills, and Colorado Academic Standards in all content areas, including Civics.
  • LEPs also have the authority to provide accommodations to students in meeting the college and career demonstrations necessary to earn a standard high school diploma for: English learners, gifted students, and students with disabilities.
  • Consider joining your colleagues for a virtual PWR Symposium to continue building on your implementation strategies. Learn from and engage with your peers in conversations about capstone, work-based learning, concurrent enrollment, CTE,  Industry Certificates, and ICAP.  Consider working with CDE to host a Symposium.

Graduation Guidelines Manager, Robin Russel is available to assist schools and school districts with implementation, please contact her with questions at, 720.576.2902