High School-Level STEM Initiatives: State Has Adopted Rigorous Graduation Requirements in Math and Science for All Students
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High School-Level STEM Initiatives: State Has Adopted Rigorous Graduation Requirements in Math and Science for All Students

Why does it matter?
Research has found that if increased success after high school is the goal of increasing graduation requirements, it is most effective to require specific courses, rather than simply requiring more mathematics and science courses.

Based on research by ACT and Clifford Adelman's 1999 Answers in the Toolbox report and the 2006 follow-up The Toolbox Revisited, ECS considers the following to be rigorous minimum graduation requirements for mathematics and science:
  • Three mathematics credits with the highest course completed Algebra II.
  • Three credits of laboratory science.

  • Highlights:

    Eighteen states currently have, or are phasing in, rigorous graduation requirements in either mathematics or science.

    Currently one state - Texas - requires all students to complete at least three units of mathematics, including Algebra II. An additional 13 states will phase in this requirement by 2015.

    Four states - Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia - currently require all students to complete three units of laboratory science. An additional eight states will phase in this requirement by 2014.

    When these graduation requirements are fully phased-in by the class of 2015, eight states will have rigorous graduation requirements in mathematics and science for all students: South Dakota, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

    Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: June 2008

    This database was compiled by Kyle Zinth, policy analyst, ECS Information Clearinghouse. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.



    State has adopted rigorous graduation requirements in math and science for all students
    Alabama Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2013.
    Alaska No
    Arizona Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2013.
    Arkansas Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2010.
    California No
    Colorado No
    Connecticut No
    Delaware Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2011.
    District of Columbia No
    Florida No
    Georgia Yes for science.
    Hawaii No
    Idaho No
    Illinois No
    Indiana Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2010, and for science starting with class of 2011.
    Iowa No
    Kansas No
    Kentucky Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2012.
    Louisiana No
    Maine No
    Maryland No
    Massachusetts No
    Michigan
    Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2011.
    Minnesota Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2015.
    Mississippi No
    Missouri No
    Montana No
    Nebraska No
    Nevada No
    New Hampshire No
    New Jersey No
    New Mexico Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2013.
    New York No
    North Carolina Yes for mathematics starting with class of 2013.
    North Dakota No
    Ohio Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2014.
    Oklahoma Yes for science starting with class of 2010.
    Oregon No
    Pennsylvania No
    Rhode Island No
    South Carolina No
    South Dakota Yes for mathematics and science starting with class of 2010.
    Tennessee Yes for science.
    Texas Yes for mathematics.
    Utah No
    Vermont No
    Virginia Yes for science.
    Washington No
    West Virginia Yes for Science. Algebra II will be recommended but not required for all students starting with class of 2012.
    Wisconsin No
    Wyoming No

    © 2014 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education.
    To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please fax a request to the attention of the ECS Communications Department, 303.296.8332 or e-mail ecs@ecs.org.
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