|Initiatives to improve the senior year|
|Arizona||The early graduation scholarship program offers the lesser of up to $1,250 or the actual cost of postsecondary tuition, books and fees to students who graduate from high school at least one year early. Students who graduate from high school one semester early receive the lesser up to $1,000 or the actual cost of postsecondary tuition, books and fees. Students receive the lesser of up to $750 or the actual cost of tuition, books and fees their second year of college.|
|Arkansas||Legislation requires all students in grades 9-12 to schedule and attend a full school day (a minimum of 350 minutes of planned instructional time).|
|Florida||Students may select a three-year high school graduation option with an academic or career preparatory focus, thus eliminating the senior year of high school. For both options, students must complete at least 18 specified Carnegie units and maintain a minimum grade point average as they progress toward diploma completion.|
|Idaho||Effective with the Class of 2012, 12th graders will be required to complete a senior year project. The project must include a research paper and an oral presentation.|
|Louisiana||The purpose of the Commission on High School Redesign is to develop high schools that graduate all students prepared to succeed. One problem identified by the commission is the inefficient use of time during the senior year. "Many Louisiana high schools still engage in the old practice of offering 'early afternoon release' to seniors who do not need to take a full course-load to earn enough credits for a diploma," the 2006 commission report states. "Instead of early release, high schools should offer an early start on college or advanced workplace training." The report suggests that policymakers should find ways to decrease the number of college students who have to take remedial courses by allowing interested students to take advantage of college-level courses and get a "head start" on success.|
|Maine||In 2003, the Maine Community College System initiated a program called "Early College for ME." The goal of the program is to increase college awareness and participation among students who are capable of succeeding in but have no plans to attend college. Students are identified for the program in their junior year and begin taking college courses during their senior year.|
The features of the program include outreach and dual enrollment options:
|North Carolina||Effective with the Class of 2010, students following the career preparation, college technical preparation or college/university preparation courses of study must complete a senior project "developed, monitored and scored" by the district "using state-adopted rubrics..."|
|Ohio||Seniors to Sophomores is a dual enrollment program offering high school seniors the opportunity to enroll in a University System of Ohio institution to earn up to one year of high school and postsecondary credit at no cost to the student. In fall 2008, 49 volunteer Early Adopter districts and their postsecondary partners will begin piloting the program. Eligible seniors must have passed the Ohio Graduation Test, completed three years of English and Algebra II with a "C" or better, and score "college ready" on the institution's placement assessment.|
|Oklahoma||As a condition of state accreditation, schools must ensure that all students in grades 9-12 are enrolled in at least six periods (or the equivalent in block scheduling) "of rigorous academic and/or rigorous vocational courses each day[.]"|
|Pennsylvania||Locally established graduation standards must require all students to complete "a culminating project... to assure that students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding."|
|Rhode Island||The state does not mandate that all students complete a senior project. However, effective with the Class of 2008, all students must complete locally determined proficiency-based measures in addition to Carnegie units. One of the proficiency demonstration options that a district may require of all students is completion of a senior-year project.|
|Tennessee||Local boards are encouraged but not mandated to require all students to complete a senior project or other capstone project.|
|Texas||The Early High School Graduation Scholarship program offers tuition assistance to eligible students to attend public or private postsecondary institutions in the state. Students graduating from a public high school must complete either (1) a recommended or advanced diploma in no more than 41 consecutive months or (2) a recommended or advanced diploma, with at least 30 hours of college credit, in no more than 46 consecutive months. Scholarship award amounts vary depending upon the number of months a student used to complete the high school graduation requirements and the hours of postsecondary credit (none, at least 15 or at least 30) a student had earned upon high school graduation.|
|Utah||The state supports two scholarship programs to improve the senior year of high school:|
The Centennial scholarship program offers the lesser of $1,000 or one year's tuition to a student who completes high school at the end of grade 11 or earlier. A student who completes high school after the end of grade 11 but before the end of grade 12 receieves a proportionately lesser amount.
The New Century scholarship program provides a scholarship to a student who completes an associate's degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average by September 1 of the year the student's class graduates from high school. The scholarship covers 75% of tuition at a state system of higher education institution (or equivalent amount at an accredited private institution in the state), for up to two years of full-time enrollment.
|Virginia||Senior Year Plus, initiated by Gov. Mark Warner, offers two options to better prepare students for life after high school, while reducing the cost of college tuition and technical training. The two options are the Early College Scholars and Path to Industry Certification programs, both allowing high school students (seniors for Early College Scholars program and both juniors and seniors in Path to Industry Certification program) to begin college coursework while still in high school. Early College Scholars program is supported by the Virginia Virtual Advanced Placement School and Commonwealth College Course Collaborative, a set of 13 credit hours accepted at all participating postsecondary institutions for degree credit.|
High school seniors complete 15 units of college credit via dual enrollment, the Virginia Virtual Advanced Placement School, or Cambridge, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses at their home high schools. To participate, students must have at least a "B" average, be working toward an Advanced Studies Diploma, and complete college-level work through one of the aforementioned methods. The related Commonwealth College Course Collaborative is a set of 13 credit hours accepted at all participating postsecondary institutions for degree credit. The Path to Industry Certification Program, available to all districts and community colleges in the state, allows high school juniors and seniors who do not have plans for college to simultaneously complete high school graduation requirements and pursue technical certification. Subject to available funding, the program pays for the student's tuition up to the in-state rate, applicable community college fees, textbook costs and certification exam fees. Students also complete a career assessment of the school's choice to determine potential career interests. Participating students likewise have access to One-Stop Center employment services. Participating students and their parents, the high school principal, the high school counselor and the community college coordinator must also sign a compact clarifying the respective responsibilities of the student, parent, high school, and Virginia Community College System.
|Washington||As a part of the state's minimum graduation requirements, "Each student shall complete a culminating project for graduation. The project consists of the student demonstrating both their learning competencies and preparations related to learning goals three and four. Each district shall define the process to implement this graduation requirement, including assessment criteria, in written district policy."|
|West Virginia||Effective with the 2008-2009 school year, all high school students must be fully enrolled in a full day of high school and/or college credit bearing courses. It is recommended that students complete a senior project to add rigor and relevance to the senior year.|
© 2017 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 contact the Education Commission of the States’ Communications Department at (303) 299.3609 or email@example.com.
Helping State Leaders Shape Education Policy