Changes To Graduation Requirements

CHS Head Counselor Guadalupe Armendariz

For many students, graduating has become even more challenging thanks to the requirements changing over the years. 

A decade ago, the conditions to graduate were different than they are today. Students only needed 23 credits to meet the qualifications created by the state according to the New Mexico Public Education Department. For the most part, the amount of credits needed for each subject have remained the same, such as, four credits in english, three credits in social sciences, and one credit in physical education. Except, students must also have received three credits in math, two credits in science, one of which should have a laboratory component and one credit for communication skills or business education. Plus, by the end of the year, the students should have acquired a total of nine elective credits. 

However, students graduating from 2021, and possibly on, have a different set of requirements to graduate as stated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. While the amount of credits needed for each subject- and overall- are the same as today, the testing assessments have changed. With the removal of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Science Based Assessment (SBA), the state finds it compulsory to now pass the Scholastic Assessment Test, better known as the SAT. While the passing scores for each individual subject has yet to be determined, they will be the new required tests to graduate. 

Though for the graduating class of 2020, they need not worry about any changes to the graduation requirements according to the Head Counselor of Chaparral High School, Guadalupe Armendariz. You’ll still need 26 credits to graduate. Needing to receive 4 credits in both english and math, 3.5 in social studies, 3 in science (2 with lab), 2 in a foreign language, 1 in physical education, 0.5 in health, and 8 credits for electives. Plus, one of the classes that the students will be taking must be an advanced placement (AP), dual credit, or distance learning. 

 Also, despite New Mexico removing PARCC completely, students graduating in 2020 will not be forced to take any other tests to meet the new requirements implemented by the state. So yes, passing scores earned on PARCC tests taken in their junior year will be counted and will be considered the test assessments needed for graduation as stated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. The passing score for PARCC is 725 for both math and english. Students must also earn a score of 1138 in the New Mexico Science Based Assessment (SBA) along with passing one of their End of Course exams (EOC) to meet graduation requirements. 

Additional graduation requirements include: students paying their debt, filling out certain forms, and fulfilling attendance policies. If students don’t pay back their debts, they are permitted to graduate, but the school is allowed to hold onto their diploma. Students are also obligated to fill out two forms: the Next Step Plan which must be checked over by their counselor and the Clearing Out form that has to be signed by their teachers and other staff members. Lastly, students must have good attendance, it’s the main reason that keeps students from graduating according to Armendariz.