Recently, numerous articles (here and here and here) have explained or editorialized about the Washington State Board of Education’s likely approval of a proposal to require students to complete 24 credits to graduate instead of the current 19. Since the state only funds 20 of those credits now, more money will need to be provided. Many schools currently use 5 period days, which would then need to restructure. Other factors come into play as well, including how many students currently never reach Algebra II (a new requirement under this new diploma standard).
I am again going to repost an article I wrote back in December of last year about having multiple diplomas. Maybe we can have gold, silver, bronze, and white diplomas or some other classification to show the level of work completed by students. Maybe the new standards–while not required of all students–could be the requirement for earning the top diploma. I still believe giving all kids the same diploma is disingenuous and somewhat deceptive. A diploma should reflect what is learned, the level of achievement. Here is my old post entitled “Differentiated Diplomas“:
I often wonder if a partial solution to helping colleges, trade schools, and employers determine the worthiness of students for their programs and businesses is the diploma itself. I anticipate my solution will not be popular among certain groups, but I do think it could eliminate some of debate over assessing student backgrounds and achievement.
My rough idea for four diplomas, which I would probably color code rather than officially name:
1 – The first diploma would be one where the student took the most rigorous coursework available, essentially an honors diploma for most students. Students could have their coursework scored on a points basis, and if enough points are earned then they would receive this diploma.
2 – The second diploma would be for students who took the mainstream (“normal” or typical) courses available to them when they have not earned enough points for the first diploma.
3 – The ELL (ESL) diploma for students who took a number of sheltered or ELL courses rather than reaching the basic standards or taking the basic course load of the mainstream student.
4 – The special education diploma for students with a large number of special education courses as part of their academic course loads. If the special education courses were merely support for the mainstream courses, then the second diploma would be earned.
These are just rough thoughts but make me wonder if it could be a potential assistance to determining or assessing student achievement. It may even lead to the elimination of the vast monies spent on testing and instead spent on more direct means of assisting students.
Just an idea I think about from time to time.
Any thoughts on this, especially in light of the new proposed higher standards?