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Wyoming Reviews High School Graduation Requirements

Tennessee Watson
Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming is in the process of changing what it takes to get a high school diploma, or what’s more formally known as Chapter 31 rules. In 2015, legislation did away with a tiered diploma system in favor of a more streamlined approach. It’s been a three-year process but the Wyoming Department of Education is hopeful the rules will go into place this summer.

Megan Degenfelder, Chief Policy Officer for the WDE, said there are several changes to the required coursework. For example, computer science can now count towards the science requirement.

“It also allows for high school level courses that have been taken before ninth grade to count as coursework for graduation,” said Degenfelder. “And then lastly it allows for the functional equivalence of coursework. So if a class entitled Awesome Math has the same coursework as Algebra One then it allows that to count as Algebra One.”  

Degenfelder said the changes also strengthen how districts assess students to ensure everyone across the state meets the same minimum graduation requirements. Beyond that districts can add coursework and set higher expectations, according to Degenfelder.

“Most do go above and beyond. But it’s hard to tell because they are kind of all over the board in terms of what they require,” said Degenfelder. “But that’s kind of what’s really important about these Chapter 31 revisions, is that it allows for the same minimum requirement no matter what high school the student graduates from.”

The deadline to comment is June 29th. More information is available from the WDE.  

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

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