State Boards Wrestle with Graduation Policy during Pandemic
One of the first challenges state boards of education faced this spring was what to do for the roughly 3.5 million high school seniors whose graduations were derailed by the coronavirus. Most state policymakers across the country readily suspended end of-year assessments and granted diplomas to those who were on track to graduate.
A few states issued early, detailed guidance that fleshed out what “on track” meant, delved into the options for those who were off track, looked ahead at K-11 grade advancement, and addressed the equity challenges of each.
Many state boards and education agencies reached out to others to inform this work. To help smooth the path for college-bound seniors, states such as North Carolina solicited feedback from local superintendents and university admission directors before issuing guidance. To craft guidance on continued learning, Kansas and Illinois quickly assembled groups of educators, superintendents, and others—a critical step for informing the monumental task of simultaneously ensuring student safety, readiness for college and careers, and equity across schools and districts.