The Eaglequill

Class of 2022 New Requirements

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Jaden Brumage, Reporter

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The Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) has announced updated graduation requirements beginning with the Class of 2021.

 

Previously, starting with the Class of 2009, students were required to earn 4.0 credits in English, 3.0 units each in mathematics, science, and social studies, as well as 2.0 units of physical education, 1.5 units of fine arts, and 5.5 credits of elective offerings, totaling a minimum of 22.0 credits.

 

In addition to the 22.0 credits required to earn a diploma in CCSD, eighth graders during the 2016-2017 school year and future classes must now demonstrate “college and career readiness.”

 

Cherry Creek School District’s website states that “in addition to required coursework, all students must demonstrate competency in math and English.” To show their understanding of these subjects, students are required take standardized exams; these include a minimum ACT score of 18 in English and 19 in Math, an AP score of 2 in both subjects, or an SAT score of 430 in English and 460 in Math, among others.

 

According to the National 2017 ACT results, receiving a score of 18 in English ranks students in the 42nd percentile, while receiving a 19 on the math portion is in the 51st percentile; this means that the CCSD graduation standards expect students to surpass about half of the students in the nation on ACT scores, which puts them at an average performance.

 

On the other hand, earning a score of 430 in English on the SAT places students in the 16th percentile, and getting a score of 460 in math places students in the 29th percentile, meaning the minimum graduation requirement scores are well below average.

 

“I predict the testing requirement will encourage many students to study and prepare for the test outside of class,” Kristen Wells, an English teacher at EHS admits.

 

Donna Young, a math teacher, claims that their curriculum is “right on track for teaching students what they need to know to do well on the ACT, SAT, the AP AB Calculus exam, the AP BC Calculus exam, and the AP Statistics exam.”

 

“I see [the new requirements] helping everyone, teachers and students alike, to focus on the skills necessary for college and career readiness,” Douglas Cole, the English department coordinator writes.

 

The decision to update graduation requirements involved a committee of “parents, students, staff, graduates, and local business owners over the past sixteen months,” CCSD claims. The district hopes that with these new mandates, students will develop “innovation, critical thinking skills, real world experiences, problem solving, curiosity, [relevance], communication skills, flexibility, and adaptability.”

 

Amelia Fast, a freshman at Eaglecrest, believes that the requirements are “exceptional.” She goes on to explain that although “[they are] strict, [the district] is preparing kids [with] the level of education they are going to need for daily life.”

 

In addition to this change, CCSD is striving to “focus on innovative teaching, thinking, and learning in a systematic manner for all students, in every school, every day!” Eaglecrest’s mission statement is similar, claiming to “be an exemplary learning community that prepares each and every student for college success.”

 

Even with the benefits of preparing students for college and future careers, these requirements don’t come without “subtle pressure on junior teachers to have students who perform well,” Jim Prager, an English teacher admits. He goes on to add that these tests do “assess skills that students have been amassing and practicing for years.”

 

Cole, Prager, Wells, and Young do not foresee “any major changes to the curriculum or [their] teaching methods” in light of the new standards.

 

The CCSD goals “are giving kids opportunities to go outside of their comfort zones,” Fast claims.

 

As to how the students will respond to the new graduation requirements? Young believes that “[they’re] up to the challenge.”

 

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Class of 2022 New Requirements