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Michigan High School Graduation Requirements. August 2006. Why…Economic Survival. Our students face both national and international competition Research shows many students are not prepared to succeed in college or workplace Courses like Algebra II are new gateway to higher paying jobs

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Michigan high school graduation requirements
Michigan High School Graduation Requirements

August 2006

Michigan high school graduation requirements

Why…Economic Survival

  • Our students face both national and international competition

  • Research shows many students are not prepared to succeed in college or workplace

  • Courses like Algebra II are new gateway to higher paying jobs

  • Michigan’s economic success is tied to a well-educated workforce

Michigan high school graduation requirements

Strong math and science backgrounds

Creative problem solvers

Effective communicators

Leadership qualities

Flexibility - ability to adapt

A minimum of 14 years of education

Why…Employers Want

College ready is work ready
College-ready is Work-ready

“…we know that the skills expected for college are also the skills needed to enter today’s workforce. So whether students plan further education or work after high school graduation, they need to graduate college-ready.”

On Course for Success ACT

History of high school requirements
History of High School Requirements

  • Cherry Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth

  • Yearlong study of resources, districts and best practices

  • State Board of Education leads the movement

  • Extraordinary partnership between Executive and Legislative branches

History of high school requirements1
History of High School Requirements

  • Legislation signed by Governor Granholm on April 20, 2006 created a set of rigorous high school requirements

  • State graduation requirements become most comprehensivein nation

  • New requirements effective Class of 2011 except for Languages other than English: 2016

Successful high school programs
Successful High School Programs

  • High expectations

  • Rigorous requirements

  • Academic studies applied to real-world situations and projects

  • Challenging career/technical studies

  • Work-based learning opportunities

School environment
School Environment

  • Teachers working together

  • Students actively engaged

  • Productive senior year

  • Guidance

  • Support structures

    High Schools That Work,

    Southern Regional Education Board

    June 2005

Collaboration is the key
Collaboration is the Key

Our Partners

  • Higher Education

  • Local School District Staff

  • ISD and RESA Consultants

  • Career and Technical Educators

  • Special Education and Support Staff

  • Content and Curriculum Consultants

  • Professional Organizations

  • Others

Overview of michigan merit curriculum
Overview of Michigan Merit Curriculum

2011 Requirements (2006 8th grade class)

  • 4 English Language Arts

  • 4 Mathematics (1 in senior year)

  • 3 Science

  • 3 Social Studies

  • 1 Physical Education/Health

  • 1 Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts

  • On-line course/experience

    2016 Requirements (2006 3rd grade class)

  • 2 credits/experience in Languages other than English

Courageous leadership
Courageous Leadership

  • “By enacting the Michigan Merit Curriculum, the Michigan Legislature and Governor Granholm…the State Board of Education and the Department of Education have catapulted Michigan from the state that demanded among the least…to one of the states that demands the most.

  • Enacting Michigan Merit Curriculum required political leadership and courage. Implementing it well will require the skill and dedication of Michigan’s educators, a challenge they are surely up to.”

    • Michael Cohen

    • President and CEO of Achieve, Inc.

What was mde s charge
What Was MDE’s Charge?

  • Create a set of subject matter content expectations and guidelines that will ensure rigorous learning for all students in high school so as to meet the requirements of the Michigan Merit Curriculum

  • Convene committees that represent the highest levels of expertise

What was mde s charge1
What Was MDE’s Charge?

  • Align expectations to national and international standards

  • Submit work for public and national reviews

  • Publish documents that are useful to teachers, parents, students, and the community

Michigan merit curriculum
Michigan Merit Curriculum

  • The Michigan Merit Curriculum represents the credits required for graduation in specific subject areas and learning experiences

    • Course/Credit Content Expectations for:

      • English Language Arts

      • Mathematics

      • Science

      • Social Studies

    • Subject Area/Learning Experience Guidelines for:

      • Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts (VPAA)

      • Physical Education/Health

      • Online Learning

      • Languages other than English (LOTE)

Michigan high school graduation requirements

High School Course/Credit Content Expectations

Michigan high school graduation requirements

Who Was Involved?

  • Academic Work Groups

    • Chaired by Higher Education

    • Other representative members

      • Local and Intermediate School Districts

      • Professional Organizations

      • Career & Technical Education

  • Review Committees

  • Web Review

  • National Review

    • Achieve, Inc. – ELA and Mathematics

    • Council of State Science Supervisors

    • North American Council for Online Learning

What was developed
What Was Developed?

  • High School Content Expectations (HSCE)

    • The “universe” of recommended content during a 4 year high school experience

  • Course/Credit Content Expectations (CCE)

    • Specific course/credit content requirements derived from the “universe” of the HSCE

Michigan high school graduation requirements

Course/Credit Content Expectations

  • Build on and extend

    - Michigan K-8 Grade Level Content Expectations and the K-8 Educational Experience

    - Michigan Curriculum Framework

    - Career and Employability Skills Standards and Benchmarks

Michigan high school graduation requirements

Course/Credit Content Expectations

  • Are aligned with national standards and recommendations from:

    • American Diploma Project (ADP) and Achieve, Inc.,

    • National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association

    • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)

    • College Board (SAT)

    • National Assessment Evaluation Program (NAEP) and National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB)

    • American College Testing Program (ACT)

English language arts
English Language Arts

  • Required: 4 credits

  • Credit content is defined by units

    • 4 model units per credit (year)

    • Anchor texts narrative/informational

    • Organized by Big Ideas

    • Increasing levels of complexity and sophistication

  • Emphasis on Reading, Writing, and Informational Text


  • Required: 4 Credits

  • Credit content is developed for:

    • Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Statistics, and Integrated Mathematics

  • Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II are required

  • Senior year of math is required – to be selected from district or online options, and/or dual enrollment

  • Sequence is not mandated

  • Legislation lists examples, list not exclusive

  • Integrated math allowed


  • Required: 3 Credits

  • Credit content is developed for:

    • Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

  • Biology required of everyone

  • Choice of Physics or Chemistry

  • 3rd credit to be selected from district or online options, and/or dual enrollment

  • Legislation encourages 4th credit

  • Sequence not mandated

Social studies
Social Studies

  • Required: 3 credits

  • Credit content is being developed for:

    • U.S. History and Geography, Civics, Economics, and World History and Geography

  • 1 credit in U.S. History and Geography

  • .5 credit in Civics

  • .5 credit in Economics

  • 1 credit in World History and Geography

  • Anticipated approval and dissemination 2007

Course credit guidelines
Course/Credit Guidelines

  • The Course/Credit Guidelines (CCG)

    • Provide high schools with general content and processes

    • Local school districts will assign credits based on their course/credit offerings that are aligned to the Course/Credit Guidelines

    • Guidelines are aligned to Michigan Curriculum Framework, Career and Technical Education Standards, and/or other program area guidelines

Visual performing and applied arts
Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts

  • Required: 1 credit

  • Guidelines are developed for:

    • Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts

  • The goal is to provide students with experience in the entire artistic/creative process

  • Guidelines focus on artistic/creative processes rather than defining set of courses that meet guidelines

  • Credit assignment is up to local school district

Physical education health
Physical Education/Health

  • Required: 1 credit

  • Guidelines are being developed for:

    • Health and Physical Education

  • Physical Education and Health requirements may be met in other course/credit areas that meet the established guidelines

Online requirement
Online Requirement

  • Requirement: No credit by law requires online learning experience

  • Guidelines for this learning experience have been developed

    • Credit or non-credit course or learning experience


    • District has integrated online learning into each credit area required for graduation

  • MDE identifies basic level of technology and internet access for requirement to be in effect

Languages other than english
Languages Other Than English

  • Required:

    • 2 credits in high school


    • Course work or other learning experiences prior to/during high school (K-12)

  • American Sign Language (ASL) and Heritage Languages qualify toward this requirement

  • Requirement may be met on-line

Timeline for course credit content expectations and guidelines
Timeline for Course/Credit Content Expectations and Guidelines

  • Course/Credit Content Expectations and Guidelines will be presented to the State Board and made available on the MDE website on August 4, 2006:

    • English Language Arts: Units for 9th and 10th grades

    • Mathematics: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II,

      Precalculus, Statistics

    • Science: Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

    • Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts

    • Online Experience

Timeline for course credit content expectations and guidelines1
Timeline for Course/Credit Content Expectations and Guidelines

  • Course/Credit Content Expectations and Guidelines projected for 2007

    • Social Studies: U.S. History and Geography, Economics, Civics, World History and Geography

    • Languages other than English (LOTE): Guidelines for credit and experience

Performance matters
Performance Matters

What’s New

Meet or exceed content expectations

Perform and demonstrate competency

Assign credit based on meeting expectations

What We Know

  • Currently

  • Pass or fail

  • Seat time

  • Individual courses

Courses vs credits
Courses vs. Credits

Student earns credit by:

  • Successfully completing the learning expectations in the Course/Credit Content Expectations for the credit area

  • Successful completion to be determined, in part, by state or local district assessments

  • “Testing out” allowed based on earning qualifying score on state or local assessments

Courses vs credits cont d
Courses vs. Credits,cont’d.

  • Graduation requirements intended to be standards/competency-based

  • Requirements do not imply courses, seat time, Carnegie Units

  • Legislation says districts may offer credits through “alternate methods” (e.g. Humanities, CTE, Industrial Technology, Voc-Ed, or combination)

Courses vs credits cont d1
Courses vs. Credits,cont’d.

  • Credit requirement can be met in variety of ways and in other courses

    • Career Technical Education

    • Community based learning

    • Independent study/project work

  • High school credit may be earned for high school level courses taken prior to high school

Courses vs credits cont d2
Courses vs. Credits,cont’d.

  • Legislation does not prohibit student satisfying credit requirements through:

    • Dual enrollment

    • Advanced Placement

    • International Baccalaureate

    • Other “early college” experiences or programs

Michigan merit curriculum assessments
Michigan Merit Curriculum Assessments

  • By April 2009 the MDE must develop or select and approve assessments districts may use to measure achievement in at least the required credit areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies by:

    • End-of-course exams

    • Possible incremental (semester) assessments

Michigan merit curriculum assessments1
Michigan Merit Curriculum Assessments

  • Local districts may use own assessments to measure achievement in credits

  • New law authorizes local district to institute Michigan Merit Exam (MME) as graduation requirement

Personal curriculum
Personal Curriculum

  • Must meet high school requirements except as designated by law

  • Graduation requirements may be modified through the “Personal Curriculum”

Personal curriculum1
Personal Curriculum

  • Developed by team comprised of: the student, parent/guardian, high school counselor or staff member designated by principal

  • No age or grade level specified

  • Should incorporate as much of graduation requirements as practicable

Personal curriculum cont d
Personal Curriculum,cont’d.

  • Shall include measurable goals and evaluation

  • Aligned with student’s Educational Development Plan (EDP from 7th grade)

  • Final plan must be approved by parents and district superintendent

  • Parents must communicate with teachers once each quarter to assess progress

Sample student schedule career technical education emphasis
Sample Student Schedule - Career Technical Education Emphasis

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Period 1

English 9

English 10

English 11

English 12

Period 2

Algebra I


Algebra II


Period 3

World History

US History



Period 4



Period 5


Visual, Performing, and Applied (VPAA)

Period 6





LOTE: Languages other than English

Sample student schedule instrumental music emphasis
Sample Student Schedule -Instrumental Music Emphasis

4x4 block a b block
4x4 Block A/B Block

First Semester or A Schedule

Second Semester or B Schedule

Trimester schedule
Trimester Schedule

Special education
Special Education

  • All graduation requirements apply

  • Student’s IEP supports the student to achieve graduation

  • The IEP must identify the appropriate supports to successfully complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum or through a Personal Curriculum

Support for students at risk
Support for Students At Risk

Students at risk of failure or dropping out

  • District must provide parents information on tutoring, support, counseling services that are available, such as:

    • 31A programs/services

    • Services required through NCLB (if school receives Title 1 funds)

    • Other school/district-based services

District modification
District Modification

  • District must make available opportunities to meet all graduation requirements by beginning of 2007-08 school year (when next year’s 8th graders enter 9th grade)

  • If not available in the district itself, other arrangements such as:

    • Co-op agreements with neighboring district(s)

    • Online options

    • Dual enrollment

    • Distance learning

District modification1
District Modification

  • If district still can not provide required opportunities, may apply for approval of phase-in plan

    • MDE to develop guidelines

  • Phase-in, no permanent waivers

  • If district can not meet requirements, MDE will work with district to develop plan

Specialty schools
Specialty Schools

  • State Superintendent may designate up to 15 “Specialty Schools”

  • Exempt from the 4 ELA credits

  • Exempt from the 3 Social Studies credits

  • Must require 4 credits of Science, with no modification

  • No modification of Math credits

Specialty schools cont d
Specialty Schools, cont’d.

  • Must incorporate significant Reading and Writing in curriculum

  • Specialized, innovative curriculum using national or international models

  • Mean scores on Math and Science sections of ACT must be 10% above local district

Specialty schools cont d1
Specialty Schools,cont’d.

  • Must have an 85% graduation rate

  • Must have 75% enrolled in post-secondary

  • Students and parents must be notified if school doesn’t meet Michigan Merit graduation requirements

  • Student transferring to another school would be required to meet graduation requirements

School accreditation
School Accreditation

  • State accreditation of high schools dependent upon schools providing opportunities to meet all graduation requirements

  • Beginning 2008-09 school year, no high school will be accredited unless such opportunities are provided

  • Law provides for consequences for schools failing to be accredited for 3 consecutive years

Mde obligations
MDE Obligations

  • Develop Course/Credit Content Expectations for subject areas named in legislation

  • Develop guidelines for:

    • PE/Health

    • Visual, Performing, and Applied Arts

    • Online Learning Experience

    • Languages other than English (experiences K-12)

  • Alternative delivery methods

  • District phase-in requirements

Mde obligations cont d
MDE Obligations,cont’d.

  • Within 3 years developor select and approve assessments that may be used by the district for the Course/Credit requirements (at a minimum) in:

    • English Language Arts

    • Mathematics

    • Science

    • Social Studies

  • Develop guidelines for applications for “specialty schools”

District obligations
District Obligations

  • Opportunities in place by 2007-08 school year to meet all graduation requirements

  • If not, proposal for phase-in plan

  • Educational Development Plan for 7th graders to be completed by time student enters high school

District obligations cont d
District Obligations,cont’d.

  • Graduation credit areas taught by “highly qualified” (NCLB) teachers

  • Notice to parents of students failing or in danger of dropping out

  • Basic technology and internet access in place to support on-line requirement

Find information on web
Find Information on Web

Michigan.gov/highschool (with link to HSCE site)




Michigan.gov/oeaa (MME/ACT information)


Michigan.gov/mathematics (mathematics resources)


ACT.org (policy makers) On Course for Success


ACT.org (policy makers) Reading Between the Lines


ACT.org (College Readiness Standards)


Mde contact information
MDE Contact Information

Jeremy M. Hughes, Ph.D.

Deputy Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer


Dr. Yvonne Caamal Canul, Director

Office of School Improvement


Betty Underwood, Assistant Director

Office of School Improvement


Deborah Clemmons, Supervisor

Office of School Improvement