NYSED Unveils Recommendations for Graduation Measures Overhaul

(WNY News Now) – The New York State Education Department (NYSED) took a significant step forward today as Commissioner Betty A. Rosa presented the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures to the Board of Regents. This marks a pivotal moment in the Graduation Measures Initiative, an ambitious endeavor aiming to redefine diploma standards in the state, incorporating input from diverse stakeholders, including students, educators, parents, and business representatives.

Albany – Commissioner Betty A. Rosa unveiled the comprehensive recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures to the New York State Board of Regents. The Graduation Measures Initiative, an unprecedented collaborative effort, engaged a broad spectrum of stakeholders, emphasizing the inclusion of student perspectives, to chart a course toward a more inclusive and dynamic education system in the state.

The Blue Ribbon Commission, guided by extensive research, stakeholder feedback, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, has put forth a roadmap for a learning-centered education that addresses the unique needs of every student in New York State. Grounded in the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, the initiative aims to foster equity and equip students with the practical skills essential for the evolving demands of the future workforce.

The key recommendations outlined by the Blue Ribbon Commission are as follows:

  1. Unified Diploma: Replace the current three diploma types with a single diploma, offering the flexibility to include seals and endorsements.
  2. Expanded Credit Requirements: Enrich diploma credit requirements by incorporating civic responsibility (ethics), cultural competence, financial literacy education, fine and performing arts, STEM credits, and real-world scenario writing skills.
  3. Enhanced Access to CTE: Ensure universal access to career and technical education (CTE), including internships and work-based learning opportunities for all students across the state.
  4. Revamped Credit Organization: Restructure credit requirements into broader categories, facilitating a more holistic approach to education.
  5. Flexible Assessment Requirements: Reduce and/or modify diploma assessment requirements to allow for more diverse assessment options.
  6. Performance-Based Assessments: Introduce state-developed rubrics for performance-based assessments as an alternative to traditional assessments.
  7. Tailored Graduation Requirements: Develop specific graduation requirements to address the unique circumstances of certain student groups, such as non-compulsory age students, newcomers, and refugees.
  8. Exemptions for Special Circumstances: Provide exemptions from diploma assessment requirements for students facing significant cognitive disabilities or major life events.
  9. Posthumous High School Degrees: Pursue regulatory changes to allow the discretion to confer high school degrees posthumously.
  10. Culturally Responsive Education: Mandate instruction in culturally responsive-sustaining education (CRSE) practices and pedagogy in all New York State teacher preparation programs.
  11. Professional Development Emphasis: Ensure that professional development plans incorporate culturally responsive-sustaining education practices and pedagogy.
  12. Learning Standards Review: Undertake a comprehensive review and revision of the New York State learning standards.

The Department emphasized that while it supported the Commission throughout the process, its staff deliberately refrained from providing suggestions or opinions to maintain the integrity of the recommendations.

Looking ahead, the NYSED is set to embark on the next phase of this initiative. In the coming months, the Department will work on developing proposed guidance, programmatic changes, and regulatory adjustments aligned with the goals and priorities of the Board of Regents regarding this transformative initiative.

For those seeking more details on the Graduation Measures Initiative, additional information is available on the Department’s dedicated Graduation Measures website. This marks a significant stride toward a more inclusive, equitable, and effective education system in the state of New York.

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