KSDE Graduation Opinions

At the June 2021 Kansas State Board of Education meeting, Commissioner of Education Randy Watson announced the establishment of a Graduation Requirements Task Force, which include members of the State Board of Education, business leaders, curriculum directors, high school principals, counselors, teachers, KSHSAA, local boards of education and superintendents, charged with examining graduation requirements in Kansas from at least three different lenses:

  • Additional courses or deletion of courses required for graduation (if any).
  • Examination of competencies and multiple ways to show mastery of skills which allow students to move at their own pace and time.
  • Examination of any additional requirements in addition to the high school diploma (value-added assets such as industry recognized certificate, college credits, etc.).

KSDE is asking for your feedback to help guide the work of this group. Please use this link provided to complete a short survey regarding your thoughts on Kansas’ high school graduation requirements.  The deadline to submit feedback is April 15.


KAR 91-31-35 Kansas State Minimum Graduation Requirements

(a) Each local board of education shall adopt a written policy specifying that pupils are
eligible for graduation only upon completion of at least the following requirements:

(1) Four units of English language arts, which shall include reading, writing, literature,
communication, and grammar. The building administrator may waive up to one unit of
this requirement if the administrator determines that a pupil can profit more by taking
another subject

(2) three units of history and government, which shall include world history; United
States history; United States government, including the Constitution of the United
States; concepts of economics and geography; and, except as otherwise provided in
S.B.R. 91-31-32, a course of instruction in Kansas history and government

(3) three units of science, which shall include physical, biological, and earth and space
science concepts and which shall include at least one unit as a laboratory course

(4) three units of mathematics, including algebraic and geometric concepts

(5) one unit of physical education, which shall include health and which may include
safety, first aid, or physiology. This requirement shall be waived if the school district is
provided with either of the following:
     (A) A statement by a licensed physician that a pupil is mentally or physically
incapable of participating in a regular or modified physical education program;
     (B) a statement, signed by a lawful custodian of the pupil, indicating that the
     requirement is contrary to the religious teachings of the pupil

(6) one unit of fine arts, which may include art, music, dance, theatre, forensics, and
other similar studies selected by a local board of education

(7) six units of elective courses

(b) A minimum of 21 units of credit shall be required for graduation.

Local Board Graduation Requirements (KAR 91-31-35)
(c) Any local board of education may increase the number of units of credit required
for graduation. Any additional requirements of the local board of education that
increase the number of units of credit required for graduation shall apply to those
students who will enter the ninth grade in the school year following the effective date
of the additional requirement.

(d) Unless more stringent requirements are specified by existing local policy, the
graduation requirements established by this regulation shall apply to those students
who enter the ninth grade in the school year following the effective date of this
regulation and to each subsequent class of students.

The USD 480 Board of Education currently requires 26 credit hours to graduate, even for students who wish to graduate early.

The USD 480 Board of Education Policy on graduation is as follows:

The board may adopt graduation requirements exceeding the minimums set forth by state regulation. Unless otherwise provided herein, in order to qualify for graduationthe board requires each candidate to earn 26 academic credits of a type meeting state and district requirements. Exceptions may be granted by the superintendent with board approval to waive local graduation requirements that are in excess of the state minimum requirements for students on a case by case basis.

The board shall award a student a diploma if the student is at least 17 years old; is enrolled or resides in the district; was in custody of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), the Secretary for DCF, or other federal agencies at any time on or after the student’s 14th birthday; and has achieved at least the minimum high school graduation requirements adopted by the state board of education.

Other situations which may warrant waiver of graduation requirements in excess of the minimum requirements adopted by the state board include, but may not be limited to, the following circumstances:

  • If such student is an adult learner whose four-year cohorts have graduated; or
  • If such student is attending an alternative school or program and has experienced high mobility, teen pregnancy, long-term illness, or other hardship conditions.