Even as graduation rates rise, policymakers and families wonder: Does a high school diploma mean that students are ready for what comes next? Graduates wonder: Did I take the right classes and have the experiences I need to pursue the future I envision for myself? State leaders should be reflecting too: Do our state policies set the right expectations so that all students graduate college and career ready? Do we tell parents and students what they need to know so that families can make choices about their children’s futures?
To try to understand these questions, Achieve analyzed the 93 diploma options available across all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the class of 2014. The analysis looked at how many diplomas a state offered, whether a state offered a diploma that met college- and career-ready (CCR) expectations in English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics course requirements, assessment requirements associated with earning a diploma, and if or how student outcomes were reported by diploma type.