What Schools Need to Know on GRAD Requirements

By May 30, 2013 No Comments

A major focus of this session’s work revolved around graduation requirements. As this year’s class of seniors get ready to make the diploma walk, here are some things to keep in mind:

Effective Dates
The new E-12 bill amends MS 120B.02 (Educational Expectations and Graduation Requirements for MN Students) by eliminating the GRAD exams (MS 120B.30). This is effective August 1, 2013, and applies to students entering grade 9 in the 2013-2014 school year.

The new bill also amends MS 120B.30 (Statewide Testing) by eliminating basic skills exams and cut scores. This change is in paragraph (a) in the E-12 bill, which matters because the effective dates for these changes are as follows:

“This section is effective the day following final enactment and applied to the 2013-2014 school year and later, except that paragraph (a) applies the day following final enactment and the requirements for using computer-adaptive mathematics and reading assessments for grades 3 through 7 apply in the 2015-2016 school year and later. The series of assessments contracted for under paragraph (d) apply in the 2014-2015 school year and later.”

The key part of that complex effective date provision is “paragraph (a),” which is the paragraph that includes the basic skills exam and cuts scores.  Since it’s effective the day after final enactment, which was May 22, 2013 when the Governor signed the E-12 bill into law,  the cut scores don’t apply for those kids graduating this year.

Graduating Seniors
A note from MDE…
Because of the immediate need to make decisions affecting graduation this spring, here are the changes affecting this year’s graduating seniors. Further details about other policy changes will be provided by MDE as they are available.

For students enrolled in grade 8 through the 2009­–2010 school year (which includes this year’s graduating seniors), students can meet the graduation assessment requirement by:

  1. Meet the GRAD assessment requirements in Reading, Mathematics and/or Written Composition as previously required under in Minnesota statutes 120B.30, including meeting requirements through alternate pathways like ELL Exemption, mathematics alternate pathway, reciprocity, or individual passing scores
  2. By taking one of the following:
      • WorkKeys job skills assessment
      • Compass college placement test
      • ACT assessment for college admission
      • A nationally recognized armed services vocational aptitude test.
      • A score from an alternative, equivalent assessment as determined by the school district (e.g., SAT, ACCUPLACER).

Here are a few scenarios of students enrolled in grade 8 through the 2009–10 school year:

  • Student A passed the Written Composition GRAD and met the mathematics graduation assessment requirement through the mathematics alternate pathway. Student A has not passed the Reading GRAD but has taken the ACT. Under the new legislation, Student A has now met the graduation assessment requirements based on taking the ACT and would be eligible to receive a diploma if all other requirements for graduation have been met.
  • Student B recently moved to Minnesota from another state but did not qualify for reciprocity. Student B has not yet passed any GRAD retests and has not yet completed enough Mathematics GRAD retests to qualify for the mathematics alternate pathway. However, since Student B has completed the Compass college placement test, he is now eligible to receive a diploma if all other requirements have been met.

NOTE: The information provided above applies to students enrolled in grade 8 through the 2009­–2010 school year who are under age 21; additional policy information regarding the graduation assessment requirements for students who are over age 21 will be provided by MDE when it is available.