The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has approved an additional .5 units of social studies to the high school graduation requirements for incoming freshman beginning August of 2015. The graduating class of 2019 will be required to complete at least 3.0 units of social studies course work. The Utah Legislature is also considering increasing the number of math classes required for graduation. SB196 unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on Friday. The Bill would require the mathematics change to begin in the 2016-2017 school year. Essentially, if a student plans to attend college they will be required to show math competency at a college-entry level through demonstrating proficiency on an advanced placement test, a college placement exam, international baccalaureate exam, or the ACT. Currently colleges and universities require an ACT score of 23 or higher to be considered college-entry ready. Students could also receive a “C” grade in a concurrent enrollment mathematics course that satisfies the state system of higher education literacy requirements. Universities currently view completion of Math 1040, 1050, or 1060 as college-entry ready. Students who do not plan to attend a university after high school would be required to obtain a career and technology educational certificate showing adequate math skills for their chosen field. The Bill does not specifically say students will be required to take four years of math in high school but the final result will be an additional year of math for the majority of students. SB196 does not include any additional funding for districts to implement the changes. The increase in the graduation requirements are mandated by the Utah State Board of Education.
–Superintendent Ben Dalton