Kansas schools are poised to ditch class hours for real-world training as graduation requirements

A group of educators thinks Kansas should do away with its old standards for graduation that bases credits on the number of hours spend in class. They favor more flexibility that gives credit for other types of learning, such as internships or Eagle Scout projects.


State News

June 24, 2022 - 3:34 PM

Students work on projects during an art class at Topeka West High School. Education leaders in Kansas say classroom time shouldn’t be the only way to earn credits toward a high school diploma. Photo by Kansas News Service/Chris Neal

WICHITA, Kansas — For more than a century, Kansas students have earned credits — and, after enough of them, a high school diploma — based on how much time they spend in a classroom.

The age-old “Carnegie unit” approach to education became the academic law of the land way back in 1906. And it stuck: One credit equals about 120 instructional hours in one subject. Kansas requires students to pass at least 21 credits to graduate from high school.

But a group in charge of evaluating the state’s graduation requirements says that classroom time makes for a poor yardstick for measuring learning. So it argues for ways to let local school districts sub in other metrics more calibrated to the 21st century.

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