Portland approves changes to graduation requirements

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- School districts across the state are revamping graduation requirements to comply with state law.

A law passed two years ago mandates schools move away from credit hour requirements, and move to a "proficiency-based" diploma.

Tuesday night, the Portland School Board approved a set of new standards that goes into effect this fall.

School board members say their requirements go above and beyond what the state outlined.

In addition to demonstrating proficiency in the eight areas of the Maine Learning Results, including English, math, science and technology, students in Portland will have to complete a capstone project and create a post-secondary plan.

The post-secondary plan can include applying to college, or a job certification program.

The law applies to diplomas earned in 2017, meaning the curriculum changes for high school freshmen this fall. The state has announced that it will let districts apply for up to two year extensions to change graduation requirements.

The chair of the Portland Task Force, Kate Snyder, says this marks a shift in education across the state.

"There is that sort of flexibility so it's not just about the magic four years, or the time in a seat," said Snyder. "It's really about, are you able to demonstrate that you've mastered a subject area, that you can demonstrate proficiency, and that we're all satisfied that you're ready to move on."


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