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High School Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements matter — it’s important to keep your student on track to succeed.

To help ensure all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in careers, college and life, Oregon changed its graduation standards in the early 2010s to become more rigorous. We believe that every student, with effort and attention, has the capacity to meet these standards. Students will work with high school staff to create and follow a personalized plan to meet the new requirements and get ready to succeed wherever they go next.

To meet graduation standards, students are required to complete 24 credits in core subject areas, as well as demonstrate that they have certain essential skills. This means students will need to:


Earn Credits: Increased Requirements & Credit for Proficiency

Increased Credit Requirements

The State Board of Education strengthened credit requirements in English, math, science, and career and technical skills, making the diploma more rigorous and meaningful. The changes were phased in (2007–2014) in order to allow students, families, schools and teachers to adequately prepare to meet the new requirements.

What this means for your student: It is important to start high school ready for rigorous coursework, and stay on track by successfully completing the correct mix of classes each year. Your student’s education plan and profile will map out a path that, if followed, will take your student through to graduation. If you have questions about whether your student is on track to graduate on time, or what they can do to get back on track, please contact your high school’s counseling office.

Credit for Proficiency

At the same time that credit requirements increased, schools worked to develop new ways in which students may earn full or partial credit by showing that they have met academic area content expectations. Students can earn credits by successfully demonstrating knowledge and skills defined by standards that meet or exceed defined levels of performance.

What this means for your student: In addition to earning credits through standard courses, your student may be able to earn credits toward a diploma by demonstrating proficiency through an appropriate exam, documentation of prior learning experiences, or other means. If you feel this might be appropriate for your student, talk to a school counselor to learn more.


Demonstrate Their Abilities: Essential Skills

In order to graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in certain 21st century skills needed for success in college, careers and civic life.

The following essential skills are a part of graduation requirements:
• Read and comprehend a variety of text (since 2012)
• Write clearly and accurately (since 2013)
• Apply mathematics in a variety of settings (since 2014)

Other important essential skills Oregon identified, but did not incorporate into graduation requirements:
• Listen actively and speak clearly and coherently
• Think critically and analytically
• Use technology to learn, live, and work
• Demonstrate civic and community engagement
• Demonstrate global literacy
• Demonstrate personal management and teamwork

What this means for your student: These essential skills are already being taught in Oregon schools, but the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in order to graduate was added in the early 2010s.

Students will need to meet or exceed expectations for each skill on the high school statewide assessment (OAKS), or an alternate assessment, in order to graduate. Students who do not meet the OAKS benchmarks will be offered targeted assistance and opportunities to retake the test or another approved assessment, or demonstrate proficiency through work samples.


Get Ready to Meet the World: Personalized Learning

These requirements personalize the diploma and help students prepare for their post-graduation goals.

Education Plan and Profile

Students work with school staff to develop a plan that will carry them through high school. Courses are chosen in coordination with students’ interests to guide their learning, document academic achievement, and help them progress toward their personal, career, and post-high school goals.

Career-Related Learning Experiences

Students participate in experiences that connect classroom learning with real-life experiences in the workplace, community and/or school relevant to their education plan.

Extended Application

Students apply and extend their knowledge in new and complex situations related to the student’s personal and career interests and post-high school goals through critical thinking, problem solving, or inquiry in real-world contexts.

Career-Related Learning Standards (CRLS)

Students demonstrate personal management, communication, problem solving, teamwork, employment foundations and career development. The CRLS merged with the Essential Skills in 2012.


Learn More

For more information about the new graduation requirements and how you can help ensure your student is on track to graduate on time, please contact your school’s counseling office.

Visit the Oregon Department of Education website for more information.