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High School Credit Flexibility Vote

Photo of students in class

SBOE approved final Credit Flexibility Regulations during our Public Meeting on March 16, 2016. This critical step created flexibility beyond the time-based Carnegie unit for students to earn high school credit. In order to hear the voices of stakeholders across all wards, a Task Force convened by the State Board of Education of the District of Columbia was chaired by Laura Wilson Phelan, SBOE Member from Ward 1. The Task Force's report and recommendations were adopted by the State Board. You can read their final report "Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Report and Recommendations of the High School Credit Flexibility Task Force" below.  The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) created proposed regulations based on these final recommendations.

Breaking Down Final #DCCreditFlex Regulations:

1. Waivers: Schools may apply for a waiver to create competency-based courses. Competency-based education provides more personalized learning that allows students to move at their own pace, whether it is faster or slower. Students can only move to the next level once they have demonstrated mastery of the necessary skills. 

2. Changes to Algebra I: Currently, all Districts high school freshman are required to take Algebra I. The new regulations will delay that requirement until students are in the 10th grade. This change comes from feedback from educators that many ninth grade students are not ready for this challenging content. The new regulations will allow schools flexibility in preparing students for the rigor of Algebra, while still allowing students to graduate in four years.

3. Data-Driven Decisions:  OSSE will report on the impact of competency-based learning that will result from this rule. The report will explore best practices and places for improvement. For example, there will be an assessment of what tactics and types of competency-based learning has worked for DC's students.  

With these new regulations, schools can now apply for a waiver to offer competency-based courses. The task force determined that it was important to maintain the Carnegie Unit as the default means for earning credit to allow for controlled innovation and scaling of the most successful approaches. These changes will allow schools to innovate with competency-based education without forcing our school system to overhaul their current credit-giving framework before it is ready to do so. The State Board of Education will continue to analyze the best usage of competency-based education in District public schools as it tackles high school graduation requirements this year.