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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 7, 2001
Contact:Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Local Graduation Requirements Are Detailed in a Report by MA Department of Education

Malden - The Massachusetts Department of Education has released a report detailing the local requirements for graduation from public high school.

Based on information provided by each district, the report shows that:

  • Nearly all Massachusetts local and regional public high schools require their students to take and pass four years of English classes
  • Eighty-seven percent require at least three years of history
  • Seventy-eight percent require three years or more of mathematics
  • Two thirds require at least three years of science, and
  • One third require students to pass a foreign language requirement
  • This report refutes assertions that the MCAS tests are the "sole requirement" for graduation.

    Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll said, "At a time when some say that passing MCAS tests should not be the ‘sole’ graduation requirement, it is clear to me that too many people are not aware that all graduation requirements but one are set by the local school districts. The fact is that passing a standards-based English and math test is the only state requirement, and all remaining ones, the vast majority of rules for graduation, are local."

    "I want to re-emphasize that state law calls for students to pass an academic test to qualify for a diploma. Our students need to leave high school with stronger skills in English and Math. In my view, this is a minimal standard of accountability, one that is attainable, and one that is fair and reasonable to the people of the Commonwealth who have supported Education Reform with $7 billion of new money since 1993."

    The report surveyed all Massachusetts public comprehensive high schools, vocational-technical schools, and charter high schools.

    Twenty-six of the thirty vocational-technical and county agricultural high schools in the state list graduation requirements in years rather than credits. Of those schools 100% require four years of English, 100% require a minimum of three years of math, 76% require at least three years of science and 72% require three or four years of history.

    Eight of the 11 charter high schools list graduation requirements in years. All eight require four years of English, at least three years of science (half actually require four years), and three years of history. Seven of the eight require four years of math and have a foreign language requirement.

    To view the entire report, go to

    Last Updated: March 7, 2001
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