For both math and science, more than 60% of diploma recipients exceeded the minimum requirements whereas about a quarter of graduates just met the minimum requirements.
Of the students graduating in 1992, about 12% failed to meet the state's minimum requirements in math and/or science. Eight percent failed to meet math requirements and 5% failed to meet science requirements.
High-achieving students are found to be substantially less likely to graduate without meeting all requirements while students exhibiting risk factors for dropping out of school are significantly more likely to receive a diploma despite failing to meet state course credit requirements in mathematics and science.
Students attending schools in states with more rigorous graduation credit requirements exhibited an increased probability of receiving a diploma without being eligible to do so.
Lax implementation and enforcement of graduation credit requirements is not a phenomenon that arose only recently, but it may be becoming more common as states continue to increase the number of credits required for high school graduation.
For policy makers, this study provides further evidence that top-down reforms lacking accountability, oversight, or enforcement mechanisms may be implemented inconsistently, if at all.
Future research would do well to investigate the extent to which implementation and enforcement at the local level- or the lack thereof- may be responsible for the disconnect between expectations and realizations of other education policies.
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