Graduation Plan Changes Approved by SBOE

January 21, 2010

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education on Friday gave final approval to changes in the state’s graduation plans, including reversing a plan to phase out the Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC) course for the Recommended High School Program. Members approved dozens of amendments to the draft social studies Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum standards and will continue that review process in March.
The members extensively reviewed and amended the TEKS for kindergarten through eighth grade social studies classes, as well as amending the 11th grade U.S. History since Reconstruction course. They will review and possibly amend the other high school courses and then approve all the social studies TEKS for first reading and filing authorization at the March 10-12 meeting. This vote will initiate the official 30-day public comment period.
Prior to giving final approval to the changes to the state’s graduation plans, the board voted to maintain the IPC course as a science credit on the Recommended High School Program. The board had previously voted to phase the course out. Under the plan approved last week, students on the Recommended High School Program must take a biology, a chemistry and a physics course. They may earn the fourth science credit in IPC but, if they take that course, the class must be successfully completed prior to taking chemistry and physics classes.
The board also amended physical education (P.E.) requirements to effectively cap the number of P.E. credits that can be earned at four. While only one P.E. credit is required for graduation, the credits can be earned by taking any combination of the following classes: Foundations of Personal Fitness, Adventure/Outdoor Education; Aerobic Activities and Team or Individual Sports.
Credit for any of those courses may be earned through participation in athletics or Junior ROTC or appropriate private or commercially-sponsored physical activity programs for a maximum of four credits or participation in marching band, cheerleading or drill team for up to one credit.
Other changes given final ratification include:
• Eliminating the requirement that students take a health class;
• Eliminating the requirement that students take a technology applications class;
• Increasing the number of elective credits to 7.5 for the Minimum Graduation Program and 4.5 for the DAP.
Those changes bring the Minimum and Distinguished Achievement Programs into alignment with changes made by the Legislature to the Recommended High School Program.

Additional detailed information regarding changes to all three graduation program will be shared through correspondence to districts and will soon be posted on the following website: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/graduation.aspx.