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November 4, 2019
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Board of Regents and Education Department Launch Phase I of Review of New York State Graduation Measures

Achieve Starts Literature Review of Research and Practices in Other States and Countries

Board of Regents Regional Meetings to Kick Off in January

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Provide $100,000 Grant for Information Gathering Phase of the Initiative

The Board of Regents and State Education Department today started the first phase in the review of graduation measures in New York State. The information gathering phase includes partnering with Achieve to conduct a review of the relevant research and practices in other states and countries. In addition, the Regents and Department will hold regional meetings starting in January 2020 to help gather feedback on five guiding questions to help inform the work of a Blue Ribbon Commission to be formed next year. Further, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a $100,000 grant to support the Department’s Phase I activities.

“As we begin the process of reviewing what a diploma in New York State should look like, it is imperative that we gather input from as many stakeholders and interested parties as possible and examine what is working in other states,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “New York is home to some of the brightest minds in the education profession and I look forward to receiving and considering their valuable input throughout this important and essential conversation. Through these efforts, we will help ensure that every child in New York state has equitable access to a high-quality education.”

“With the support of our partners, the Department is excited to kick off the first phase in our efforts to examine graduation measures in New York State,” said Interim State Education Commissioner Beth Berlin.  “I thank Achieve, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BOCES and the Big 5 school districts for their support of the Department in Phase I. The Department remains committed to reducing opportunity and achievement gaps that impact so many of our students. We must be diligent and thoughtful as we reconsider what a high school diploma should signify and how to meet the needs of every student in New York.”

“Achieve is pleased to support New York in its important effort to review high school graduation requirements,” said Michael Cohen, President of Achieve. “Throughout our 23-year history, we have worked with many states to review and strengthen their graduation requirements to improve students’ readiness for college and careers. We look forward to partnering with the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to ensure that New York’s high school graduates are well-prepared for their next steps.”

Conducting a Literature Review & Practices in Other States and Countries

The Department is partnering with Achieve on Phase I: Information Gathering activities to compile research and regional meeting feedback to present to the Board of Regents. For the research component, Achieve will:

  • Conduct a literature review of the research on graduation requirements and the practices in other states as well as international models. This will include, but not be limited to, research conducted by the Metropolitan Center at NYU and the Research Alliance of NYC schools;
  • Focus on innovative models and how states aim to improve college and career readiness through these policies and practices; and
  • Provide a report and presentation to the Board in February 2020.

Hosting Regional Meetings

Regional workgroup meetings to gather stakeholder and public feedback will be held starting in January and will run through March. At least one meeting will be held in each judicial district and will be led by the local Board of Regents Member, the BOCES District Superintendent and Big Five district staff as well as State Education Department staff.  For anyone unable to attend a regional meeting but wishing to contribute feedback, a public comment email box has been established. Comments may be submitted to

The meetings will include the opportunity for attendees to break out into small groups to discuss each of five guiding questions and provide feedback to the Department. Achieve will synthesize and compile the feedback from each regional meeting, as well as feedback received in writing, and provide a written report to the Board of Regents that will be presented in Spring 2020. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Support

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a $100,000 grant to support the work being done in Phase I. This will enable a part-time project manager to be hired to support this initiative and provide support for some of Achieve’s work.  Achieve is providing the literature review in Phase I at no cost to the Department.

Re-examining Graduation Measures in New York State

Chancellor Rosa committed to rethinking New York’s graduation measures in February 2019 and in July 2019, the Board of Regents announced it will create a Blue Ribbon Commission to review the State’s high school graduation measures and reaffirm what it means to obtain a diploma in New York State. 

The Commission will examine what a State diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State. The Commission will consider whether state exit exams, as a sole measure, improve student achievement, graduation rates, and career and college readiness. The Commission will look at whether adding other measures of achievement could better serve New York’s diverse student population as indicators of what they know and if they are career and college ready. Phase I: Information Gathering activities are intended to inform the Commission’s work.

Keeping the Public Informed

To allow for a transparent and meaningful information gathering process, the Department has created a Graduation Measures website which will feature updates throughout the process and has established a listserv that is open to anyone wishing to receive updates. For those interested in signing up for the listserv, please visit the NYSED website for additional information. The Department will also provide updates via traditional social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with #NYSGradMeasures.

Media Contact

Reporters and education writers may contact the Office of Communications by email or phone at:
(518) 474-1201