In 2021, the Oregon Legislature asked the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to review the state’s high school graduation requirements. The goal: to better understand how well they are working for students, families, employers, and educational and training institutions after high school.
An important focus of our civic engagement work was understanding how equitable graduation requirements are for students who belong to one or more of these groups:
- Tribal members
- LGBTQ2SIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, 2 Spirit, Intersex, Asexual, plus other non-heterosexual orientations or genders)
- English learners
- People with a disability
- People who have been or at present are without a house
- People who are immigrants or refugees
- People who are migrant workers or students from migrant worker families
- Youth in foster care
- Students who have changed high schools
In early 2022, ODE partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to get input from people across the state. We connected with over 3,500 people, living in every county in Oregon: families, students, advocates, teachers and many others. Our discussions happened in person and online, through a statewide survey, and in seven languages. Over half of the people we talked to with belong to one or more of the groups listed above.
Participants in this extensive community engagement effort shared many values and beliefs about how and when students are assessed for high school graduation. People identified inequities they have seen or experienced in meeting graduation requirements, as well as the need for culturally appropriate support for students. We also heard agreement on the kinds of critical skills and knowledge people think are valuable for students after high school. There were also differences in people’s opinions, particularly around the form of assessments and the role the state should play in assessing students.
The Oregon Department of Education used information gathered through community engagement to inform a broader set of recommendations regarding high school graduation requirements to the Oregon Legislature and the State Board of Education. You can read these recommendations here and find out more information here.
The entire Oregon’s Kitchen Table community engagement report and the short summaries of the report in seven languages are below.