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Graduation Guidelines

What Are Graduation Guidelines?

Colorado Graduation Guidelines are a road map to help students and their families plan for success after high school. In order to graduate from high school, students choose from a Menu of Options - adopted at the local school board level - to demonstrate Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) in English and math. The guidelines go into effect for the Class of 2021.

Graduation Cap

What's New?

Regional Conversations - PWR Symposia

Join your peers from neighboring schools and districts for a Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Symposium to talk about implementing PWR initiatives. ​Engage in strategic conversations about capstone, work-based learning, industry certifications, and ICAP. 

  • October 25 – South Metro Denver, hosted by Cherry Creek Schools

  • Nov 7 – Grand Junction, hosted by Mesa County Valley D51 schools

  • Nov 20 - Haxtun, hosted by Northeast BOCES
  • Dec 4 - Buena Vista, hosted by Mountain BOCES 
  • Feb 26 – Limon, hosted by East Central BOCES. Register here.
  • March 10 - Steamboat Springs, hosted by Northwest BOCES. Register here.
  • March 17 - Colorado Springs, hosted by Colorado Springs District 11. Register here.

  • TBA – Alamosa and North Denver Metro

Please return to this website for more dates and locations.

Consider hosting a PWR Symposium next year for your colleagues and those in neighboring districts. View the PWR Symposium Flyer and contact Robin Russel, 303.866.2908,

Menu of Options

Local school boards establish high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the Colorado Graduation Guidelines for the graduating class of 2021. Local school boards and districts select from this menu to create a list of options that their students must use to show what they know or can do in order to graduate from high school, beginning with the graduating class of 2021.

School districts may offer some or all of the state menu options, may raise a cut score on an included assessment and may add graduation requirements in other content areas.

Graduation Guidelines begin with the implementation of: Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP)21st Century Essential Skills, and Colorado Academic Standards for all content areas, including a course in Civics.

View expanded descriptions and implementation strategies.

Print a copy of the Menu of Options 

Click Menu below to view and print
20 Menu of Options_Small


 Menu of Options




 62 on Reading Comprehension or
 70 on Sentence Skills
 61 on Elementary Algebra
 Next Generation ACCUPLACER  241 on Reading or
 236 on Writing
 255 on Arithmetic (AR) or
 230 on Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra,
         and Statistics (QAS)
 ACT  18 on ACT English  19 on ACT Math
 ACT WorkKeys 
 National Career Readiness Certificate
 Bronze or higher  Bronze or higher
 Advanced Placement (AP)  2  2
 ASVAB   31 on the AFQT  31 on the AFQT
 Concurrent Enrollment  Passing grade per district and
higher education policy
 Passing grade per district and
higher education policy
 District Capstone Individualized Individualized
 Industry Certificate  Individualized  Individualized
 International Baccalaureate (IB)  4  4
 Scores update for new SAT (2016)
 470  500

 Collaboratively-developed, standards-based
 performance assessment

 State-wide scoring criteria  State-wide scoring criteria

Why Graduation Guidelines 

The guidelines have two purposes, the first is to articulate Colorado’s shared beliefs about the value and meaning of a high school diploma. The second is to outline the minimum components, expectations, and responsibilities of local districts and the state to support students in attaining their high school diploma.

Life beyond high school is different from what it used to be. Most jobs in Colorado now and in the future require training or education beyond high school. Students who graduate and work in Colorado will need in-demand skills that meet business, industry, and higher education standards.

What does this mean for me now? 

  • Align Graduation Guidelines with your local graduation requirements
  • Develop implementation strategies for the Class of 2021
  • Include programs that are already in place:concurrent enrollment, capstone projects, or career pathways.

Where can I find help? What is getting in the way?

What's on the horizon?

  • Implementation Practices:  Districts have been learning from each other about how to implement Graduation Guidelines.  Join your peers and neighbors in regional conversations; come to a PWR Symposium 
  • Reporting: Districts report the measure(s) by which each student from the class of 2021 has graduated, according to the Menu of Options.

When did it start? 

Next Steps

These graduation guidelines have been a catalyst for excellent conversations – about competencies, postsecondary and workforce readiness (PWR) and local control.

The Colorado Department of Education continues to meet with interested constituents to solicit feedback on the development of graduation guidelines and has engaged the expertise of more than 500 contributors. If you or your group is interested in being part of the conversation, we would like to hear from you.

Contact:Robin Russel, 303-866-2908,

Find it Now


Currently, Colorado's only statewide requirement for high school graduation is the satisfactory completion of a civics/government course that encompasses information on both the United States and State of Colorado (C.R.S. 22-1-104)