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Graduation Guidelines

Capstone Workshop, October 13!

Join your colleagues and peers for an in-depth conversation and workshop about developing a Capstone process that includes all students.  The focus will be on how to include students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Join us Oct. 13, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

  • Bring your capstone process or ideas
  • Join a facilitated conversation about your successes and barriers
  • Bring a team to workshop your capstone for students with an IEP

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.  

Graduation Cap

Full implementation of the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options goes into effect for students graduating in the 21-22 school year and beyond.  This includes: 

  • 5th, 6th, and 7th year seniors from the Anticipated Year of Graduation (AYG) 2021; and
  • All students who have an Anticipated Year of Graduation (AYG) of 2022 or beyond, including 3 year graduates.

Regional Conversations - PWR Symposia

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

Consider hosting a PWR Symposium with other schools or districts. Contact Robin Russel, 303.866.2908,

Resources and Promising Practices from 2018-2020 PWR Symposia


Menu of Options

Local school boards establish high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the Colorado Graduation Guidelines. 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.

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.

Print a Copy of the Menu of Options         Imprime Una Copia del Menu de Opciones

View Guidance for English Learners, Gifted Students, and Students with Disabilities

Click Menu below to view and print

20 Menu of Options_Small

Guidance, Resources, and Promising Practices


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


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

View Expanded Descriptions and Implementation Strategies

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?

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

What's on the horizon?

  • Full implementation of the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Options will go into effect for students graduating in the 21-22 school year and beyond.  This includes: 
    • 5th, 6th, and 7th year seniors from Anticipated Year of Graduation (AYG) 2021; and
    • All students who have an Anticipated Year of Graduation (AYG) of 2022 or beyond, including 3 year graduates.
  • Implementation Practices: Districts have been learning from each other about how to implement Graduation Guidelines. Join your peers and neighbors in regional conversations; consider hosting or attending a PWR Symposium.

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 implemetation 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).