New HS Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2026


Article by Tei Kim, Section Editor

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As we have been going through course registrations, you may have become more aware of ASIJ’s High School Learning Framework for the next academic year. There are a plethora of different classes available to students, ranging from the required classes to advanced classes; we will likely never find ourselves struggling to find classes we want to take, with 117 course options available, as well as Global Online Academy (GOA) that offers classes not available on campus.

However, an issue that many students do run into is ASIJ’S HS graduation requirements. Four years of high school and a minimum 22 credits are required for an ASIJ diploma, and typically, ½ credit is awarded for a semester-long course. Or I should say, was because, as of the next school year, the incoming freshmen, the Class of 2026, have different graduation requirements than current high schoolers. The Class of 2026 and beyond will need 24 credits in order to graduate, two more than now required. According to the HS Learning Framework for 2022-2023, “ASIJ began a curriculum review process in 2019 in collaboration with students, parents, faculty, our Learning Office, as well as in consultation with universities and peer international schools. The culmination of that review process resulted in changes to the graduation requirements for the Class of 2026.” 

Another change is the requirement to Physical Education and Health. Students often struggle to fulfill their P.E. credits, and upperclassmen and seniors often find themselves having to give up courses they would like to take, in exchange for a mandatory P.E. class. Incoming freshmen next year, however, have different graduation requirements. While the Class of 2025 and above need 1½  P.E. credits and ½ Health credit, the Class of 2026 and beyond will need 2 credits of “Wellness: Physical Education & Health.” With this new category comes two new courses that all freshmen and sophomores will be required to take: Wellness 9 and Wellness 10, which will provide students with 1½ credits.

Furthermore, Creativity, Innovation, and Design (CID) has been renamed Design and Innovation, and students will be required to take “a .5 credit of digital literacy and .5 credit of design.” While it still remains a bit of a mystery as to what these classes will look like, it appears that the required classes will be more specific. 

A minor change involves the required study of the United States. Until now, students were given the option of either taking U.S. History, or AP U.S. History in junior year to fulfill their one year of study of the United States. However, starting from the Class of 2026, students will only need a ½ credit and will be given the option to fulfill this requirement in either their junior or senior years. 

The new Framework also mentions that students graduating in the year 2026 and beyond will complete “two Deep Learning Signature courses, one in Grade 11 and one in Grade 12.” The school explains that in the Deep Learning Signature courses, students “collaboratively explore complex, real world problems through a variety of disciplinary and cultural lenses, develop partnerships with professionals outside of ASIJ, and develop the leadership competencies needed to translate learning at school into action and contribution beyond school.” According to the Learning Framework, this change reflects ASIJ’s belief that learning “involves the purposeful inquiry and creation of transformation experiences,” as well as its partnership with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). While it is not explicitly stated what form these two courses will take, the school says they are being developed, and that they will be completed in time for when the Class of 2026 enters their junior year. 

There are other changes as well. In addition to those mentioned above, there are minor modifications made to minimum and maximum course load, as well as provisions for students taking more than one class in one subject area. Many students have expressed mixed feelings about these changes. Junior Espi Littlefield said, “I wish that we had had the changes in our freshman year. Because I take two languages, the different requirements for the Class of 2026 would have been really helpful for me. I would have taken art classes in my freshman and sophomore years, so that I could take more academic classes in my junior and senior years.”

The changes may prove to be a mixed blessing for students. While they provide more opportunities for students to fulfill their credits, they have also become more specific, and in some ways, demanding. As such, the usual advice remains: Plan ahead, making sure that you will meet all your requirements. You certainly don’t want to attend a fifth year of high school, because you didn’t pay attention to what was required to graduate.