90%-100% of graduates at most high schools throughout Massachusetts meet the minimum number of courses in English, math, science and other core subjects that state guidelines call for. However the Boston public school system has ignored those guidelines, called MassCore. MassCore standards include four years of English and math, three years of science and social studies, and two years of foreign language.
Instead Boston Public Schools have opted to keep lower standards for earning a diploma than the rest of Massachusetts. For example, Boston requires only three years of math instead of the four required at schools following MassCore. The reason for the lower standards is so they can increase high school graduation rates. Many claim that these lower standards de-value their diploma compared to most other communities that have significantly higher standards.
Lower Boston standards have some major consequences. In 2017 only 31% of Boston high school graduates met the state’s MassCore guidelines according to state data, putting the rest behind their peers at other Massachusetts schools. 50% of Boston high school graduates who enroll in college fail to earn degrees within six years, according to a report by the Boston Private Industry Council. Many of these students that have earned a high school diploma with lower standards, felt academically unprepared for college. A state report showed that nearly 75% of Boston graduates who went on to community college required at least one remedial course.