Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of the study was to trace the state requirements for graduation in Virginia public schools from 1900 to 1976. The focus of the study was placed on four requirements for graduation--attendance, curriculum, credits, and tests.;In the study there was an examination of high school graduation requirements prior to 1900 in order that one may become familiar with the background of those events in Virginia education that helped to shape public education in Virginia from 1900 to 1976.;In the study it was found that in 1900 children were not required by state law to attend school, while in 1976 children had to attend school between the ages of six and seventeen years of age. While there was a state-devised curriculum in 1900, students did not have to complete a specific number of courses before graduation. By 1976, the curriculum required by the State Board of Education in order to graduate included four years of English, one year of mathematics, three years of social studies, one year of laboratory science, two years of health and physical education, and seven one-year elective courses.;In 1900, there was no quantitative measure to represent the satisfactory completion of a designated course. By 1976, the unit of credit was the quantitative measure of time, and it required a minimum time allotment of 150 clock hours. In 1976, eighteen units of credit were required for graduation. In 1900, there were no state-mandated tests in order to graduate from high school; however, in 1976, there were tests required to demonstrate minimum competencies in communicative skills, computational skills, history and cultures of the United States, democratic governance, the economic system in the United States, and the ability to pursue higher education in a job-entry skill.;It was found that the changes made in state-mandated graduation requirements for graduation were due in part to the demands of a technological society, the political climate in Virginia and the nation, and the leadership of educators, laymen and politicians. There was no evidence to indicate labor groups worked to support changes in the requirements.;Further study is needed to compare the requirements for graduation in Virginia with those of other states. It is also recommended that a study be made of the way school divisions in different regions of Virginia have implemented the graduation requirements.



© The Author