Date Capstone Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


Steven Baule


This paper explores the relationship that elective course offerings and requirements have on student success through graduation rates. The purpose of this study is to better understand the effect that elective courses have on a student’s academic success. This research focused on the Big 9 conference of southeastern Minnesota Public High Schools, which consisted of nine different school districts. These districts paralleled the makeup and diversity of districts around the state. All data reviewed was public information and included resources such as the Minnesota Department of Education’s Report Card database, and course catalogs from each district in the study. Graduation rates from 2017-19 were compared to the amount of elective courses required to graduate, as well as the amount of elective courses offered in each district. Data was compared through the Pearson correlation coefficient. Results indicated little to no correlation between the number of elective courses offered and graduation rates. A moderate positive correlation was seen between the required number of elective credits to graduate in comparison to graduation rates. This research has concluded that increasing the number of electives required for graduation would have a positive relationship to student success through improved graduation rates. The number of elective courses to select from however does not strongly influence student success. Implications for school leaders and state legislators include the importance of a stronger consideration of elective courses for future cohorts of Minnesota High School students through improved funding and graduation requirements.



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