A D.C. school board committee yesterday approved a plan that would give the D.C. public school system the stiffest requirements for graduation from high school of any jurisidiction in the area.
Currently, D.C. public high schools require the least number of courses of any area jurisidiction for graduation. But under the new plan, based on proposals by Superintendent Vincent E. Reed and school board member John E. Warren, high school students would be required to take two years each of mathematics, science and social science.
In addition, D.C. would become the only jurisdiction in the area to require that students take at least one year of a foreign language.
The plan calls for all students to be tested either at the end of the 10th grade or at the beginning of the 11th grade to ensured that they are sufficiently competent in English, mathematics, science, social science and health.
Students who cannot pass these standard tests will be enrolled in a one-year "life skills seminar" in which they will receive remedial help in areas in which they are weak.
Students who are working at grade level in those subjects will have the option of doing independent study or taking courses to prepare them for the college entrance examination or such employment tests as the civil service examination, according to Carol Schwartz, chairman of the educational operations committee, which approved the plan yesterday.
Schwartz said the school system wanted to avoid the practice used n many systems throughout the country in which a standardized test is given in the 12th grade, and must be passed for receipt of a diploma.
Reed has said he proposed the expanded requirements because he felt "too many students" were graduating "without the skills and competences the diploma certifies."
Schwartz said the system has not decided what to do about students who cannot pass the competency tests after a year of remedial work.
The full school board must vote on the plan. If approved, the requirements would apply first to next year's ninth grade.