VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Students in the Visalia Unified School District will now have to take three years of math in order to meet their graduation requirements.

On Wednesday, officials announced that the Visalia Unified School Board had voted during a meeting to increase the graduation requirement in math to meet the state’s college and career readiness expectations.

By requiring students to take an extra year of math, officials said it will help students have better access to higher education and career options after they graduate from high school.

“Our Board listened and tonight, by a unanimous vote, moved us toward a position where our students have a greater opportunity to be college and career ready,” said Superintendent Kirk Shrum during the meeting. “We know we still have work to do with A-G alignment, but this lays the foundation.”

Officials said a large part of the decision about the math requirement was based on feedback gathered through community engagement sessions held during the search for a superintendent.

Additionally, the school board cited recent research by the Public Policy Institute of California, which found that students who have been required to take three years of math have a better outcome after graduating, especially those in high-need, high-poverty, and high-minority schools.