New York State’s new graduation options were meant to ensure students aren’t unfairly kept from graduation, but a new analysis found a drawback: black and low-income students are more likely to take less rigorous or career-focused paths to a diploma.

The Education Trust-New York found that black students are now disproportionately more likely to use an evaluation meant to test entry-level work skills on their way to graduation.

Additionally, low-income students are twice as likely to use new graduation options to earn a less challenging diploma than their more affluent peers.

The analysis represents a Catch-22 for policymakers: Though officials created these options, in part, to help historically underserved students graduate, they also want to avoid tracking students into the less rigorous coursework.

In New York state, students have traditionally been required to pass five Regents exams in specific subjects to earn a diploma. But in recent years, state policymakers have created different options for students who struggle to pass these tests. The effort is designed to ensure that students who can demonstrate their aptitude in other ways are not unfairly held back, supporters say.

Read the full article on New York’s expanded graduation options by Monica Disare at Chalkbeat