Personalized Preparation for College and Career

Through Move On When Ready, Arizona is at the leading edge of demonstrating how to design and implement a student-centered, customized learning approach that prepares every student for success in college and career.

Move On When Ready is a program that allows Arizona high school students to earn a recognized high school diploma that is designed to deliver skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college and career. Advancement is based on mastery, not “seat time.” Students advance when they demonstrate they learned the material; the pace is determined by the student outcomes, and does not necessarily conform to the four-year standard of traditional high school.

What students need to know and be able to do is clearly defined, but the pathway and time a student takes to reach that standard varies depending on their individual needs and performance. When students reach the college readiness standards in English, mathematics, science, history and the arts they earn the Grand Canyon High School Diploma. This means students are academically prepared to take college level courses without remediation.

This approach moves away from “one-size-fits-all” towards a more personalized model of education.  Students who don’t yet demonstrate readiness will receive personalized, additional support from their school and will have an opportunity to retake the exams and qualify for the Grand Canyon High School Diploma. Students who move through more quickly can leverage many choices-- such as advanced courses that can earn college credit, graduating early, career and technical education-- to further customize their high school experience and support their specific goals and interests.

Move On When Ready is based on more than 20 years of research on the education systems of countries that consistently outperform the United States in student achievement.

Encouraging Results in a Diverse Set of Schools

Now in its fifth year of implementation, Move On When Ready is working with more than 20 diverse high schools, impacting more than 26,000 students statewide. The students are reflective of Arizona’s demographics – nearly 50% are Latino and over half live in low-income households. CFA also works with a growing number of middle schools that want to align their work with the participating high schools their students will attend.

The success of the program has involved sound, creative planning and solid collaboration between policymakers, schools, state agencies, the philanthropic and nonprofit community, higher education and national partners, including the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Any school can participate on a voluntary basis. If you are interested in collaborating with Move On When Ready please contact:

Megan McWenie
Move On When Ready Learning Collaborative Coordinator

Policy into Practice – A History of Move On When Ready


  • Move On When Ready legislation passes with strong bipartisan support creating the performance-based Grand Canyon High School Diplom.

  • Arizona State Board of Education selects Center for the Future of Arizona to lead the Move On When Ready.


  • Arizona State Board of Education adopts rules for earning the Grand Canyon High School Diploma, approves the instructional systems available to Move On When Ready schools, and approves college-ready qualification scores for exams in all subject areas.

  • Center for the Future of Arizona holds informational sessions across the state for interested schools; 11 schools voluntarily adopt and begin to implement Move On When Ready.

  • The Move On When Ready Learning Collaborate is created by Center for the Future of Arizona through support from Helios Education Foundation; a unique collaborative approach to the adoption and implementation of innovation whereby CFA brings schools together on an intensive and regular basis to exchange learnings and tackle the work of school redesign.


  • Additional schools voluntarily adopt and begin to implement Move On When Ready; Center for the Future of Arizona expands the Learning Collaborative to support the additional schools.

  • Center for the Future of Arizona is awarded a $1 million State Board of Education Innovation Education Program grant to support Move On When Ready.

  • Ready Now Yuma launched by Yuma Union High School District and Helios Education Foundation to increase the number of students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education; Move On When Ready is a central feature and CFA played a critical role in the planning of Ready Now Yuma through a year-long planning grant from Helios Education Foundation.·          


  • First students earn the Grand Canyon High School Diploma.

  • Center for the Future of Arizona creates the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) diploma program in collaboration with Science Foundation Arizona, the state’s public universities, business and industry, and Arizona high schools; a competency-based student pathway that graduates high school students motivated and prepared to enter and complete STEM degree programs at the university.

  • Center for the Future of Arizona works with the Arizona Board of Regents and individual public universities on admission and credit by exam policies related to Move On When Ready.

  • Teachers participate in high quality subject-specific professional development from Cambridge and the National Center on Education and the Economy as they continue to refine their performance-based teaching practices.


  • Wickenburg Unified School District Governing Board approves the Grand Canyon High School Diploma as the standard diploma for all students.

  • Move On When Ready schools engage in “data dig” sessions, closely examining student exam results data to identify and plan for individualized student support, and to refine course design and teaching practices.

  • State Board of Education adopts principles of agreement that will guide the development of the next generation of A through F school accountability profiles; Dr. Sybil Francis is on the committee; CFA’s experience Move On When Ready informs the work of the committee.


Center for the Future of Arizona
541 East Van Buren, B-5
Phoenix, Arizona 85004-2211
Phone: 602-496-1360
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