High School to College & Careers

Overview

High School to College and Careers

Course-taking requirements for the high school diploma

Alabama

High School Graduation Requirements

The Alabama State Board of Education has approved a new high school diploma requirements for students who enter ninth grade after fall 2013. The state will phase in the new requirements so current juniors and seniors are not adversely affected. Current high school freshmen and sophomores must take a career preparedness course and a course sequence in career and technical education, arts education or foreign language.

Graduation Requirements for Current Juniors and Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a regular high school diploma. Students may choose to complete a diploma with academic or career and technical education (CTE) endorsements. Regardless of the pathways students choose, they must complete four units each in core subjects (for example, English, math, science and social studies), one unit of physical education and half units in health, fine arts and computer applications.

High School Diploma

Local school boards may waive the computer requirement if the student demonstrates competency. If the requirement is waived, the elective requirement will increase by one-half unit.

Diploma With Advanced Academic Endorsement (Diploma+)

In addition to regular requirements, high school students on this diploma pathway must complete Algebra II and two units of the same foreign language.

Diploma With Career and Technical Education Endorsement

Students may receive the advanced career and technical education endorsement if they earn:

  • two units in a career and technical education program, and
  • one career and technical education or academic credit related to student’s objective. 


Diploma With Advanced Career/Technical Endorsement (CTE+)

In addition to regular requirements, students on this pathway must complete Algebra II and earn:

  • three credits in a career and technical education program, or
  • two credits in an occupational program, in addition to one unit of advanced cooperative work-based education experience. Cooperative work-based education consists of a weekly seminar coupled with paid, supervised work at a licensed business. Each participating student, along with his or her parents, academic supervisor and work supervisor, writes a training plan that details the scope of work. 


Graduation Requirements for Current Freshmen and Sophomores

The Alabama State Board of Education offers standardized core curriculum requirements for students who enter ninth grade after fall 2013. Current freshmen and sophomore must complete current diploma requirements and one credit in Algebra II (or equivalent) to earn a regular diploma. The Alabama State Board of Education also requires a default course sequence for the social studies. Recent changes do not affect academic and career and technical education diploma endorsement requirements.

Assessment Requirements

The Alabama Department of Education began administering the new ACT battery of assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

Arkansas

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors (2014-2015)

Course and Diploma Requirements

The state requires school districts to enroll high school students in the Smart Core, unless parents sign a waiver to opt their children out of the default curriculum. While the two diploma pathways require the same number of course credits (22) in each subject area, specific course requirements vary.

Students who do not complete the Smart Core curriculum are ineligible for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. Unconditional admission to more selective public universities requires the completion of the Smart Core.

The state requires high school students to take a half-unit digital course.

Assessment Requirements

All students who are enrolled in courses with end-of-course (EOC) exams must take the criterion-referenced assessments on the testing dates established by the state Department of Education. The state administers EOCs in Algebra I, geometry, biology and high school literacy.

Delaware

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a regular high school diploma. All future senior classes will also have new core course requirements.

Entering class of 2011-2012:

  • Math: Students must take geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II.
  • World language: Students must complete two units in the same foreign language.

Entering ninth grade after fall 2012:

  • English: Students must take English II.
  • Math: Students must take geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II (or Integrated Mathematics III).
  • Science: Students are required to take biology.
  • Social studies: Students must take U.S. history.
  • World language: Students are required to complete two units in the same foreign language. 


Assessment Requirements

  • During the 2014-15 school year, the Delaware Department of Education will administer Smarter ELA/Literacy and Mathematics assessments to current high school juniors. Sophomores are required to take the DCAS science assessment, and high school students are required to take the U.S. history end-of-course assessment at the completion of the U.S. history course.
  • High school sophomores are required to take the PSAT, starting in fall 2014, and juniors are required to take the SAT, starting in spring 2015.

Florida

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course & Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 24 standard units to earn a regular high school diploma. State law also allows high school students to pursue three-year diplomas. These accelerated pathways require higher minimum GPAs than the standard diploma.

New State Policies

House Bill 5101 (2014) authorizes districts to use computer science courses to satisfy certain graduation requirements for math and science, if students also earn the related industry certification.

House Bill 7031 (2014) allows students to use earned industry certifications as substitutes for certain math and science units. All students still must earn course credit in Algebra I, geometry, and Biology I. The bill also removes the Algebra II course requirement for the standard diploma.

Specific Diploma Requirements

Standard Diploma:

  • Complete curriculum with a 2.0 grade-point average.
  • Complete at least one course through online learning. Students who completed an online 
course in middle grades schools or through virtual dual enrollment are exempt. 


Three-Year College-Prep Diploma:

  • Complete curriculum with 3.5 GPA and receive a grade of “B” or higher in each course.
  • Students may receive the merit designation if they pass one or more industry-recognized certifications approved by the Florida Department of Education. In addition to Standard Diploma requirements, students entering ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year may earn the scholar designation

Georgia

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors (2014-2015)

Course & Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 23 units to complete the core curriculum.

Assessment Requirements

Students must pass the Georgia High School Writing Test to earn a regular high school diploma. Schools administer end-of-course (EOC) exams in 10 courses across four subjects:

  • English/language arts: Grade 9 literature and composition, American literature and composition
  • Math: coordinate algebra, analytic geometry, Math II, GPS geometry
  • Science: biology, physical science
  • Social studies: American history, economics 


Each exam counts for 20 percent of the final course grade. Middle grades students who take high school courses also sit for EOCs.

Kentucky 


High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors 


Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma.

Assessment Requirements

Senate Bill 1 (2009) allows the state to give end-of-course (EOC) tests at the high school level, which it does for English II, Algebra II, biology, and American history. The Kentucky State Board of Education recommends the EOCs count for at least 20 percent of a student’s final course grade, but each School Decision Making Council makes the final decision.

Louisiana

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Students may complete two types of high school diplomas: the College and Career Diploma and the Career Diploma. Students may choose to enter one of two college and career curricula: the Basic Core or more rigorous LA Core 4. Louisiana is in the first stage of a multi-year transition, which will require more rigorous academic and career preparation for Career Diploma students via the Jump Start program. Jump Start programs allow students to take career courses, certify skills mastery in specific career fields, and prepare students for high-wage careers.

Districts must enroll all students not pursuing the Career Diploma in the Core 4 curriculum. Parents may waive student participation in the Core 4 curriculum after two years, at which time students continue high school on the Basic Core diploma pathway.

Core 4

  • English: Students must take English I, II, III and IV.
  • Math: Students must take a two algebra courses, geometry, and an advanced math course.
  • Science: Students must take biology, chemistry, and two additional science courses.
  • Social studies: Students must take civics and U.S. history, plus two additional social science 
courses.
  • Foreign language: Students must take two consecutive units of foreign language or two speech 
courses.
  • Art: students must take one fine art survey or performance art course. 


Basic Core

  • English: All students must take English I, II and III and either English IV or Senior English Applications.
  • Math: Students must take Algebra I and geometry or equivalent courses.
  • Science: Students must take biology.
  • Social studies: Students must take civics and U.S. history.
  • Career Readiness: Students must take a career readiness course. Students choose a career 
concentration and learn about career and academic options that align with their interests and abilities. Regional Jump Start teams across the state are delivering suites of Career Readiness courses for middle school, early high school and late high school that focus on: (1) career awareness and exploration; (2) financial literacy; (3) basic literacy, numeracy and high school study skills; (4) workplace behavior skills; and, (5) job attainment, job success and job survival skills. 


Career Diploma 


Students interested in pursuing a Career Diploma must undergo academic counseling with a parent or guardian, obtain written permission from their parent or guardian and school officials, and enroll in dropout prevention courses during the ninth-grade year.

  • English: Students must take English I and II.
  • Math: Students must take Algebra I, Algebra I Parts 1 and 2, or Applied Algebra I.
  • Science: Students must take biology.
  • Social studies: Students must take civics and U.S. history.
  • Electives: Students take a career exploration course in which they choose a Jump Start 
graduation pathway and learn about career and academic options that align with their interests and abilities. Students must take nine course credits (inclusive of the required career readiness course) from courses approved for their graduation pathway. 


Diploma Endorsements 


In addition to earning a regular high school diploma, students may four three diploma endorsements.

  • Academic Endorsement (Core 4+): Students earn the academic endorsement when they complete the Core 4 curriculum, pass all required assessments, earn at least a 2.5 grade-point average and a score of 23 on the ACT. Students also must complete a Senior Project, take at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate (AP or IB) course, or earn three hours of college credit while in high school.
  • Career/Technical Endorsement: Students earn the career-technical endorsement when they complete the Core 4 curriculum, pass all required assessments, earn at least a 2.5 GPA, and a score of 20 or better on the ACT. Students also may qualify through the ACT WorkKeys if they receive the assessment’s silver certificate. Students also must obtain an industry certification relevant to their career area of concentration or earn three hours of college credit. Students must spend 90 hours in a work-based training environment or complete a Senior Project.
  • Community Service Endorsement: Current high school freshmen and sophomores may receive this endorsement if they complete 80 hours of community service while in high school.
  • Seal of Biliteracy: House Bill 1016 (2014) allows future students to receive endorsements for language proficiency if they complete all English requirements, score above 19 on the ACT English and reading sections, and demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages other than English. 


Assessment Requirements 


Students take end-of-course (EOC) tests in six areas: English II, English III, Algebra I, geometry, biology, and American history. To earn a high school diploma, students must pass at least three EOC exams, including one in English, one in math, and one in biology or American history. Districts must use the EOCs in determining between 15 and 30% of students’ final course grade.

Maryland

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors 


Students must complete at least 21 units to earn a regular high school diploma. Students complete the same core curriculum requirements but have the choice to pursue an academic, advanced technology, or career-technology concentration through elective courses.

Non-Curricular Requirements

Service learning: In order to graduate, students must complete a 75-hour service-learning requirement.

Assessment Requirements

Maryland requires students to take end-of-course tests called the Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) in four subjects: English II, Algebra/Data Analysis, Biology, and Government. Current high school students must earn passing scores on each individual HSA or earn a passing combined score on the four exams in order to graduate.

The state reinstated the administration of the HSA in government in the 2012-2013 school year, so that students entering high school in 2013-2014 must earn passing scores on each individual HSA or earn a passing combined score on the four exams in order to graduate. Students who do not pass an HSA may retake it as many times as necessary to pass and may receive academic assistance from the local district.

Mississippi

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Districts must require students to complete at least 21 units before issuing a high school diploma. Students may choose the traditional academic or career diploma pathways. The latter requires students to complete four units in one of 16 career clusters. The Early Exit Exam Option is a new diploma pathway available to students who demonstrate readiness for college and careers by completing an abbreviated curriculum and showing mastery on multiple assessments (e.g., the ACT, ACT QualityCore end-of-course exams, and Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning-approved tests).

Assessment Requirements

Mississippi administers the Subject Area Testing Program 2 to high school students. The program requires students to pass a series of end-of-course tests in order to graduate. Students take tests in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and U.S. history. Before graduation, students have at least three opportunities per year to retake exams they have not passed.

The Mississippi Department of Education has adopted rules that allow students to satisfy assessment requirements through alternative means, such as qualifying ACT sub-scores, earned college credit, or an earned industry certification.

North Carolina

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors


Course & Diploma Requirements


Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma. Students may choose to pursue a college or career pathway.

Ready Core

  • English: Students take English I, II, III and IV, or a designated combination of four courses
  • Mathematics: Students take Math I, II, III. A fourth math course should align with the students’ 
postsecondary plans
  • Science: Students take three courses: one each in physical, biological and environmental science
  • Social studies: Students take civics and economics, American History I and American History 
II, and world history
  • Electives: Students take two credits from career and technical education (CTE), arts education 
or world languages. Additionally, students may take a recommended sequential, four-unit 
concentration chosen from CTE, JROTC, arts education or any other academic subject area
  • World Languages: The state does not require completion of foreign language courses to 
graduate, but the UNC system requires two units to meet minimum admission requirements. 


Ready Occupational

  • English: Students take English I, II, III and IV
  • Mathematics: Students take three courses: Math I; Financial Management; and, Alternate Math 
II or Personal Finance
  • Science: Students take Biology I and Applied Science
  • Social Studies: Students take American History I and American History II
  • Electives: Students take a four-unit sequence in Occupational Preparation. The state requires 
students to complete a career portfolio
  • Career Technical Education: Four elective units. 


Assessment Requirements 


North Carolina requires students enrolled in Math I, Biology and English II to take end-of-course (EOC) exams in these subject areas. In many other content area courses, students take NC Final Exams. Students’ scores on these exams count for at least 20 percent of their final course grades, but passing them is not a graduation requirement.

Oklahoma

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course & Diploma Requirements 


Students must complete at least 23 units to earn a regular high school diploma. The College- Preparatory/Work-Ready curriculum is Oklahoma’s default diploma pathway. Parents or guardians may waive this curriculum if they wish, which places their student onto the Core diploma pathway.

Assessment Requirements

Oklahoma administers seven end-of-instruction (EOI) exams across four subjects: Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology I, English II, English III, geometry and U.S. history. Students must pass Algebra I and English II exams, as well as two additional EOI exams, in order to graduate from high school.

Students may waive the EOI assessment requirements if they demonstrate proficiency through alternate means, including ACT and SAT subtests, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and College- Level Examination Program tests.

Students receive remediation if they do not pass required assessments. If students fail the retake attempt, they can earn equivalent credit by completing a project in the content area.

South Carolina

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course & Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 24 units to complete the core curriculum.

Assessment Requirements

South Carolina will end the exit exam requirements for the class of 2015. Students in grades three through eight will take ACT Aspire. Students in grade eleven will take a college- and career-readiness assessment and ACT WorkKeys.

Additionally, South Carolina administers End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) assessments in four subjects: English I, Algebra I/Mathematics for the Technologies II, Biology I, and U.S. History and Constitution. The End-of-Course assessments count as 20 percent of the final course grades. Students must pass Biology I and U.S. History and Constitution courses to graduate high school.

Tennessee

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course & Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 22 units to complete the core curriculum.

Assessment Requirements

Tennessee administers seven End of Course (EOC) exams. Exam results count for 25 percent of the students’ final course grade. Passing the EOC exams is not required in order to graduate from high school.

Graduation with Distinction

Students graduate with “state distinction” when they attain a B or better grade point average and accomplish one of the following:

  • Earn a nationally recognized industry certification
  • Earn a three or higher on two Advanced Placement (AP) exams or complete the International Baccalaureate Programme
  • Complete at least 12 semester hours of college credit
  • Score a 31 or higher on the ACT Composite Score
  • Are selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semifinalist
  • Participate in at least one of the Governor’s Schools or All State musical organizations.

Texas

High School Graduation Requirements


Course & Diploma Requirements


House Bill 5 (2013) authorizes the Texas State Board of Education to adopt rules for the new Foundation High School Program. The Texas Commissioner of Education has developed a transition plan to replace the Recommended, Distinguished, and Minimum Diplomas with the Foundation Program. Students who enter ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year will be the first group required to graduate under the Foundation Program.

Under House Bill 5, students entering ninth grade after fall 2014 are required to choose an endorsement in one of five areas: STEM (i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Business, Public Services, Arts & Humanities, or Multidisciplinary Studies. Like current diploma options, students and families may opt out of additional requirements after completion of the sophomore year and after consultation with high school counselors. Students who complete the Foundation Program, with or without an endorsement, are eligible for general admission to a Texas public 4-year institution. However, students who graduate without completing an endorsement and specific coursework may not meet admissions requirements at certain state colleges and universities.

Assessment Requirements 


The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program requires passing scores on five end-of-course (EOC) exams to graduate: English I, English II, Algebra I, biology, and U.S. history. House Bill 5 eliminates EOC requirements in Algebra II, geometry, chemistry, physics, geography, and world history. Scores on the EOC exam do not count toward the course grade. 


Distinguished Level of Achievement

Graduates can earn the “distinguished level of achievement” designation by completing four credits in math (including credit in Algebra II), four credits in science, and completion of curriculum requirements for at least one endorsement. Receiving this designation gives students Top 10% automatic admissions eligibility and priority for the need-based TEXAS grant, if financially qualified.

Virginia

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors


Course & Diploma Requirements


Students must earn at least 22 standard units to earn a high school diploma. Students seeking a standard diploma also must pass six end-of-course Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. Students who pass corresponding SOL assessments receive “verified credit” for those courses. To receive an advanced diploma, students must earn four additional standard units and pass three additional SOL assessments. In addition to the verified credits for the four core subjects, students may also select a SOL assessment or alternate tests in computer science, career and technical education (CTE), or other areas approved by the state board of education.

Assessment Requirements

The Virginia State Board of Education requires districts to administer end-of-course exams through the state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment program. Virginia has developed a battery of 12 exams in 11 subject areas: Algebra I and II, biology, chemistry, earth science, English (reading and writing), geometry, World History I and II, world geography, and Virginia and U.S. history.

Students pursuing the Standard diploma must earn at least six verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams. Students pursuing the Advanced Studies diploma must earn at least nine verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams.

Graduation Requirements for Current Freshmen and Sophomores

  • Virtual course: Beginning with the class entering ninth grade in 2013-2014, students must complete at least one virtual course, which may be non-credit-bearing.
  • Certification: Beginning with the class entering ninth grade in 2013-2014, students must earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education. Examples include, but are not limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification or the passing of a state licensure exam, national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills test.

West Virginia

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course & Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 24 units to complete the core curriculum.

Personalized Education Plan

Each student’s Personalized Education Plan (PEP) will include a four-credit concentration that, if completed, will lead to (1) placement in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses; (2) attainment of an industry-recognized certificate or license; or, (3) enrollment in a workforce training program.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education (CTE) concentration. For the academic concentration, the state encourages students to take at least one Advanced Placement (AP®) and/or Advanced Career (AC) course with corresponding examination, a fourth science credit, and two credits in one World Language.

The CTE concentration results in the acquisition of an industry-recognized, CTE credential. The four credits taken in a CTE concentration must be consistent with those identified for West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) approved CTE programs of study. Each career -technical concentration in a school shall provide students the opportunity to obtain an industry-recognized credential as part of the instructional program, when applicable. Schools offering a concentration outside of the state- approved CTE concentrations must have four related courses approved by their local boards of education.

Assessment Requirements

In previous school years, the state required districts to administer all subtests of the comprehensive West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST 2) and WESTEST 2 Online Writing exams. Passing WESTEST 2 and WESTEST 2 Online Writing was not required to graduate from high school.

West Virginia has adopted the college and career readiness assessment developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. WVDE plans to administer the Common Core-aligned assessment for the first time statewide as part of the WV General Summative Assessment in spring 2015.

High School Assessments

Alabama

Assessment Requirements

The Alabama Department of Education will administer the new ACT battery of assessments starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

  • Grade 10 Plan
  • Grade 11 ACT
  • Grade 12 WorkKeys
  • ACT QualityCore End-of-Course Assessments in English 10 and Algebra I

Arkansas

Assessment Requirements

All students enrolled in courses for which End-of-Course (EOC) exams are administered, shall take the criterion-referenced assessments on the testing dates established by the Department. The state administers EOCs in Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, and high school literacy.

Delaware

Assessment Requirements

During the 2014-15 school year, the Delaware Department of Education will administer Smarter ELA/Literacy and Mathematics assessments, a Common Core-aligned test, to current high school juniors. Sophomores are required to take the DCAS Science assessment, and high school students are required to take the US History End of Course assessment at the completion of the US History course.

High school sophomores are required to take the PSAT in fall 2014 and juniors are required to take the SAT in spring 2015.

Florida

Assessment Requirements

To graduate, current high school juniors and seniors must pass the Grade 10 Reading assessment and Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) test. Current high school juniors and seniors must take the geometry, biology, and American history EOCs, but a passing score is not required for graduation. For students entering ninth grade after fall 2013, the Algebra I, geometry, and biology EOCs will count 30 percent toward the final course grade.

Georgia

Assessment Requirements

Students must pass the Georgia High School Writing Test to earn a regular high school diploma. Schools administer end-of-course (EOC) exams in 10 courses across four subjects:

  • English/language arts: Grade 9 literature and composition, American literature and composition
  • Math: coordinate algebra, analytic geometry, Math II, GPS geometry
  • Science: biology, physical science
  • Social studies: American history, economics 
Each exam counts for 20 percent of the final course grade. Middle grades students who take high school courses also sit for EOCs.

Kentucky

Assessment Requirements

Senate Bill 1 (2009) allows the state to give end-of-course (EOC) tests at the high school level, which it does for English II, Algebra II, biology, and American history. The Kentucky State Board of Education recommends the EOCs count for at least 20 percent of a student’s final course grade, but each School Decision Making Council makes the final decision.

Louisiana

Assessment Requirements

Students take end-of-course (EOC) tests in six areas: English II, English III, Algebra I, geometry, biology, and American history. To earn a high school diploma, students must pass at least three EOC exams, including one in English, one in math, and one in biology or American history. Districts must use the EOCs in determining between 15 and 30% of students’ final course grade.

Maryland

Assessment Requirements

Maryland requires students to take end-of-course tests called the Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) in four subjects: English II, Algebra/Data Analysis, Biology, and Government. Current high school students must earn passing scores on each individual HSA or earn a passing combined score on the four exams in order to graduate.

The state reinstated the administration of the HSA in government in the 2012-2013 school year, so that students entering high school in 2013-2014 must earn passing scores on each individual HSA or earn a passing combined score on the four exams in order to graduate. Students who do not pass an HSA may retake it as many times as necessary to pass and may receive academic assistance from the local district.

Mississippi

Assessment Requirements

Mississippi administers the Subject Area Testing Program 2 to high school students. The program requires students to pass a series of end-of-course tests in order to graduate. Students take tests in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and U.S. history. Before graduation, students have at least three opportunities per year to retake exams they have not passed.

The Mississippi Department of Education has adopted rules that allow students to satisfy assessment requirements through alternative means, such as qualifying ACT sub-scores, earned college credit, or an earned industry certification.

North Carolina

Assessment Requirements

North Carolina requires students enrolled in Math I, Biology and English II to take end-of-course (EOC) exams in these subject areas. In many other content area courses, students take NC Final Exams. Students’ scores on these exams count for at least 20 percent of their final course grades, but passing them is not a graduation requirement.

Oklahoma

Assessment Requirements

Oklahoma administers seven end-of-instruction (EOI) exams across four subjects: Algebra I, Algebra II, Biology I, English II, English III, geometry and U.S. history. Students must pass Algebra I and English II exams, as well as two additional EOI exams, in order to graduate from high school.

Students may waive the EOI assessment requirements if they demonstrate proficiency through alternate means, including ACT and SAT subtests, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and College- Level Examination Program tests.

Students receive remediation if they do not pass required assessments. If students fail the retake attempt, they can earn equivalent credit by completing a project in the content area.

South Carolina

Assessment Requirements

South Carolina will end the exit exam requirements for the class of 2015. Students in grades three through eight will take ACT Aspire. Students in grade eleven will take a college- and career-readiness assessment and ACT WorkKeys.

Additionally, South Carolina administers End-of-Course Examination Program (EOCEP) assessments in four subjects: English I, Algebra I/Mathematics for the Technologies II, Biology I, and U.S. History and Constitution. The End-of-Course assessments count as 20 percent of the final course grades. Students must pass Biology I and U.S. History and Constitution courses to graduate high school.

Tennessee

Assessment Requirements

Tennessee administers seven End of Course (EOC) exams. Exam results count for 25 percent of the students’ final course grade. Passing the EOC exams is not required in order to graduate from high school.

English I, English II, English III / Algebra I, Algebra II / Biology I, Chemistry I / U.S. History*

*New assessments aligned to the new social studies standards are being field tested in 2014-15. U.S. History EOC exams will resume statewide in 2015-16.

Texas

Assessment Requirements

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program requires passing scores on five end-of-course (EOC) exams to graduate: English I, English II, Algebra I, biology, and U.S. history. House Bill 5 eliminates EOC requirements in Algebra II, geometry, chemistry, physics, geography, and world history. Scores on the EOC exam do not count toward the course grade.

Distinguished Level of Achievement

Graduates can earn the “distinguished level of achievement” designation by completing four credits in math (including credit in Algebra II), four credits in science, and completion of curriculum requirements for at least one endorsement. Receiving this designation gives students Top 10% automatic admissions eligibility and priority for the need-based TEXAS grant, if financially qualified.

Virginia

Assessment Requirements

The Virginia State Board of Education requires districts to administer end-of-course exams through the state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment program. Virginia has developed a battery of 12 exams in 11 subject areas: Algebra I and II, biology, chemistry, earth science, English (reading and writing), geometry, World History I and II, world geography, and Virginia and U.S. history.

Students pursuing the Standard diploma must earn at least six verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams. Students pursuing the Advanced Studies diploma must earn at least nine verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams.

Graduation Requirements for Current Freshmen and Sophomores:

  • Virtual course: Beginning with the class entering ninth grade in 2013-2014, students must complete at least one virtual course, which may be non-credit-bearing.
  • Certification: Beginning with the class entering ninth grade in 2013-2014, students must earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education. Examples include, but are not limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification or the passing of a state licensure exam, national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills test.

West Virginia

Assessment Requirements

In previous school years, the state required districts to administer all subtests of the comprehensive West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST 2) and WESTEST 2 Online Writing exams. Passing WESTEST 2 and WESTEST 2 Online Writing was not required to graduate from high school.

West Virginia has adopted the college and career readiness assessment developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. WVDE plans to administer the Common Core-aligned assessment for the first time statewide as part of the WV General Summative Assessment in spring 2015.

College and Career Readiness Standards

Alabama

The Alabama State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in October 2010. The state implemented the standards for the first time during the 2013-2014 school year. The board has partnered with ACT to deliver assessments aligned with the Common Core.

Plan 2020, Alabama’s education strategic plan, requires the department of education to develop a unified Pre-K to 12 plan for college and career readiness. The plan articulates several interdependent strategies to increase student readiness levels, including (1) adoption of college and career standards; (2) delivery of aligned assessments; (3) setting clear and ambitious performance targets; and, (4) adapting school accountability to facilitate improvement.

The Alabama Department of Education is developing the Plan 2020 Accountability Model, which will hold school accountable to several indicators, including the student achievement, learning gains, achievement gap closing, college and career readiness, and graduation rate.

Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education, in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Education, offers ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) for eighth and 10th grade students. The Arkansas Department of Education requires all 10th-grade students to take the PSAT or the ACT PLAN. Test results identify students who do not meet college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, or math.

Arkansas plans to administer the Common Core-aligned PARCC assessment during the 2014-15 school year. Score indicators from the PARCC exam will provide one measure of college readiness. The state department of education has incorporated results from ACT, end-of-course tests, and AP tests into school and district report cards.

Delaware

The Department of Education with the consent of the Delaware State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in August 2010. The state implemented the standards for the first time during the 2012-2013 school year. The Department has partnered with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to deliver Common Core-aligned tests.

Since 2010, the state has required districts to administer the SAT during the school day. The Delaware Department of Education holds districts and schools accountable through the Delaware School Profiles. High school indicators include the following:

  • High school graduation rates
  • SAT scores, by section and overall
  • Percentage of students meeting state standards in ninth and tenth grade 

  • Students’ Advanced Placement participation and success 


Florida

The Florida Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2010. The state’s department of education proposed a review of the math and English Language Arts standards in fall 2013. Based on public feedback, the Board adopted the Mathematics and Language Arts Florida Standards (MAFS and LAFS, respectively) in February 2014. The department will require the implementation of the new standards during the 2014-2015 school year.

Florida state law requires districts to administer a common placement test to students who score within specified ranges on statewide assessments in reading or math. Students who are required to take a common placement test and do not meet statewide college ready scores must complete postsecondary preparatory instruction prior to high school graduation. Currently, five readiness courses are available for adoption by districts for high school seniors.

The Florida Department of Education holds districts and schools accountable through the “Florida School Grades” System. The high school reports contain four metrics: (1) student performance on end-of-course assessments and national college entrance exams; (2) student enrollment and success in accelerated learning opportunities; (3) college readiness rates; and, (4) graduation rates.

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Education requires high schools to administer the PSAT every October to grade 10 students. State Board Rule 160-4-5-.01 requires districts to deliver remedial education programs for students in grades six through 12 with identified deficits in reading, writing or math.

O.C.G.A. § 20-2-159.2 requires (1) college and career readiness benchmarks; (2) the creation or adoption of a college and career readiness assessment; and, (3) the development of readiness courses in reading, writing, and math that prepare grade 11 and 12 students who fail to meet readiness standards as measured by end-of-course exams or the yet-to-be-developed Common Core-aligned state assessment.

Georgia withdrew from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium in July 2013. The state has implemented the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics have been implemented over the last three years. However, the CCGPS are now under review and revision based on public review and feedback. Plans to assess Georgia’s standards through a state-developed and aligned assessment system are underway. The Georgia Department of Education holds schools and districts accountable through the College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). High schools receive composite scores based on 17 indicators, including graduation rates, success on state assessments, and the percentage of graduates earning college credit while still enrolled in high school.

Kentucky

Kentucky adopted the Common Core State Standards in February 2010—the first state in the nation to do so. Districts implemented the new English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics standards, known as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, starting in the 2010-11 school year. They were taught and tested for the first time in the 2011-12 school year.

State Board of Education rules require districts to provide readiness courses or interventions for students who do not meet the statewide college readiness benchmarks for English and math, as measured by the ACT. These courses and programs, generally offered to high school juniors and seniors, provide academic support, instruction, and college readiness assessments to minimize the need for remediation in a college or university setting.

Kentucky’s Strategic Plan identifies key strategies that districts and schools may adopt to increase the number of students who graduate ready for college and careers. These strategies include (1) Persistence to Graduation (e.g., early identification and intervention, early graduation and alternative programs); (2) Career Readiness Pathways [e.g., Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) Program and the National Academy Foundation career academies]; and (3) Learning Systems (e.g., vertically aligned curricula responsive to diverse learner needs, strong formative assessment systems including the Kentucky System of Interventions and Response to Intervention). The learning systems address the needs of the whole child and establish pathways toward college and career advising and planning.

The Kentucky Department of Education holds districts and schools accountable through the Unbridled Learning: College/Career-Readiness for All Accountability System as reported publicly through the Kentucky School Report Card. The high school reports contain several metrics, including: (1) student performance on college entrance exams and other academic and career-technical measures; (2) the percentage of students who are college and career ready; (3) success in closing the achievement gap; (4) student growth; and (5) graduation rates. High schools also conduct program reviews to ensure quality learning opportunities in arts and humanities, practical living and career studies, and writing as part of state accountability requirements.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2010. The state implemented the standards in classrooms for the first time during the 2013-14 school year.
Students who receive a score of “Needs Improvement” on any EOC test must receive 30 hours of remediation in the subject area before being eligible to retake the assessment.

The Louisiana Department of Education holds districts and schools accountable through school report cards. The high school reports contain four equally weighted metrics: (1) student performance on end-of- course assessments; (2) student performance on the ACT Composite; (3) percentage of students graduating with college credits; and, (4) graduation rates. Schools may receive up to 10 bonus points for increasing student achievement levels for struggling student subgroups.

Maryland

Maryland adopted the Common Core State Standards in June 2010. Districts implemented the new English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics standards starting in the 2013-14 school year. Maryland is a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) governing state. The state will implement the PARCC assessments during the 2014-15 school year.

For students who are otherwise on track to graduate but who have unsuccessfully attempted the High School Assessments at least twice, Maryland offers an alternative to meet the graduation testing requirement. Called the Bridge Plan, the alternative offers students an opportunity to fulfill the requirement by completing project modules in HSA content areas.
Students entering ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year and beyond will take the PARCC English 10, PARCC Algebra, HSA Biology and HSA Government. They will also be required to enroll in a mathematics course every year they are enrolled in high school, up to a maximum of 4 years of attendance, unless in the fifth or sixth year a mathematics course is needed to meet a graduation requirement.

Beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2013-2014 school year, students who are not college and career ready in English Language Arts (ELA) or mathematics, as assessed by the end of 11th grade, are required to take transition courses.

The 2014 Maryland Report Card contains five data elements for high schools: AccountabilitySchool Progress Index; AssessmentsHigh School Assessments (HAS) and College Readiness Indicators; College StatusCollege Enrollment and Credit Accumulation; DemographicsAttendance; and GraduationGrade 12 Outcomes.

Mississippi

Mississippi adopted the Common Core State Standards in June 2010. Districts implemented the new English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics standards starting in the 2013-14 school year. Mississippi is a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) governing state. The state will implement the PARCC assessments during the 2014-15 school year after a field test in spring 2014.

The Mississippi Department of Education holds districts and schools accountable through school and district report cards. The high school reports contain three readiness metrics: (1) student performance on end-of-course assessments; (2) student ACT scores; and, (3) graduation rates.

North Carolina

The North Carolina State Board of Education adopted the NC Standard Course of Study for all content areas in June 2010. Districts implemented the new standards, which included the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics standards, starting in the 2012-2013 school year. State Board policies require the review of standards every five years. Mathematics and English Language Arts standards will be reviewed following the standards review process beginning fall 2014.

North Carolina is a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Recent state law requires legislative approval to adopt an assessment instrument. Currently the state creates its own assessments to measure student proficiency and growth on the state standards.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has partnered with ACT to administer four tests: EXPLORE for eighth graders, PLAN for 10th graders, ACT for 11th graders, and WorkKeys for all CTE Concentrators in 12th grade. Test results provide guidance to students relative to college and career readiness benchmarks.

The North Carolina Report Card contain various data elements for high schools, including:

  • Student participation in accelerated learning options and Career and Technical Education 
courses;
  • Student success on North Carolina end-of-course (EOC) tests, compared to the district and state 
and by subgroup;
  • ACT, WorkKeys, and SAT scores;
  • Graduation project participation and,
  • Graduation rates.

Oklahoma 


Oklahoma House Bill 3399 repealed the Common Core State Standards in June 2014. The bill requires districts to return to the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards—the precursor to the Common Core. The bill directs the State Board of education to adopt new standards by August 2016.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and ACT, Inc. sponsor the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) statewide. Participating school districts test eighth-graders using the EXPLORE test, 10th-graders using the PLAN test, and 11th- and 12th-graders using the ACT assessment. Test results identify students who are not on track to meet college and career readiness benchmarks. Oklahoma uses an A-F Report Card Grading System to hold districts and schools accountable to college and career readiness goals. High schools receive weighted scores for (1) student performance on end-of-instruction tests; (2) annual student learning gains on the Algebra I and English II tests; and, (3) achievement of students in the bottom performance quartile. Schools may receive bonus points for meeting specific college and career indicators related to student performance on college entrance exams, in advanced coursework, or on EOI tests.

South Carolina

In addition to new college- and career -readiness assessments, South Carolina is developing new standards for mathematics and English language arts (ELA). The Common Core State Standards for mathematics and ELA remain in place for the 2014-15 school year. The South Carolina Department of Education is developing new standards for adoption beginning in the 2015-16 school year for mathematics and ELA. South Carolina withdrew from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in April 2014.

The South Carolina Department of Education holds schools and districts accountable through report cards. High schools receive composite scores based on graduation rates, success on state assessments, and the percentage of graduates earning college credit or participating in work-based experiences while still enrolled in high school.

Tennessee


Tennessee State Board of Education rules require districts to administer ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) for eighth and 10th grade students. Test results identify students who are not on track to meet college and career readiness benchmarks and trigger individual intervention plans. In particular, students who do not make a 19 on the math component of the PLAN must take a college preparatory course called “Bridge Math.”

Tennessee has implemented an early math remediation program called Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS) Math. The program provides the opportunity for high school seniors who have not yet met the college readiness benchmark for math (19 or higher on the ACT) to earn their remediation credit for free prior to entering a postsecondary institution.

In the first year of statewide implementation, 69 percent of SAILS students completed all remedial requirements and an additional 19 percent saved at least a semester of remediation, resulting in over $6.4 million in savings on tuition and books for Tennessee students. With the success of SAILS Math, THEC has received funding from Governor Haslam’s Online Innovation Fund to support the development of a complementary program for English that will allow students to earn remediation credit for both reading and writing in the senior year of high school.
The state board allows districts to require students to complete a senior-year experience to receive a high school diploma. Options include senior projects, internships, work-based learning (including apprenticeships), and community service.

Governor Bill Haslam signed House Bill 1549 into law in May 2014. The bill requires the State Board of Education to continue the use of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) to test students in grades three through 11 in math, reading, and writing. The state will issue a request for proposals for a new assessment system in these subjects and grades for subsequent school years. Tennessee’s Report Card accountability system incorporates five types of college and career data. They are:

  • Graduation rates, by gender and race/ethnicity;
  • End of Course (EOC) exam results, by performance level;
  • ACT scores, by subject area and composite;
  • Percentage of graduates meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks; and,
  • Percentage of graduates meeting state financial aid eligibility requirements.

Texas

In 2006, Texas became the first state to mandate the use of college and career readiness standards through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Standards (TEKS). The state measures TEKS proficiency through the STAAR EOC assessments. The Texas Education Agency is in the process of developing “measures of student progress,” which will provide an early warning indicator for standards not on track to meet the passing standard on the EOC assessments or who may be unready for postsecondary study.

House Bill 5 requires districts to partner with at least one postsecondary institution to develop and provide college preparatory courses designed for high school seniors whose performance on an EOC assessment, college admissions or placement exam, (e.g., ACT/SAT or Texas Success Initiative Assessment), or coursework does not meet college readiness standards. Students who successfully complete a college preparatory course are eligible to enroll directly, without remediation or further assessment, in college-level coursework in the associated content area at the partnering postsecondary institution.

The Texas Education Agency’s Accountability Rating System incorporates results across eight student groups for STAAR EOC assessments and high school graduation rates. Career and technical education indicators will be added in 2015. Schools may receive “academic achievement distinctions for participation and success rates on assessments (e.g., SAT, ACT, AP/IB) and completion of dual enrollment.

Virginia


The Standards of Learning establish college and career readiness expectations in the four core subjects, as well as for technology, fine arts, and foreign language. The Virginia Board of Education adopted revised Standards of Learning in math and English in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The College and Career Mathematics and English Performance Expectations build on the Standards of Learning by identifying the college readiness indicators that predict postsecondary success.
Indicators include (1) enrollment in Algebra II and chemistry courses; (2) exceeding the “advanced proficient” threshold on the math, reading, and writing SOL assessments; (3) completing an Advanced Studies diploma; and (4) earning college credit while enrolled in high school.
Virginia administers the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. High school students must pass at least six SOL assessments to receive a standard diploma. These assessments provide students with an accurate measure of whether they are on track to graduate high school ready for college and careers. The state will continue to administer the SOL assessments in 2015.

The state department of education, in consultation with higher education faculty, has developed English and Math Capstone Courses, which have completed required courses, earned at least two “verified” credits, but are not fully college ready. The Virginia General Assembly funds academies for students at risk of not meeting college and career readiness benchmarks through a program called Project Graduation.

The department of education produces school and district report cards, which include the (1) number and percentage of students participating in Advanced Placement and dual credit programs; (2) SOL test results; and, (3) the number of students who receive a career and technical education credential.

West Virginia

West Virginia administers the EXPLORE to eighth grade students and PLAN to tenth grade students (both ACT products) annually. These assessments provide students with an accurate measure of whether they are on track to graduate high school ready for college and careers.

The state measures high school students’ readiness for college and careers through the COMPASS® Mathematics and Writing Skills tests. All schools annually administer the COMPASS® to high school juniors. Students who do not achieve the college readiness benchmark for mathematics and/or English Language Arts are then able to take the Transition for English Language Arts and/or Mathematics for Senior’s course(s). A post-assessment is given upon completion of the appropriate transition course(s). Colleges and universities will use the COMPASS results when enrolling students in appropriate college math and English courses.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

Alabama

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education provides feedback reports on the postsecondary enrollment and success of recent high school graduates. The Commission tracks the feeder high schools for each public two-and four-year college. Each high school also receives a report that includes the number of students taking remedial courses.

Arkansas

Annual feedback reports provide information on Arkansas high school graduates enrolled in college, subdivided by district, school, and institution. The reports include data on (1) high school and first- semester college GPAs; (2) scores on college entrance and placement tests; (3) the percentage of students who completed the Smart Core; and (4) the number of students enrolled in remedial courses.

Delaware

Delaware Department of Education released in September 2014 the first annual feedback reports that includes data on student enrollment and remediation rates in Delaware public and private colleges. In addition, the state level report includes data on average first-year credit accumulation and GPA.

Florida

The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation provides high schools with information about the number and percentage of their graduates who have gone to college, their scores on placement tests, and the number enrolled in remedial courses. For past years, the Performance on the Common Placement Tests report has provided assessment results for the subtests of the SAT, ACT and the Common Placement Test (CPT) across the state’s postsecondary institutions.

Georgia

The University System of Georgia releases annual reports on SAT/ACT scores, high school GPA, and College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) completion rates for enrolled students. These reports do not disaggregate data by district or school.

Kentucky

The Kentucky High School Feedback Report provides high schools with the following information:

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates
  • Developmental education rates
  • Number of freshman year courses attempted and earned
  • Comparison of high school and college GPAs

  • Freshman retention rates

Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Education publishes data on the number and percentage of graduates who are attending college and the number who return after the first academic year. The department also publishes ACT scores by school and district.

Maryland

The Maryland Higher Education Commission produces a biennial high school feedback report. The Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) informs school districts on the college enrollment and first-year success of their graduates. The report compares the performance of students who did and did not complete a college-preparatory curriculum and identifies factors that predict how freshmen will perform. A Commission-led workgroup revised the SOAR Report in 2014 to include new and revised data elements with the improved report scheduled for publication in 2015.

Mississippi

Mississippi does not provide feedback reports from colleges to high schools on student admission, placement and performance.

North Carolina

The University of North Carolina System provides schools with three feedback reports: Freshman Application Report; Freshman Performance Report; and Retention, Graduation and Persistence Report. These reports include information about enrollment rates, student performance, and graduation rates.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Regents provides feedback to districts on the college-going rates and first-year success of recent high school graduates. Indicators include enrollment rates, first-year GPA and credits earned, mean ACT scores by high school, and the number and percentage of students taking developmental or remedial courses by subject.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Education compiles a report on the numbers and percentages of South Carolina high school graduates who attend college. The report indicates the numbers of college courses that students passed or failed by subject area. The summary also includes a percentage breakdown of the postsecondary activities of high school graduates, including college enrollment, gainful employment, and military enlistment.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education compiles an annual report on the admission standards for first-time entering freshmen. The report includes data on applications, acceptances, and enrollment and specifies the minimum SAT score required of most applicants for admission.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), in collaboration with ACT Inc., publishes annual feedback reports. The reports provide information on recent high school graduates enrolled in college, subdivided by district, school, college, and postsecondary system. These reports, which are limited to outcomes from Tennessee’s ACT-tested public and private high school graduates, track college enrollment, first-year college GPA, average ACT courses, and median course loads.

THEC publishes an annual higher education fact book, which provides detailed information about higher education enrollment and persistence in the state.

Texas

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provides high schools with a number of feedback reports. The report High School Graduates Enrolled in Higher Education the Following Fall by High School County, School District, High School provides high schools with information on the numbers of their graduates who enrolled in college the following fall and which institutions they attended. Other reports provide high schools with information on graduates’ college readiness, freshman-year performance (i.e., college GPA), and degree completion rates.

Virginia

The Virginia Department of Education publishes annual postsecondary enrollment reports by school and district. The data tables break down enrollment by institutional sector and demographic subgroup.
House Bill 886 (2014) requires the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to share remedial enrollment, credit accumulation, and degree and certificate completion, and graduates’ employment rates with districts. The bill requires districts to share these data with students and families on an annual basis. School divisions can do so by linking to the SCHEV Research website. The law further requires that all public and private institutions receiving any general fund support (including the Tuition Assistance Grant) provide the same information to students and prospective students. All required institutions link to the SCHEV Research website, usually to their specific institutional profile. The HB886 Compliance Report demonstrates institutional compliance.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Council of Community and Technical Colleges produce an annual report on college-going rates of recent high school graduates, by county and school. These reports do not contain data on the placement status and college success of high school graduates; however, the state’s High School Readiness Report discusses college developmental education, placement, GPA, and retention.

State Financial Aid

Alabama

The Alabama Student Grant Program provides up to $1,200 annually for students attending nonpublic institutions. The Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) provides need-based grants to students. Annual awards range from $300 to $5,000. To receive initial and renewal ASAP grants, students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Students with qualifying Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) may use the reward at nearly 80 postsecondary institutions in Alabama.

Arkansas

The state lottery funds the merit-based Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program. Freshman students receive $2,000. Students receive one thousand more dollars for every 30 credit hours completed. Students may receive up to $5,000 if they have senior standing. Students receive financial aid only if they maintain a 2.5 GPA and earn 30 credit hours per year. Students qualify for aid in two ways: (1) high school grades and assessment scores or (2) college freshman GPA.

Recent high school graduates must complete the Smart Core curriculum and achieve one of the following: GPA of at least 2.5 or an ACT composite score of at least 19 (or SAT equivalent). Full-time college students can earn the merit scholarship if they receive a first-semester GPA of at least 2.5 or produce an ACT composite score of at least 19. Academic Challenge Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA to continue receiving aid.

Two other merit scholarships exist on a more-limited basis. The Arkansas Governor’s Scholars program rewards up to $4,000 a year to the most highly qualified student in each county. Selection is based on a weighted formula that includes ACT/SAT score, high school GPA, class rank, and leadership skills. Renewal of the Governor’s Scholarship is contingent on maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Depending on available funding, Arkansas also gives up to $10,000 to 300 Governor’s Distinguished Scholars. Governor’s Distinguished Scholars must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and score at least 32 on the ACT (i.e., an equivalent of SAT score of 1410). To retain the reward, students must maintain a 3.25 GPA in college. Recipients of both awards may renew the scholarship for up to three additional years based on GPA and hours earned.

In addition to the Academic Challenge and Governor’s Scholars programs, Arkansas provides a number of other merit- and need-based scholarships to students based on family attributes or specific programs of study.

Delaware

Delaware’s awards the majority of financial aid through the Scholarship Incentive Program. The scholarship provides need-based aid up to $700 annually for students with a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students receive up to $1,500 in merit-based supplements based on GPA. The grant awards are not renewable, meaning that students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on an annual basis.

The Delaware Higher Education Office administers six professional incentive programs for students who pledge to enter teaching, nursing, optometry, speech pathology, or librarianship. In addition, there are several merit based scholarships administered through the Higher Education Office. Delaware is a participant in the Academic Common Market and pays for a limited number of students to enroll in veterinary programs through a partnership with SREB.

Students attending Delaware Technical Community College or enrolled in the Associate in Arts program through University of Delaware are eligible for the SEED scholarship, which covers tuition for up to two years. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and complete their FAFSA. Delaware State University students are eligible for the INSPIRE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA and complete a FAFSA. This provides for up to three years of tuition. Both scholarships are funded through the state.

Florida

The majority of state financial aid is allocated based on academic merit.

Academic and Medallion Scholar applicants may apply up to two additional optional units drawn from the core academic areas, and/or Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education fine arts units in order to raise their GPAs to the qualifying level.

House Bill 5101 (2014) created the National Merit Scholarship Incentive Program, which provide last-dollar aid to National Merit Finalist and Semifinalists. The scholarship provides aid equal to the highest cost of attendance at a Florida public university minus the sum of the student’s Bright Futures and National Achievement Scholarships. Aid is renewable as long as students maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Georgia

All lottery-funded scholarships reward financial aid based on academic merit.

Georgia residents graduating with regular diplomas may receive state lottery-funded HOPE Scholarships by earning a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 in core subjects (e.g., math, English, science, social studies and foreign language). College students may earn a HOPE scholarship if they have a qualifying GPA of 3.0 at the 30, 60, or 90 semester hour milestones.

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in college to keep the HOPE Scholarship. Institutions monitor continuing eligibility as students pass the 30, 60, or 90 semester hour thresholds. College students may regain HOPE eligibility if their GPAs exceed 3.0 at the next 30 semester hour milestone. Students can regain HOPE only once.

HOPE Scholarship recipients at Georgia public colleges receive a set tuition award amount based on the institution they are attending and the number of credit-hours for which they are enrolled. Full-time HOPE Scholarship recipients attending Georgia private colleges receive $1,910 per semester.

Students may be eligible for HOPE grants for certificate and diploma programs at public institutions by earning a minimum high school GPA of 2.0. HOPE Grant recipients at Georgia public colleges receive a set tuition award amount based on the number of credit-hours for which they are enrolled.

The Zell Miller Scholarship awards grants to students who (1) graduate from HOPE-qualifying high schools as class valedictorian or salutatorian or (2) possess a minimum 3.7 GPA with 1200 SAT (26 ACT). The Zell Miller Scholarship varies based on institution and whether the student attends college part time or full time. Students retain the scholarship as long as they maintain a GPA of 3.3. If a student’s GPA drops below 3.3, the student may be eligible for a regular HOPE scholarship, as long as the GPA stays above 3.0. Zell Miller recipients enrolled full time at private colleges receive $2,110 per semester.

Starting fall 2014, students may earn the Zell Miller Grant to pursue certificate or diploma programs at eligible public postsecondary institutions. To retain the grant, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA at the end of each term. HOPE and Zell Miller grant recipients may also be eligible for a Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant. All three grants are funded through state lottery revenues.

Current seniors who apply for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships must complete two full credits from any of four academic rigor course categories:

  • Advanced math (e.g., Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, Math III, or an equivalent course
  • Advanced science (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology II, or an equivalent course
  • Advanced foreign language courses
  • Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Dual Credit Enrollment courses in core subjects (i.e., English, math, science, and social studies). 
Current juniors must complete three full credits and current sophomores four full credits. 
Students who qualify for both scholarships may receive either a HOPE or a Zell Miller Scholarship, but not both. Students who become academically ineligible for either scholarship have only a single chance to regain it. Neither scholarship covers textbooks or institutional fees. The state caps HOPE scholarship aid at 127 credit hours.

Kentucky 


The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), which provides financial support for state residents based on their academic performance throughout high school.
The value of the award increases for each year of high school in which a student maintains a 2.5 or higher GPA in the Pre-College Curriculum. Students may earn additional increases based on their ACT or SAT composite scores. Students who were eligible for free or reduced-priced meals at any time during high school may earn additional supplements based on their performance on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. 
Students receive a scholarship equivalent to the total accumulated amount each year that they are enrolled in Kentucky postsecondary institutions, as long as they meet GPA requirements. To maintain the scholarship unconditionally, a student must earn a 3.0 GPA for each year in college. Students can receive half of the award amount if they fall below the 3.0 GPA threshold but maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Students may regain the scholarship if they meet renewal criteria by the end of the spring semester.

Louisiana

The majority of state financial aid is allocated based on academic merit. Louisiana’s Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship has four award categories.

Maryland

Nearly all state financial aid dollars for first-time, full-time freshmen are allocated based on demonstrated financial need.

Students may not hold the Guaranteed Access and Educational Assistance Grants simultaneously. Any combination of multiple state awards may not exceed $19,000 per year.

Maryland will implement during the 2015-2016 academic year, a 2+2 Transfer Scholarship (SB1215, 2014), which will provide scholarships of $1,000, or $2,000 for STEM Majors, for students who earn an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year institution.

Mississippi

The majority of state financial aid dollars for first-time, full-time freshmen are allocated based on academic merit.

North Carolina

The majority of financial aid dollars in North Carolina are allocated based on financial need. 
North Carolina sponsors four need-based grant programs that vary based on which type of college that students attend and the level of financial need.

All North Carolina need-based grants require students to submit the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid which generates the students’ Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Oklahoma

The majority of the state’s financial aid is provided through non-grant based aid such as loans, work-study and tuition waivers.

South Carolina

South Carolina awards all financial aid based on academic merit. Students may accept only one of the following awards, even if they meet eligibility requirements for more than one.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarships provide a maximum of $6,700 to first-year students and $7,500 per year to second- through fourth-year students at an eligible South Carolina four-year institution. Students must satisfy assessment and GPA requirements. Students can satisfy eligibility requirements if they:

  • Score at least 1200 on the SAT (27 on ACT) by the June test administration of their year of graduation, earn a 3.50 GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy at the end of their junior year, and rank in the top six percent of their high school class in either their sophomore, junior, or senior year; or
  • Score at least 1400 on the SAT (32 on the ACT) by the June test administration of their year of graduation and earn a minimum 4.0 GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy. 


LIFE Scholarships are available for students at each public and independent institution in South Carolina. The scholarships provide a maximum of $5,000, including a $300 book allowance. Students must meet two of the following requirements:

  • Score 1100 on the SAT or (24 ACT)
  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA based on the SC Uniform Grading Policy upon high school graduation; or

  • Rank in the top 30 percent of their graduating class.

LIFE Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative LIFE GPA and earn an average of 30 credit hours toward graduation each academic year in order to retain their scholarships. Palmetto Fellows Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative institutional GPA and earn at least 30 credit hours each academic year (not to include any AP, IB, dual enrollment, CLEP, or exempted credit hours).

Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars may receive an additional $2,500 enhancement in their second, third, or fourth year if they enter certain majors, including math, computer science, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, and middle grades education. Eligibility for the enhancement must be earned in the first academic year only and students must be enrolled in an eligible major at their home institution. Students also must meet all continuing eligibility requirements for the Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarships.

South Carolina HOPE scholarships provide a one-time maximum award of $2,800, including a $300 book allowance, to entering freshmen who had high school GPAs of at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA based on the SC Uniform Grading Policy upon high school graduation but who are not eligible for Palmetto Fellows or LIFE Scholarships. The state’s HOPE scholars who maintain a 3.0 LIFE GPA and earn an average of 30 credit hours toward graduation during their first academic year may qualify to receive the LIFE Scholarship for subsequent years.

Tennessee

Tennessee awards financial aid based on academic merit and financial need. Beginning with the class of 2015, Tennessee high school graduates will have the opportunity to enroll in two years of tuition-free education as part of a new scholarship called the Tennessee Promise. The Tennessee Promise is a last- dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover the remaining portion of tuition and fees after all other aid is applied (excluding loans and work-study). The scholarship funds can be applied toward tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges of applied technology, as well as two- or four-year institutions that offer an associate’s degree.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) program awards HOPE scholarships to recent high school graduates who attend approved Tennessee public or independent institutions. Students must have a score of 21 on the ACT (or 980 SAT) or a 3.0 weighted high school GPA. Students must maintain a 2.75 college GPA to renew the HOPE scholarship for the first 48 credit-hours and a 3.0 GPA to renew after 72 credit-hours. HOPE scholars also may qualify for supplemental awards, including the General Assembly Merit Scholarship and the need-based ASPIRE Award.

The HOPE Access Grant is awarded to students who earn a 2.75 weighted high school GPA, score an 18 on the ACT (or 860 on the SAT) and have an annual household income of $36,000 or less. While the HOPE Access Grant expires after one academic year, students can receive the HOPE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA for their first two semesters of college. The state also provides several other grant opportunities for specific student subgroups through the TELS Program.

Tennessee graduates who qualify for the Federal Pell Grant and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) under $2,100 can receive additional aid through the Tennessee Student Assistance Award. Funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, also part of TELS Program, is available to Tennessee residents who attend one the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology.

Texas

Texas does not sponsor a statewide, merit-based scholarship program.

The Towards Excellence, Access and Success (TEXAS) Grant provides up to $8,000 annually to eligible students who enroll at Texas public universities within sixteen months of high school graduation, whose expected family contribution is less than $4,800, and who successfully complete the Foundation, Recommended, or Distinguished Achievement high school diploma. Students who have earned an associate degree, transfer to a four-year institution with at least 24 credit hours and a GPA of 2.5 or higher may also be eligible. Effective fall 2014, community and technical college students are no longer eligible to award initial year TEXAS Grants. Community and technical college students may continue to receive renewal awards if eligible.

Students receive priority consideration for TEXAS Grant awards if they satisfy requirements in at least two of the following four areas : (1) advanced academic programs ; (2) Texas Success Initiative (TSI) college readiness ; (3) class standing ; or, (4) advanced math.

To receive a TEXAS Renewal Grant, eligible students must maintain an overall grade-point average (GPA) of 2.5 and complete at least 24 credit hours per year. Students may renew TEXAS Grants for up to five years.

Students with demonstrated financial need who rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class, complete the Recommended or Distinguished Achievement program , and enroll full time in Texas public colleges or universities may be eligible to participate in the Top 10% Scholarship Program. This program awards eligible students up to $2,000 per year. While the Top 10% Program has a Workforce Bonus Award, the Legislature has not provided sufficient funding for this supplement for the fall 2013 and 2014 semesters.

In order to renew the Top 10% Award, eligible students must complete at least 75 percent of credit-hours attempted, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25, and complete at least 30 credit hours per year.

The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) was created in 2001 (Texas Education Code Section 56.402) to provide grant aid for tuition and required fees to financially needy students who enroll in Texas public two-year colleges. Public two-year colleges have experienced a substantial growth in enrollment over the last two years, accounting for an estimated 56 percent of public higher education enrollment in fall 2011. To be eligible for a TEOG, a student must be enrolled at a public community college, technical college, or state college, have an Estimated Family Contribution of no more than $2,000, and enroll in at least six semester credit hours per term.

Students who continue in college and who meet continuing eligibility requirements may receive awards for up to 75 semester credit hours, for four years, or until they receive an associate’s degree, whichever comes first. The continuing eligibility requirements are: (1) Meet the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements at the end of first year; and End of second year – Must complete at least 75 percent of the hours attempted in the prior academic year and have an overall college GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale

The award amount is equal to the statewide average of a student’s tuition and required fees. The financial aid office at the college the student is attending will notify the student if he/she is eligible for a TEOG.

Virginia

The majority of the state’s financial aid is provided through non-grant based aid such as loans, work-study and tuition waivers.

The Virginia Commonwealth Award is a need-based, institutional grant funded through state dollars. Colleges and universities choose how to award aid. The law, however, requires that institutions award aid in such a way that the students with the greatest need receive the largest awards.

The Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program is a mixed aid (i.e., merit and need) program that provides state grants to eligible, full-time students enrolled in a Virginia public two- or four-year colleges or universities who have demonstrated financial need and who graduate from high school with GPAs of at least 2.5. In order to renew aid, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and demonstrate continued financial need.

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program provides financial aid for students attending in- state, nonpublic institutions. The maximum 2014-2015 award is $3,100.

The Two-Year College Transfer Grant provides $1,000 per year to students who have earned associate degrees at a Virginia two-year college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, enroll full-time at an in-state, four-year institution, and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $12,000 or less. Students who enter baccalaureate programs in science, teaching, engineering, math, or nursing fields are eligible to reach an additional $1,000 per year.
Smaller merit scholarship and loan programs provide aid to aspiring teachers, nurses, shipyard workers, and aerospace and civil engineers.

West Virginia

West Virginia awards financial aid based on academic merit, financial need, and intended career.

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-State Student Excellence (PROMISE) Scholarship. The program offers awards for tuition and fees of up to $4,750 toward attending an in-state public or private college.

To be eligible, West Virginia high school graduates must meet two requirements: (1) a 3.0 GPA in PROMISE core and overall high school course work; and (2) an ACT composite score of at least 22, with minimum scores of 20 in each subject (or equivalent SAT scores). The PROMISE core is aligned with university admission requirements.

To renew the award, full-time enrollees must earn a 2.75 GPA in the first year and a cumulative 3.0 GPA thereafter. Further, students must earn a minimum of 30 credit-hours per year.

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant (HEGP) is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Maximum annual awards are $2,600. This grant can be used in conjunction, or “stacked,” with the PROMISE Scholarship.

The West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant program is a need-based financial aid program for students enrolled part-time or enrolled in a short-term workforce training program. Award amounts vary.

The West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship provides a maximum annual award of $3,000 for students admitted to eligible programs. Graduates must repay the scholarship with interest if they do not meet the work requirement (i.e., one year of in-state work for each year the scholarship was received).

Other scholarship and loan programs increase affordability for students entering early childhood, teaching, and health science fields.

SREB State Highlights

Since SREB first catalogued various policies in SREB states related to high school completion and postsecondary admission, the region has seen many changes on most of the policies. States have developed and reformed their assessment and accountability systems and made strides aligning high school graduation requirements with college admission requirements. Many have much more to offer in college and career planning now than they did a dozen years ago. Highlights of recent changes include the following examples, all of which can be traced in the last several editions of HSCC.

  • Most SREB states offer students multiple diploma paths to high school graduation—some up to four paths—each state with varying course requirements. While each state has a standard diploma path, other state diploma paths offer students the option of a college or career technical focus or even graduate in three years, instead of the traditional four years. In the states with single diploma tracks, students are provided with concentration or endorsement options that allow to them to choose required or elective courses within a college or career technical focus.
  • Depending on the state, students must complete from 21 to 24 units to earn a standard high school diploma. All but one state require that all students complete four English courses.
  • The majority of SREB states require four math courses to earn a standard high school diploma.
  • Math course requirements vary by state. However, every state requires students to complete an Algebra I course and a geometry course or a course equivalent.
  • All but one state require that students take three science courses to earn a standard diploma, but not every state requires that at least one of the required science courses be lab-based.
  • Most SREB states use end-of-course tests to measure student academic progress across a variety of courses and subjects. Each of these states requires that these exams count as some percentage of the final grade for the course.
  • Eight states link eligibility for graduation to passing certain courses and exams. Maryland, for example, requires students to take end-of-course tests in four subjects. Students must earn passing scores on each test or earn a passing combined score on the four tests to graduate.
  • Every state now incorporates college and career measures into its state’s accountability system. State measures include, for example, the use of assessment results in various subjects, participation in accelerated learning opportunities and industry certification.
  • By 2014, eight SREB states required that all high school juniors take the ACT as part of the state’s accountability program. These states use ACT’s College Ready Benchmarks as their proxy measure for college and career readiness until they adopt state assessments with college- and career-readiness measures to use within the next several years.
  • While every state requires middle school and high school students to participate in academic and career planning activities, not every state designates specific activities or timelines.
  • Every SREB state offers accelerated learning opportunities that allow high school students to earn college or career technical credits through a variety of programs such as dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, Early College and competency-based credit.
  • All SREB states have developed postsecondary to high school feedback reports, through which the state notifies districts and schools about their graduates’ postsecondary enrollment performance.
  • While some SREB states have linked high school graduation requirements to college admission requirements, other states allow institutions to set admission requirements independently.
  • Six SREB states require that 11th grade assessments be used for postsecondary placement. Five of these states exempt students who pass the assessments from postsecondary institutional placement testing.
  • The majority of state financial aid in the SREB region is provided to students based on merit. But, all 16 SREB states have need-based scholarship programs to increase educational access for students from low- and middle-income families.
  • Nine SREB states use state lottery funding to support merit-based aid programs.
  • Almost all of SREB states have established minimum high school grade point averages between 2.5 and 3.0 that students must meet to be eligible for state need- and merit-based financial aid.
  • Thirteen SREB states require that students receiving state financial aid maintain a minimum grade point average to continue receiving aid.
  • In addition to minimum grade point average requirements that may apply, seven SREB states also tie continuing eligibility for state financial aid to specific credit hour requirements, either by semester or year.
  • Six SREB states require students to complete a specific number of credits hours per semester or year.
  • One SREB state stipulates that students must complete 75 percent of credits attempted to retain their financial aid.
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West Virginia – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Subjects Personalized Education Plan Common Course Requirements
English 4 • English 9, English 10, English 11
• English 12 or Transition English Language Arts for seniors
Mathematics 4 • Math I, Math II, Math III
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Virginia – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Students must earn at least 22 standard units to earn a high school diploma. Students seeking a standard diploma also must pass six end-of-course Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. Students who pass corresponding SOL assessments receive “verified credit” for those courses. To receive an advanced diploma, students must earn four additional standard units and pass three additional SOL assessments.

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Texas – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements

House Bill 5 (2013) authorizes the Texas State Board of Education to adopt rules for the new Foundation High School Program. The Texas commissioner of education has developed a transition plan to replace the Recommended, Distinguished, and Minimum Diplomas with the Foundation Program. Students who enter ninth-grade in the 2014-2015 school year will be the first group required to graduate under the Foundation Program.

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Tennessee – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Subjects Core Curriculum Course Requirements
English 4 English
Mathematics 4 • Algebra I
• Geometry
• Algebra II
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Oklahoma – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 23 units to earn a regular high school diploma. The College-Preparatory/Work-Ready curriculum is Oklahoma’s default diploma path. Parents or guardians may waive this curriculum if they wish, which places their student onto the Core diploma path.

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Mississippi – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Districts must require students to complete at least 21 units before issuing a high school diploma. Students may choose the traditional academic or career diploma paths. The latter requires students to complete four units in one of 16 career clusters.

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Maryland – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 21 units to earn a regular high school diploma. Students complete the same core curriculum requirements but have the choice to pursue an academic, advanced technology, or career-technology concentration through elective courses.

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Louisiana – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Students may complete two types of high school diplomas: the College and Career Diploma or the Career Diploma. Students may choose to enter one of two college and career curricula: the Basic Core or more rigorous LA Core 4. Districts must enroll all students not pursuing the Career Diploma in the Core 4 curriculum.

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Kentucky – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Course and Diploma Requirements

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a regular high school diploma.  

Subjects

Diploma Units

Course Requirements

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Georgia – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Seniors (2014-2015)

Course and Diploma Requirements

Subjects

Core Curriculum

Course Requirements

English

4

Grade 9 Literature and Composition
American Literature and Composition

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Florida – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Entering

Ninth-Grade Class of 2015-16

Students must complete at least 24 standard units to earn a standard high school diploma. State law allows high school students to pursue a diploma using three-year paths. These accelerated paths require higher minimum GPAs than the state’s standard high school diploma.

Subjects

Common Requirements

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Delaware – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a high school diploma. All future senior classes will also have new core course requirements (see below).

Subject

Diploma Units

English Language Arts

4

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Arkansas – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for Current Seniors

The state requires districts to enroll high school students in the Smart Core, unless parents sign a waiver to opt their children out of the default curriculum. While the two diploma paths require the same number of course credits in each subject area, specific course requirements vary.

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Alabama – High School to College & Careers

High School Graduation Requirements for 2016-17

Course and Diploma Requirements

Alabama provides students with multiple paths to the state’s single high school diploma. Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, all ninth-grade students must earn 24 credits — 21.5 of which are required. However, students can pursue various paths to the single diploma by substituting some of the required credits with credits from Career Technical Education, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Postsecondary credits through dual enrollment or other state-approved courses.