Florida – High School to College & Careers

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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

Standard Diploma

Scholar Diploma

Merit Diploma

English

 

4

4

4

Mathematics

Algebra I
Geometry

4

4

4

Science

Biology I

3

3

3

Social Science

American History
World history
Government (1/2 unit) Economics (1/2 unit)

3

3

3

World Languages

 

2

Fine Arts

 

1

Physical Education

 

1

Career/Technical

 

3 or 4

Electives

 

 

2

0 or 1

TOTAL

 

24

18

18

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 GPA
  • 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.

Scholar Diploma

  • Complete curriculum with 3.5 GPA and receive a grade of “B” or higher in each course.
  • Complete six of the 18 units through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. All 18 units earned must satisfy admission requirements for the State University System (university admission requirements).
  • Earn two units of the same foreign language or demonstrate competency in a second language.

Merit Diploma

  • Complete curriculum with 3.0 GPA and receive a grade of a “C” or higher in each course.
  • Complete three units in a single career education area; (2) three units of dual credit, career and technical education courses, or (3) four units in vocational or career and technical education courses.

Assessment Requirements

To graduate, high school seniors must pass the grade 10 reading assessment and Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) test. 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.

Diploma Endorsements

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 2014-15 school year may earn the scholar designation if they complete at least one college-level course and do all of the following: 

Subject

Courses

Assessments

English

 

Pass the grade 11 English language Arts (ELA) Common Core Assessment

Math

Complete Algebra II and one credit in statistics or an equally rigorous course

Pass the Geometry and Algebra II EOCs

Science

Earn one credit in chemistry or physics and one credit in a course of equal rigor

Pass the Biology I EOC assessment (or AP/IB equivalent)

Social Studies

 

Pass the U.S. history EOC assessment (or AP/IB equivalent)

Foreign Language

Earn two credits in the same language

 

College and Career Readiness

The Florida Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2010. The State 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 State Department of Education will require the implementation of the new standards during the 2014-15 school year.

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.  

College and Career Planning

While they are in sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grade, students must complete a one-unit course in career and education planning and create personalized academic and career plans. The course provides information related to diploma options, assessment requirements, scholarships, and accelerated learning options.

Florida House Bill 5101 (2014) requires the development of an online student advisement system. The online platform will allow students to search public colleges and universities to identify programs of study that align with their career and academic interests and abilities.

MyCareerShines is the state’s comprehensive education and career planning system that provides targeted guidance for middle grades and high school students and their families to help plan for college

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

High school students may enroll in academic or career certificate courses and earn dual credit. The college dual enrollment option requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher and achievement of common placement test scores. The career certificate option requires a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Students enrolled in dual enrollment programs are exempt from the payment of registration, tuition and laboratory fees. 

Early Admission

State law defines early admission as a form of dual enrollment in which students enroll in a college or university full-time (i.e., 12 to 15 credits) during their junior or senior years of high school. Entrance requirements for early college enrollees vary by institution.   

Early High School Graduation

Students may graduate early through a combination of high school, online and dual credit courses.

Competency-Based Credit

The Credit Acceleration Program allows students to take end-of-course exams and earn credit for the course, even if students have not enrolled in or completed the course. The program can enable students to pursue other accelerated options, including dual credit, early admissions and early graduation.   

Advanced Placement

High schools must offer at least four dual credit or AP courses — one each in English, math, science, and social studies.

Career and Technical Education

Florida has participated in the National Career Clusters Framework initiative and organizes its secondary and postsecondary programs by the nationally recognized career clusters.

Postsecondary Admissions and Placement

State University System Admissions

Subjects

Credits Required

Course Requirements

Minimum Assessment Requirements

English

4

At least three units must have writing component

• ACT Reading and Writing: 19/18
• SAT Verbal AND Writing: 460/440

Mathematics

4

All units at and above level of Algebra I

• ACT Math: 19
• SAT Math: 460

Science

3

Two units must be lab-based

 

Social Science

3

 

 

World Languages

2

Both credits in same language. Applicants can waive requirement by showing fluency in language equal to or higher than the 2nd course level

 

Electives

2

 

 

TOTAL

18

   

Applicants must graduate with the standard diploma. The above standards are minimum eligibility requirements for students seeking admission to the State University System (SUS). Individual institutions may choose to establish more stringent admission requirements within the parameters outlined in Board of Governors’ regulations. 

Florida has three routes to university admission:

(1) Talented Twenty – Students receive guaranteed admission to one of the 12 state universities, if they are in the top 20 percent of their graduating class while completing the 18 credits required for SUS admissions and submitting SAT or ACT scores

(2) Standard admission – universities admit based on SUS core academic credits, weighted core GPAs, and SAT/ACT scores

(3) Alternative admission – A limited number of applicants who are not eligible for standard admission may be considered for alternative admission.  University admissions officers review a number of factors, including but not limited to, potential for success, family education background, socioeconomic background, and graduation from a low-performing high school.  The additional factors shall not include preferences in the admissions process based on race, national origin, or sex.  

Florida College System Admissions

Students who attend two-year institutions must have high school diplomas or equivalency diplomas or must demonstrate potential for success in postsecondary course work.

Statewide College Placement

During the 2013 legislative session, an exemption to common placement testing and developmental education was passed for certain students who graduated from a Florida public school. All others are required to take a common placement test and are placed into courses in mathematics and English according to their scores. Institutions exempt students from developmental education requirements if they meet certain cut scores.  Students with SAT, ACT or ACCUPLACER scores below the cut score thresholds (or without scores) must take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (see chart below). Students scoring below PERT thresholds must enroll in developmental education courses. Students scoring at or above a 262 on the Grade 10 Reading FCAT 2.0 are exempt from reading and writing remediation.

Test

Math

Reading/Verbal

English/Writing

ACT

19

19

17

SAT

440

440

N/A

ACCUPLACER

72

83

83

PERT

114

106

103

Feedback Reports

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.

State Financial Aid

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

Bright Futures Programs

Initial Eligibility Criteria

Renewal Criteria

Academic Scholars

3.5 GPA on 16-unit core curriculum
SAT 1290 or ACT 29
100 hours of community service

3.0 GPA
Attempt at least 24 semester hours annually

Medallion Scholars

3.0 GPA on 16-unit core curriculum
SAT 1170 or ACT 26
75 hours of community service

2.75 GPA
Attempt at least 24 semester hours annually

Gold Seal Vocational Scholars

3.0 GPA on 14-unit core curriculum (excludes foreign language)
Meet state placement cut scores
30 hours of community service

2.75 GPA
Attempt at least 24 semester hours annually

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.

Special Thanks

SREB would like to thank the staff at the following agencies for their assistance in carefully reviewing and confirming the accuracy of the policies and programs described in this document:

Florida College System
Florida Department of Education State University System of Florida Board of Governors

Sources

Florida College System
Florida Department of Education
Florida Legislature
MyCareerShines Planning System Office of Student Financial Assistance, FLDOE State University System of Florida Board of Governors