Diploma Requirements for High School

Overview

High School Graduation Requirements

Requirements for the standard high school diploma vary across states. Differences include required coursework and credit minimums, diploma pathway options and designations or endorsements, high school assessments and related scores. (Updated August 2019)

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Alabama
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2013 and Beyond

Alabama provides students with multiple paths to the state’s single high school diploma. All students must earn 24 credits — 21.5 of which are a required course of study. However, students can pursue an Alabama High School Diploma through multiple pathways by substituting some of the required credits with credits from career and technical education, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, postsecondary credits through dual enrollment, or other state-approved courses. Each student is required to have a four-year graduation plan.

Regardless of the paths that students choose, they must complete four units each in core subjects (English, math, science and social studies), one unit of physical education and a half unit of health. Students must take three units of either foreign language or career or technical education or arts education. Two and a half credits of electives complete the 24-credit requirement. Finally, to be eligible to graduate, students must complete one online/technology enhanced course or experience unless exceptions have been approved through Individualized Education Plans.

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English 9-12

AP, IB, postsecondary, or other SDE-approved courses

Math

4

Algebra I

Geometry  

Algebra II with Trigonometry or Algebra II

Fourth math

Substitutions may include: AP, IB, postsecondary, or other SDE-approved courses

Fourth math-credit eligible courses from CTE, AP, IB, postsecondary or other SDE-approved courses

Science

4

Biology

A physical science

Two other rigorous science courses

AP, IB, postsecondary, or other SDE-approved courses

Chemistry, Physics or Physical Science

Science-credit eligible courses from CTE, AP, IB, postsecondary or other SDE-approved courses

Social Studies

4

World History 

U.S. History I and II

1/2 Credit U.S. Government  

1/2 Credit Economics

AP, IB, postsecondary, or other SDE-approved courses

History courses must be taken in this order. U.S. Government and Economics courses are to be taken after the history courses, but not necessarily in any given sequence.

social studies-credit eligible courses from CTE, AP, IB, postsecondary or other SDE-approved courses

Physical Education  

1

Lifelong Individualized  Fitness

JROTC

Health Education

1/2

 

 

Career Preparedness

1

Career and academic planning, computer applications, financial literacy

 

CTE/ Foreign Language/ Arts Education

3

   

Electives

2 1/2

   

Total Credits

24

All students are required to complete one online/technology enhanced course.
AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.
SDE means State Department of Education

Assessment Requirements

High school students take ACT assessments or an Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program alternative. Tenth-grade students are required to take the Pre-ACT in four different subject areas: reading, math, English, and science. Eleventh-grade students are required to take the ACT with Writing in the same four different subject areas. Grade twelve students must take the ACT WorkKeys in three subject areas: graphic literacy, workplace documents and applied math. The ACT WorkKeys taken by grade 12 students may be substituted with an “evidence collected or locally created” assessment. Students are also required to pass the Civics Test in the United States Government class.

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Arkansas
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2017 and Beyond

The state requires districts to enroll high school students in the Smart Core diploma pathway unless parents sign a waiver to opt their children out of the default curriculum, in which case they will participate in the Basic Core diploma pathway. While the two diploma paths require the 22 course credits in each subject area, specific course requirements vary.

Subject Credits Courses Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English 9, 10, 11, and 12

AP, IB, postsecondary, or other ADE-approved courses

Math

4

Algebra I or A&B

Geometry I or A&B

Algebra II

One additional math course beyond Algebra II

All students must take a math course in grade 11 or grade 12 and complete Algebra II.

Comparable concurrent credit college courses may be substituted where applicable. Computer Science may count as one math credit.

Science

3

Biology

Physical Science

one additional science course

Sciences course choices include Physical Science, Biology or Applied Biology/Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics or Principles of Technology I & II or PIC Physics.

Social Studies

3

World History

U.S. History

Civics

Other social studies or Economics

3 Credits:

World History

U.S. History

Civics

Other social studies or Economics

Oral Communication

1/2

 

 

Fine Arts

1/2

 

 

Health and Safety

1/2

 

 

Physical Education

1/2

 

 

Career Focus

6

All units in the career focus requirement shall be established through guidance and counseling at the local school district based on the contemplated work aspirations. Career focus courses shall conform local district policy and reflect state frameworks through course sequencing and career course concentrations where appropriate.

Total Credits

22

 

 

AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.
Students may substitute one computer science credit for one unit of math, but must take at least one math unit in either Grade 11 or 12. 
Algebra II and/or fourth math may be replaced by another approved course if Smart Core is waived.

The state requires high school students to take a half-unit digital course. Students must also earn a credit in a course that includes personal and family finance and must complete hands-on CPR training.

Students may substitute a flex unit of an approved computer science course (any course starting with 465 or 565) for either the 4th math or 3rd science requirement. Two distinct, approved computer science courses may replace both the 4th math and 3rd science requirements. In this case, any additional computer science credit will be counted as a career focus credit.

Assessment Requirements

The state requires ACT Aspire for Grades 9 and 10 in five different subject areas: English, reading, math, science and writing. All grade 11 students will have the opportunity to take the ACT English, reading, math and science subject tests, although participation remains optional. Students must also pass the Arkansas Civics’ Exam.

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Delaware
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2015 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a high school diploma.

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Substitutions

English

4

Four credits in English language arts

AP, IB, or dual enrollment English courses or Advanced Composition 

Math

4

All students must earn credits equivalent to Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

Students must complete an Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics III course.

 Science

3

Biology 

two additional science courses

AP, IB, or dual enrollment science courses

Social Studies

3

U.S. History

two additional social studies courses

AP, IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

World Language

2

Two courses in the same language

Students may either earn a minimum of two World language credits in the same language or demonstrate Novice-high or higher proficiency on a nationally recognized assessment of language proficiency other than English.

Physical Education

1

   

Health Education

1/2

   

Career Pathway

3

 

Credits pre-planned and sequential courses designed to develop knowledge and skills in a specific career or academic area.

Electives

3 1/2

   

Total Credits

24

All 8th through 12th grade students shall have a Student Success Plan.

AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.

Assessment Requirements

Delaware System of Student Assessments requires students following a traditional graduation school to participate in the following assessments:

Grades

DeSSA Assessment

10

DeSSA Science (or upon completion of a high school biology course), PSAT 10

11 

DeSSA Social Studies (or upon completion of U.S. History), SAT School Day

12 

ACT WorkKeys

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

Delaware also offers optional assessments: Smarter Interim Assessment for all grades as well as the PSAT for grade 9 and the PSAT/NMSQT for grade 11.

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Florida
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2014 and Beyond

Students may choose from five options to earn a high school diploma. The standard diploma requires students to complete at least 24 credits. Additional options include an 18-credit, Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning option, a Career and Technical Education Pathway, and an International Baccalaureate curriculum, or an Advanced International Certificate of Education curriculum. Students must earn a 2.0 grade-point average for all cohort years.

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

English III

English IV

ELA Honors, AP, AICE, IB and dual enrollment courses

Math

4

Algebra I

Geometry

two additional math courses  

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

An industry certification that leads to college credit may substitute for up to two math credits.

Science

3

Biology

Two additional rigorous science courses  

Two of the science courses must have a lab component.

Substitutions include AP, IB, or dual enrollment science courses.

An industry certification, or a related computer science course, that leads to college credit may substitute for up to one science credits other than Biology.

Social Studies

3

World History

U.S. History

1/2 Credit U.S. Government  

1/2 Credit Economics with Financial Literacy 

AP, IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

Physical Education  

1

To include the integration of health

Eligible courses/substitutions are specified in the Florida Course Code Directory at www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd.

They include AP, IB, and Credit Recovery.

Arts

1

Fine and Performing Arts, Speech and Debate, or Practical Arts

Electives

8

   

Total Credits

24

Students must earn a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and must complete one course online.

AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.
A computer science course with a related industry certification may substitue for up to one math credit (except for Algebra 1 or high-level math).

Districts may use computer science courses to satisfy certain graduation requirements for math and science if students also earn the related industry certification. A computer science course with a related industry certification may substitute for up to one math credit (except for Algebra 1 or high-level math) or one science credit (except for Biology 1).

Students can 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.

Students may also complete a state-approved apprenticeship program as a substitution for high school credit in one or two areas: “one credit in fine or performing arts, speech and debate, or practical arts,” and/or eight elective credits.

Diploma Designations for the Standard Diploma

Scholar Diploma Designation

In addition to meeting the 24-credit standard high school diploma requirements and the state assessment requirements, a student must:

  • Earn 1 credit in Algebra II
  • Earn 1 credit in statistics or an equally rigorous math course
  • Earn 1 credit in chemistry or physics
  • Earn 1 credit in a course equally rigorous to chemistry or physics
  • Earn 2 credits in the same world language
  • Earn at least 1 credit in AP, IB, AICE or a dual enrollment course

A student is exempt from the Biology I or U.S. History assessment if the student is enrolled in an AP, IB or AICE Biology I or U.S. History course and the student:

  • Takes the respective AP, IB or AICE assessment
  • Earns the minimum score to earn college credit
Merit Diploma Designation
  • Meet the standard high school diploma requirements
  • Attain one or more industry certifications from the list established (per section 1003.492, Statutes [F.S.])

Assessment Requirements

To graduate, high school seniors must pass the grade 10 English Language assessment or obtain a concordant score on the ACT/SAT. Both ninth and 10th graders must take Florida Standards Assessments in English Language Arts reading and writing. Students must also pass the Algebra I, Algebra II (if enrolled), Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History EOCs, which constitute 30 % of final course grades. Students who attain the minimum score necessary to earn college credit on the AP, IB, or AICE assessment do not need to take the EOC for the corresponding course.

State Board Rule 6A-10.0315, establishes the test scores used to determine whether a student is ready for college level coursework. If a student does not meet the state established cut score, this indicates that additional preparation may be necessary before entering college level courses. Assessments used to help determine readiness include the SAT, Grade 10 FCAT 2.0 Reading, and ACT exams.

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Georgia
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2008 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 23 units to earn a standard high school diploma. 

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Substitutions

English

4

Ninth-Grade Literature and Composition

American Literature and Composition

Two additional English courses

AP, IB, or other concurrent courses

The Writing, Conventions, and Listening, Speaking and Viewing strands of the Georgia Performance Standards shall be taught in sequence in grades 9-12. 

Math

4

Math I or GPS Algebra

Math II or GPS Geometry

Math III or GPS Advanced Algebra

One additional math course

AP, IB, dual enrollment or other math courses aligned to GPS or CCGPS

Science

4

Biology

Physical Science or Physics

Chemistry, Earth Systems, Environmental Science

Fourth science

AP or IB equivalent course

Fourth science credit may be used to meet both the science and elective requirements.
AP/IB equivalent

Social Studies

3

U.S. History

World History

1/2 Credit American Government/ Civics

1/2 Credit Economics

AP or IB equivalent course

Health and Physical Education 

1

Students shall combine one-half or one-third units of credit from the following courses: Health, Personal Fitness, or Advanced Personal Fitness

Districts may waive this requirement for students who earn three credits in JROTC if the courses include health and physical education curriculum requirements as outlined in state board rule.

Career and Technical Education; modern language/ Latin; or fine arts

3

Students are encouraged to focus on one of the following areas of interest: career and technical education, foreign language, or fine arts.

CTAE credits must be taken in a coherent sequence on a pathway leading to a career readiness certificate endorsed by related industries.

Districts may award foreign language credit to students whose native language is not English.

American Sign Language may be taken to fulfill the modern language requirement.

Electives

4

 

Fourth science may substitute as an elective credit.

Total Credits

23

   
AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.
Unit credit is only awarded only for courses that include concepts and skills based on the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) or Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) for grades 9-12 or those approved by the State Board of Education

Assessment Requirements

Schools administer Georgia Milestones End-of-Course tests in eight associated courses across four subjects, including:

  • English language arts: Grade 9 Literature and Composition, American Literature and Composition
  • Math: Coordinate Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Analytic Geometry
  • Science: Biology, Physical Science
  • Social studies: U.S. History, Economics

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

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Kentucky
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2019 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a standard high school diploma. Students must complete one or more of the following requirements:

  1. Complete the precollege curriculum as established by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
  2. Earn a benchmark score on one section of a college admissions or placement exam.
  3. Complete three postsecondary credit hours or more of a KDE-approved dual credit course with a grade of C or higher.
  4. Complete one course that meets the following criteria:
    1. Advance placement with a score of three or higher;
    2. Cambridge Advanced International with a score of E or higher; or
    3. International baccalaureate with a score of five or higher.
  5. Obtain a Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board approved industry certification.
  6. Complete four credits from valid courses within a KDE-approved career pathway.
  7. Receive verification for completing 500 hours of exceptional work experience or alternative requirements as prescribed in a student’s IEP.
  8. Complete two years in an approved pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship program.

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

Two additional English courses

Options for additional English courses include English III, English IV, and other dual credit and AP options. 

Math

4

Algebra I

Geometry  

Two additional math courses

Options four additonal math courses include Algebra II, Precalculus, College Algebra, Calculus, dual credit CTE math, and other dual credit and AP options aligned with the student’s ILP.

Science

3

Lab-based science experiences

Options include Chemistry, Physics, Bilology, CSI Forensics, and other dual credit and AP options. One course must be aligned with the student’s ILP.

Social Studies

3

three social studies courses

Options include Government, U.S. History, World Civilizations/History, and other dual credit and AP options. One course must be aligned with the student’s ILP.

Health

1/2

Credit to include the content strands of individual well-being, consumer decision, personal wellness, mental wellness, and community services

Physical Education 

1/2

Credit to include the content strands of personal wellness, psychomotor, and lifetime activity

History and Appreciation of Visual and Performing Arts

1

Credit to include the content strands of arts, dance, music, theatre, and visual arts or a standards-based specialized arts course based on the student’s Individual Learning Plan.

Credits aligned with a student’s Individualized Learning Plan

6

 

Credit to include the content strands of individual well-being, consumer decision, personal wellness, mental wellness, and community services

Total Credits

22

   

To be eligible for graduation, students must also receive instruction in financial literacy, demonstrate essential workplace skills and competency in technology, and maintain and update an Individualized Learning Plan each year of high school.

Assessment Requirements

High school students take ACT Quality Core end-of-course tests in English 0I, Algebra II, Biology I, and U.S. History. Students must also pass a Civics test. Grade 10 students may be administered the ACT depending on available state funding. Students in grade 11 take both the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress exam and the ACT. Twelfth grade students who do not meet ACT benchmarks must take the KYOTE, or Kentucky Online Testing in designated subjects. Students enrolled in CTE courses may take the KOSSA or Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment after completing two credits as well as the ACT WorkKeys upon enrolling in a third CTE credit in an approved career pathway.

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Louisiana
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering Ninth Grade in 2014 and Beyond

Louisiana students may choose from two high school diploma pathway options: the Taylor Opportunity for Students University diploma pathway or the Jump Start TOPS Tech Career diploma pathway. The Taylor University Pathway, requiring 24 credits, rewards students for completing more rigorous options such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual enrollment courses. The Jump Start program, requiring 23 credits, allows students to take more career courses, certifies skill mastery in specific career fields and prepares students for high-wage careers.

All Louisiana’s ninth and 10th grade students will take common foundational coursework, irrespective of the diploma pathway they ultimately receive. Each student will be required to complete two units each of English, math, science and social studies, one half credit of health, and one and one half credits of physical education in these grades.

Subject TOPS University Diploma Jump Start TOPS Tech (Career Diploma)
English

Four Credits:

English I

English II

English III*

English IV*

Four Credits:

English I

English II

2 credits from*: English III, English IV, AP, IB, Business English, Technical Writing or comparable LA Technical College courses as approved by BESE

Math

Four Credits:

Algebra I

Geometry 

Algebra II*

1 credit from: 

Algebra III; Advanced Math- Functions and Statistics      

Four Credits:

1 credit from*: Algebra I, Algebra I, Part One and Two or an applied or hybrid Algebra course

3 credits from: Geometry*, Math Essentials, Financial Literacy, Business Math, Algebra II, Algebra III*, Advanced Math – Functions and Statistics, Advanced Math – Pre-Calculus, Pre-Calculus, or comparable approved Louisiana Technical College courses

Science

Four Credits:

Biology I*

Chemistry I*

2 credits from: one of Chemistry II, Physics I, Electricity and Magnetism, Biology II; or one  of Biology II, Anatomy and Physiology           

Two Credits:

Biology I*

1 credit from*
Chemistry I, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Agriscience I and II (one credit combined), Physics, or AP or IB science courses

Social Studies

4 Credits:

U. S. History*

1 credit from*: Civics, Government, AP U.S. Government and Politics: Comparative

2 credits from: Western Civilization, or European History; and World Geography, World History, Government, Economics, or Psychology

2 Credits:

U.S. History*

1 credit from*: Civics, Government, AP U.S. Government and Politics: Comparative

Health/ Physical Education

2 credits:

Physical Education

1 half credit from: Physical Education II, Marching Band, Extracurricular Sports, Cheering or Dance Teams

1 half credit from: Health Education or JROTC I and II

Diploma Specific Requirements

6 credits:

2 credits in the same foreign language

2 art credits 

2 elective credits

9 Jump Start Course Units: Each student must complete a regionally-designed, district-implemented series of Career and Technical Education Jump Start coursework and workplace-based learning experiences leading to a statewide or regional Jump Start credential.

Total Credits 24 23
*These courses may be substituted for other AP, IB, or other approved Louisiana Technical college courses
Health and Physical Education courses may be substituted by JROTC for the TOPS University (college diploma).

Students must demonstate performance-based competency in technology. 

Students may earn a Community Service Endorsement for completing a minimum of 80 hours of community service hours by graduation.

Assessment Requirements

Students take the LEAP 2025 end-of-course tests in seven courses: English I, English II, English III, Algebra I, Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History. To earn a high school diploma, students must score fair or above on at least three EOC exams, including one in English, one in math, and one in Biology or U.S. History. Student scores on EOC tests count toward a student’s final course grade. Students in grade 11 must also take the ACT. Students on track for a Jump Start Diploma also take the ACT WorkKeys.

All graduating high school students must complete the FAFSA.

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Maryland
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering Ninth Grade in 2016 and Beyond

To earn a standard high school diploma, students must complete at least 21 credit units as well as a 75-hour service-learning experience or a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state superintendent. Students complete the same core curriculum requirements but have the choice to pursue an academic, advanced technology, or career-technology concentration through elective courses.

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Substitutions

English 

4

English I

English II

English III

English IV

AP, IB, and dual enrollment
four credits of organized instruction in comprehension of literary and informational text, writing, speaking and listening, language, and literacy. 

Math

3

Algebra I

Geometry

One additional math course

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Science

3

Three science courses which include a laboratory component

Credits must include the application of science and engineering practices and the croscutting concepts including: earth/space, life, environmental or physical (chemistry and physics) science, engineering, technology, and applications of science.

Social Studies

3

U.S. History

World History

Local, State and National Government  

AP, IB, and dual enrollment

Fine Arts

1

Visual Arts, Music, Theater, or Dance

Not specified

Physical Education

1/2

 

Not specified

Health

1/2

 

Not specified

Technology Education

1

Includes the application of knowledge, tools, and skills to solve practical problems and extend human capabilities

Other Credits

4

2 Credits: World Language 

2 Credits: Advanced Technology Education

OR 4 Credits: of State-approved Career and Technology program

Service Learning

1

A student must either complete 75 hours of student service or complete a locally designed program in student service that has been approved by the state Superintendent

Total Credits 21

Students must complete an Environmental Literacy program.

Students must also complete a locally designed Environmental Literacy Program approved by the state superintendent per COMAR 13A.04.17.

Assessment Requirements

Maryland requires students to take and pass end-of-course tests called the Maryland High School Assessments in four subjects: PARCC English I0, PARCC Algebra I, Maryland Integrated Science, and MHSA Government. Students entering the ninth grade in the 2019-20 school year must earn passing scores of 725 on both the English 10 and Algebra I assessments. In the 2018-19 school year, students were required to participate in the no-fault operational test for the HS MISA, or Maryland Integrated Science Assessment, if they had met their determination of readiness for the HS MISA or if they had not met their science assessment required by participation in the 2017-18 administration of HS MISA. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, students are required to pass the HS MISA. Students who earned a score of 400 on the 2015-16 administration of the Biology HSA or participated in the Biology HSA in the 2016-17 school year have met their biology graduation requirement.

Students may also meet the assessment graduation requirement through a “combined score option.” Students unable to meet the graduation assessment requirements through either of the previous options may do so through the Bridge Plan for academic evaluation. For further information, please see the Maryland High School Graduation Requirement FAQs.

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Mississippi
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2018 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a high school diploma.

Subject

Credits

Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

Two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Math

4

3 Credits:

Algebra I and two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Science

3

3 Credits:

Biology and two other credits

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Social Studies

3 1/2

World History

U.S. History

1/2 U.S. Government

1/2 Economics

1/2 Mississippi Studies

Approved AP, IB, and dual enrollment course options

Health

1/2

 

 

Physical Education

1/2

   

Art

1

   

College and Career Readiness

1

Must occur in the student’s junior or senior year, or in the studentscompletion of a 4-year sequence.

Technology or Computer Science

1

 

Electives

5 1/2

 
Total Credits 24  

Diploma Endorsements

Students pursuing a Traditional High School Diploma should identify an endorsement before entering the ninth grade from these three options: Career and Technical, Academic, or Distinguished Academic. Endorsement requirements can only be changed with parental permission. The additional requirements for each endorsement are as follows:

Career and Technical Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 26 credits and earn an overall GPA of 2.5.
  • Earn Silver level on ACT WorkKeys.
  • Complete a four-credit sequential CTE program of study.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One CTE dual credit or earn articulated credit in the high school CTE course;
    • Work-Based Learning experience or Career Pathway Experience; or
    • Earn a State Board of Education-approved national credential.

Academic Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 26 credits and earn an overall GPA of 2.5.
  • Courses must meet the Mississippi IHL college preparatory curriculum.
  • Earn ACT sub scores of 17 English and 19 Math or the SAT equivalency sub score.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One AP course with a C or higher and take the corresponding AP exam;
    • One IB course with a C or higher and take the appropriate IB exam; or
    • One dual credit course with a C or higher.

Distinguished Academic Endorsement

  • Complete a total of 28 credits and earn an overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Courses must meet the Mississippi IHL college preparatory curriculum.
  • Earn ACT sub scores of 18 English and 22 Math or the SAT equivalency sub score.
  • Successfully complete one of the following:
    • One AP course with a B or higher and take the corresponding AP exam;
    • One IB course with a B or higher and take the appropriate IB exam; or
    • One dual credit course with a B or higher.

Assessment Requirements

Mississippi administers the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program and Subject Area Testing Program, Second Edition and the ACT to high school students in their junior year. MAAP comprises Algebra I and English II exams while SATP2 comprises Biology I and U.S. History assessments. Subject area tests scores will constitute 25 % of a student’s final grade. Students may meet the assessment requirements for graduating with a standard diploma in one of three ways:

  • Passing all four subject area tests
  • Using a concordance table by combining grades and scale score values
  • Using a combination score of 646 with results from all four subject area tests

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, seniors who have failed an end-of-course SATP test may use the test score with their overall course grade to apply for graduation. Students will qualify for this option if their course grade and test score, when evaluated together, demonstrate adequate mastery of course content. State Board Policy 3804 allows students to satisfy assessment requirements through alternative means, such as qualifying ACT sub-scores, earned college credit, or an earned industry certification.

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North Carolina
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2012 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 22 units to earn a standard high school diploma, in addition to any local requirements. Students may choose to pursue a core or occupational preparatory diploma.

Subject

Future-Ready Core

Future-Ready Occupational

English

4 credits:

English I, II, III, IV or a designated combination of 4 courses

4 credits:

English I*, II*, III*, IV

Math

4 Credits:

Math I, II, III and a fourth math course aligned with a student’s post high school plans

3 credits:

Introduction to math, Math I, and Financial Management

Science

3 credits:

A physical science course, Biology, and Earth/Environmental Science

2 credits:

Applied Science and Biology*

Social Studies

4 credits:

American History: The Founding Principles, Civics and Economics, World History, American History I: American History II OR AP US History**, IB History of the Americas**, additional social studies course**

2 credits:

American History I* and American History II*

Health/ Physical Education

1 credit: Health/ Physical Education

1 credit: Health/ Physical Education

Electives

6 credits required:

2 credits from: Career and Technical Education, Arts Education, or World Languages

4 credits strongly recommended (four course concentration) from one of the following:

Career and Technical Education, JROTC, Arts Education (dance, music, teater arts, visual arts), any other subject area (e.g., social studies, science, mathematics, English)

6 credits:

Occupational Preparation I, II, III, IV: completion of 150 hours of school-based training, 225 hours of community-based training, and 225 hours of paid employment

Elective credits such as arts and JROTC
Additional requirements: complete IEP Objectives and a carrer portfolio

Career Technical Education Not Required

4 credits:

Career Technical Education electives

Total Credits 22 (plus any local requirements) 22 (plus any local requirements)
*OCS Pathway courses aligned with North Carolina Standard Course of Study in English I, II, III, IV; Math I and American History I, II., and Biology.
**A student who takes AP U.S. History or IB History of the Americas instead of American History I and American History II must also take an additional social studies elective course to meet the four-credit requirement.

While they are not a requirement for graduation from high school in North Carolina, two credits of a World Language are required for admission to the University of North Carolina system.

Assessment Requirements

North Carolina requires students enrolled in NC Math I, Biology I, English II, and NC Math III to take end-of-course exams in these subject areas. Students who receive a proficient score on an EOC before completing the course may use the score as at least 20 % of their final course grades but passing them is not a graduation requirement. If students do not receive a proficient EOC grade, they must take the NC READY EOC upon course completion. With the exception of students following the Occupational Course of Study, all students must use EOC scores as 20 % of their final course grades.

The ACT Plan is administered to 10th graders as a diagnostic assessment that predicts future performance. Students in grade 11 are required to take the ACT, and those concentrating in Career and Technical Education also take the ACT WorkKeys.

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Oklahoma
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2018 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 23 units to earn a standard 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. Regardless of the path chosen, all students must complete a personal financial literacy requirement as well as a CPR/AED requirement.

Subject

Core Curriculum

College Prep/Work Ready

English

4 credits: 

Grammar and Composition

3 credits from: American Literature, English Literature, World Literature, Advanced English courses 

4 credits: 

English I

English II

English III

English IV or other concurrent courses

Math

3 credits:

Algebra I

2 credits from: Two credits from courses including, but not limited to Algebra II, geometry, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus or Computer Science*

3 credits from:

Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Math Analysis, Calculus, Stats & Probability, AP Statistics, or another approved math course 

Laboratory Science

3 credits:

Biology I

2 credits from: life, physical, or earth science or technology

3 credits:

Biology I

1 credit: Chemistry, Physics, or Physical Science

Physics or another approved lab science course

Social Studies

3 credits:

1 credit: U.S. History

1/2 credit U.S. Government

1/2 credit Oklahoma History

1 credit from: history, government, economics, civics, or non-western culture

3 credits:

1 credit: U.S. History

1/2 credit U.S. Government

1/2 credit Oklahoma History

1 credit from: history, government, economics, civics, or non-western culture

The Arts

1 credit: may include Visual Arts and General Music

1 credit: may include music, art, drama, and speech

Diploma Specific Requirements

1 credit: course options include computer programming or 1 unit of a non English language

2 sequential World or Non-English Language OR Computer Technology courses (excludes keyboarding or typing courses)

1 additional unit from career and technology education, concurrently enrolled, AP, IB or other approved courses.

Electives

8 elective credits

6 elective credits

Total Credits

23

23

*A one-year, full-time, three-hour career and technology program that leads to an industry credential or college credit may substitute for one math credit requirement

Senate Bill 1422 (2014) allows certain future high school senior students to substitute AP computer science for any math requirement.

Assessment Requirements

The Oklahoma School Testing Program administers seven end-of-instruction exams in English language arts, math, and science course subjects as well as U.S. History, in compliance with ESSA and aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Students in grade 11 will be given the Oklahoma College and Career Readiness Assessment which is composed of Science content and U.S. History content, both aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Grade 11 students also take either the ACT or SAT.

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South Carolina
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2018 and Beyond

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a standard high school diploma. Students must take a CPR course, including instruction on the use of AED machines.

Subject

Credits

Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

Three additional English courses 

AP, IB, or dual enrollment English courses or Advanced Composition

Math

4

First math or Algebra I

Three additional math courses       

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

Science

3

Biology

Two additional  science courses 

AP, IB, or dual enrollment sciences courses

Social Studies

3

U.S. History and Constitution

1/2 credit Economics

1/2 credit U.S. Government

One additional social studies course

AP, IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

Computer Science

1

Keyboarding may substitute for half of the computer science credit.

Physical Education

1

  

Junior ROTC 
Course must include personal fitness, wellness, and lifetime fitness components. 

Foreign Language or Career Technology

1

An American Sign Language course may substitute for the foreign language credit.

Electives

7

 

Total Credits

24

 
*AP means Advanced Placement courses; IB means International Baccalaureate courses; CTE means Career and Technical course.

Diploma Endorsements

High school students can earn diploma endorsements, although doing so is not required. Students may earn one or more endorsements in pathways approved by the State Board of Education, and school districts may apply to have additional endorsements approved. To do so, students must meet all the requirements for earning a South Carolina high school diploma and must take English I, II, III, and IV or their approved equivalents or higher-level courses to be eligible. Students must also pass an assessment on the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist papers, and American institutions and ideals. Students must pass a high school credit course in science in which an end-of-course exam is given, and they must be enrolled for a minimum of one semester immediately preceding graduation.

Assessment Requirements

South Carolina administers End-of-Course Examination Program assessments in four gateway subjects: English I-Reading, Algebra I/ Math for the Technologies, Biology I/Applied Biology 2, and U.S. History and Constitution as well as English 2-Reading. End-of-course assessments count as 20 % of final course grades in the four gateway subjects. Students must pass Biology I and U.S. History and Constitution courses to graduate high school. Students must also take the civics test to fulfill the United States government requirement. Students in grade 11 will take both the ACT and ACT WorkKeys.

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Tennessee
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2009 and Beyond

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

Subject

Credits

Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

English III

English IV 

AP, IB, or dual enrollment English courses or Advanced Composition

Math

4

Algebra I

Algebra II

Geometry  

One additional math course

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

Science

3

Biology

Chemistry or Physics

One additional lab science

AP, IB, or dual enrollment science courses

Social Studies

3

U.S. History and Geography   

1/2 credit Economics

1/2 credit U.S.  Government 

World History and Geography

IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

Personal Finance

1/2

Three years of JROTC may be substituted if the JROTC instructor attends the Personal Finance training.

Physical Education

1/2

may substitute JROTC, marching band, cheerleeding, etc. 

Fine Arts

1

 

Foreign Language

2

must be two years of the same foreign language

Electives

3

may consist of math and science, career and technical education, fine arts, humanities, AP or IB courses

Total Credits 22  

A public high school student may complete an early high school graduation program and be eligible for unconditional entry into a public two-year institution of higher education or conditional entry into a public four-year institution of higher education if the student meets the requirements of T.C.A. § 49-6-8303, also known as the Move on When Ready Act.

Graduation with State 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
  • Participate in at least one of the Governor’s Schools or ALL State musical organization
  • Be selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semifinalist
  • Score a 31 or higher on the ACT Composite Score
  • Earn a three or higher on two Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • Successfully complete the International Baccalaureate Program
  • Complete at least 12 semester hours of postsecondary credit

Assessment Requirements

Tennessee administers at least ten regular end-of-course exams as part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program: English I/II, Algebra I/II, Integrated Math I, II, and III, Geometry, Biology I, U.S. History. Exam results count for 25 % a student’s final course grade. Passing the EOC exams is not required to graduate from high school. To obtain a regular diploma, all students in grade 11 must take either the ACT or SAT. Students are required to take a project-based U.S. Civics test in high school. Students must also pass a United States citizenship and immigration test with a score of 70 % or higher.

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Texas
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2014 and Beyond

Students must complete 22 credit hours to earn a Foundation High School Diploma. Under House Bill 5, students are required to choose an endorsement and complete four credits in one of five areas: STEM, business & industry, public services, arts & humanities, and multidisciplinary studies. 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.

Subject

Credits

Courses

Notes and Substitutions

English

4

English I

English II

English III

An advanced English course

AP, IB, or dual enrollment English courses or Advanced Composition 

Math

3

Algebra I

Geometry

An advanced math course

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

Science

3

Biology

IPC or an advanced science course

Another advanced science course

AP, IB, or dual enrollment math courses

Social Studies

3

U.S. History

1/2 credit U.S. Governement

1/2 credit Economics

World History or World Geography

IB or dual enrollment social studies courses

Foreign Language

2

2 credits in the same language

computer science and other courses

Physical Education

1

 

Fine Arts

1

 

Speech

 

Demonstrated proficiency in speech skills

Electives

5

 

Total Credits 22  

Distinguished Level of Achievement

Graduates can earn the distinguished level of achievement designation by completing 26 credits including 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 in the top 10% of their graduating class automatic admissions eligibility and priority for the need-based Texas grant, if financially qualified. 

Performance Acknowledgments

House Bill 5 requires the development of performance acknowledgments — awards that students may earn by completing certain programs of study or for receiving credit toward future college and career opportunities. Specific acknowledgments include, but are not limited to:

Degrees and Certificates
  • An earned associate degree
  • Business and industry recognized certification or license
Accelerated Learning Options
  • Dual credit (12 hours of credit with a GPA of 3.0 or higher)
  • Passing score on at least one AP or IB exam
  • Bilingualism (minimum GPA of the equivalent of 80 on a scale of a 100 in English language arts and minimum proficiency on Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, AP, or IB exams)
Performance on Standardized Tests
  • SAT scores of at least 410 on the reading section and 520 on the math section
  • ACT composite score of 28 or higher
  • Recognition as a commended scholar or higher by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Assessment Requirements

In 2006, Texas became the first state to mandate the use of college- and career-readiness standards through the Texas Essential Knowledge and Standards. 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 students 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 on 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 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness program requires passing scores on five end-of-course exams to graduate: English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology I, and U.S. history. STAAR English III and Algebra II are now available for districts to administer as optional assessments. House Bill 3 requires scores on the EOCs to count as 15% of a student’s final course grade. A student who has failed the EOC assessment graduation requirements for no more than two courses may receive a Texas high school diploma if the student has qualified to graduate by means of an individual graduation committee determination.

Beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, all graduating high school students will be required to complete the FAFSA

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Virginia
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2018 and Beyond

Students must earn at least 22 standard units to earn a Standard Diploma. To receive an Advanced Diploma, students must earn four additional standard units. All students must complete at least one virtual course, which may be non-credit-bearing, as well as 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. Students must also be trained in Emergency First Aid, CPR and use of an AED. Finally, all students must demonstrate foundational skills in “the five Cs” in accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board: critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship.

Subject

Standard Diploma*

Advanced Diploma

English

4 credits

4 credits

Math

3 credits:

At least two courses from: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra Functions, Data Analysis, Algebra II or other approved courses (a computer science course may be substituted)

4 credits:

At least three courses from: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra Functions, Data Analysis, Algebra II or other approved courses (a computer science course may be substituted)

Laboratory Science

3 credits:

Course selections from at least two different science disciplines: Earth sciences, biology, chemistry, physics, or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma

4 credits:

Course selections from at least two different science disciplines: Earth sciences, biology, chemistry, physics, or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the IB Diploma

History and Social Sciences

3 credits:

U.S. and Virginia History

U.S. and Virginia Government

Either World History or Geography or both

4 credits:

U.S. and Virginia History

U.S. and Virginia Government

World History 

Geography

Foreign Language

Not Required

3 credits: three years of a single foreign language or two years of two languages

Health and Physical Education

2 credits

2 credits

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education**

2 credits: one credit in fine or performing arts or CTE (for the Standard diploma, this category includes World Language)

1 credit

Economics and Personal Finance

1 credit

1 credit

Electives

4 credits: must include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality

3 credits: must include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality

Total Credits

22

26

*Students may substitute a CTE credit for a credit in history, science or social studies if the student completes a CTE program sequence and passes an examination or occupational competency assessment in a CTE field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association or acquires a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The examination or occupational competency assessment must be approved by the Board of Education as an additional test to verify student achievement.
**A computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical course credit.

Virginia requires all students graduating with either the standard or advanced diplomas to earn five verified credits: two in English, one in math, one in science, and one in history and social sciences. Verified credits are “awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test or a substitute assessment approved by the Board or Education.”

Assessment Requirements

The Virginia State Board of Education requires districts to administer end-of-course exams through the state’s Standards of Learning assessment program. Students who pass corresponding SOL assessments receive “verified credit” for those courses. Virginia has developed a battery of 12 exams in 11 subject areas: Algebra I and II, Biology I, 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 Diploma must earn at least nine verified units of credit by passing corresponding SOL exams. In addition to the verified credits for the four core subjects, students may also select an SOL assessment or alternate tests in computer science, career and technical education, or other areas approved by the state board of education. See table below.

Verified Credits Required for Graduation with a Standard or Advanced Diploma

Subject

Standard Diploma

Required Credits

Standard Diploma

Verified Credits

Advanced Diploma

Required Credits

Advanced Diploma

Verified Credits

English

4

2

4

2

Math

3

1

4

2

Laboratory Science

3

1

4

2

History and Social Sciences

3

1

4

2

Health and Physical Education

1

 

2

 

Foreign Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education

 1

 

3

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

1

 

Electives

4

 

3

 

Student Selected Test*

 

1

 

1

Total 

22

6

26

9

*NOTE: A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career or technical education, economics or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8VAC20-131-110.

The state department of education, in consultation with higher education faculty, has developed English and math Capstone Courses, for students who 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 number and percentage of students participating in Advanced Placement and dual credit programs, SOL test results, and the number of students who receive a career and technical education credential.

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West Virginia
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2016 and Beyond

Students must complete 22 credits to receive a high school diploma. All students must participate in an experiential learning experience at some time in grades 9-12. It is recommended that all students complete an online learning experience and at least one course in technology applications. All senior students are required to enroll in a full day of high school and/or college credit-bearing courses and are encouraged to complete a senior project.

Subject Credits Required Course Substitutions

English

4

English 9

English 10

English 11

English 12

AP English courses; English 12 CR, or Transitions English Language Arts for seniors*

Math

4

Math 1 or Algebra 1

Math II or Geometry

Math III STEM or Math III LA or Math III TR or Algebra II

Math IV

AP Math Courses

Trigonometry/Pre-calculus or Math IV TR or Transition Mathematics for Seniors* or any other fourth course option such as AP Math

Science

3

Earth and Space Science

Biology

One additional lab science

AP science courses or ceratin CTE courses

Social Studies

4

World Studies

United States Studies

Contemporary Studies

Civics for the Next Generation

AP social studies courses including AP U.S. History and AP United States Government and Politics, as well as United State Studies-Comprehensive

Physical Education

1

Physical Education 9-12 (WV Education Information System [hereinafter WVEIS] course 6609).  At least 50 percent of class time for physical education should be spent in moderate to vigorous  physical activity.

Health Education

1

Health 9-12 (WVEIS course 6909)

The Arts

1

AP Arts courses and certain CTE courses

Professional Pathway

4

4 credits within a career cluster that lead directly to placement in credit-bearing academic college courses, an industry-recognized certificate or license, or workforce training programs

Electives

2

 

Total Credits

24

 

Personalized Education Plan

Students are required to complete a five-year academic/career plan referred to as his or her Personalized Education Plan. Each student’s PEP identifies a career cluster and four-credit concentration that leads to placement in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses, attainment of an industry-recognized certificate or license, or enrollment in a workforce training program.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education concentration or a locally approved concentration that prepares students for their post-secondary goals.

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 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

The SAT School Day is the state’s general summative assessment. It is administered on paper to all students in 11th grade, except those who have taken the West Virginia Summative Assessment, a customized test used to measure students’ levels of achievement of the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives West Virginia.