Alabama – High School to College & Careers

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College and Career Readiness 

Alabama adopted the Alabama College- & Career-Ready Standards (CCCRS) in 2010. Beginning with the class that entered the 9th grade in 2013-2014, all students are required to complete the 24-credit required curriculum to earn an Alabama High School Diploma. Beginning in 2014, the ACT is administered to all 11th graders, and the ACT WorkKeys to all seniors beginning in the spring of 2015. Achieving college-readiness on one or more assessments (ACT, ACT WorkKeys, IB, AP, etc.) is separate from and not required for high school graduation.

College and Career Planning

Eighth-grade students develop a four-year high school plan based on the results of the ACT Explore and a career interest assessment. To graduate high school, students must complete the new career preparedness course. The course curriculum includes three sections: career and academic planning, computer applications, and financial literacy.

ALCareerTech is a portal that provides access to online resources for students and their families to help them explore and plan for careers, technical education or college. More information is available at ALcareertech.org.

Alabama offers an assessment-based credential to job seekers with at least a GED. Individuals may earn the Alabama Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), which the state awards at four levels: bronze, silver, gold or platinum. The CRC indicates to employers what degree of employable skills the applicant possesses. The CRC program is administered through the ACT WorkKeys program and is offered in partnership with the Alabama Community College System, the Alabama Career Center System and the Office of Workforce Development.

High School Graduation Requirements 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Alabama provides students with multiple paths to the state’s single high school diploma. All students must earn at least 24 credits — 21.5 of which are required. However, students can pursue either a General Education, Essentials, or Alternate Achievement Standards Pathway 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. Effective with the 2017-2018 school year, only students with disabilities will be allowed to enroll in Essentials courses. If a student takes four or more core courses on the Essentials Pathway he or she is required to complete the work component requirements of this pathway.

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 half credits of electives complete the 24 credit requirement.

Subjects Credits Required Courses Substitutions
English 4

English 9

English 10

English 11

English 12

May include AP, IB or postsecondary or other state approved courses

Mathematics 4

Algebra 1

Geometry

Algebra II with Trig., or Algebra II

Fourth Math

Or its equivalent

Or its equivalent

Or its equivalent

Or its equivalent

May include CT, AP, IB or postsecondary or other state approved courses

Science 4

Biology

A physical science

Two more rigorous science courses

 

Chemistry, Physics or Physical Science

May include CT, AP, IB or postsecondary or other state approved courses

Social Studies 4

World History

U.S. History I

U.S. History II

U.S. Government

Economics

May include CT, AP, IB or postsecondary or other state approved courses

Physical Education 1 Lifelong Individualized Fitness Education (LIFE) or one JROTC credit

Not Applicable

Health 0.5  

Not Applicable

Career Preparedness 1 Career and academic planning, computer applications, financial literacy

Not Applicable

Foreign Language or Career and Technical Education or Arts Education 3  

Not Applicable

Electives 2.5    
TOTAL 24    

Assessment Requirements

To be determined

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors may participate in dual credit opportunities. Students participating in dual enrollment must have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and meet admission test criteria set by the institutions. Students who are pursuing dual enrollment courses in occupational or technical programs generally must maintain a 3.0 GPA in program-related courses and a 2.5 GPA overall. Students must have the approval of parents and high school officials.

Early College Enrollment Program

This dual-enrollment program allows high school students to earn college credit toward the completion of degrees or certificates aligned to local, state or regional workforce needs. The two curriculum tracks are for career and technical and health programs.

Early College High Schools

The Selma Early College High School allows high school students to graduate high school with up to 60 hours of college credit.

Advanced Placement

The Alabama Community College Systems requires institutions to accept a score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement and award elective or general education credit toward an associate degree.

Career and Technical Education

The State Department of Education provides more than 215 courses in the following fields: agricultural science, business and marketing, family and consumer science, health science and career technologies.

Postsecondary Admissions 

Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide admissions and placement requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set admission requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

For admission to associate degree programs, students must show that they have completed a high school diploma or an equivalent credential. Students applying to vocational programs must demonstrate an ability to benefit from instruction.

In May 2017, the Board of Trustees adopted the Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement. The new policy series references admissions but repeals ACCS Policy 802.01, which addressed system-wide provisions for student assessment and placement.

Postsecondary Placement

Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide placement requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set placement requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

The system encourages institutions to use the ACCUPLACER to assess students for placement into college-level courses. Students can exempt placement with minimum scores on the ACT or SAT. Each institution sets their cut-off scores, but generally students are exempt with satisfactory SAT (Math – 480 or above, Verbal/Reading – 480 or above, and English/writing sections – 480 or above) or ACT (e.g., 18 or above in English/writing, and 20 or above on Reading or Math) scores.

In May 2017, the Board of Trustees adopted the Chancellor’s recommendation to re-codify policies governing admissions and placement. The new policy series references admissions but repeals ACCS Policy 802.01, which addressed system-wide provisions for student assessment and placement.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

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.

State Financial Aid

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.

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:

Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Alabama State Department of Education

Sources

Alabama Commission on Higher Education
Alabama Community College System
Alabama State Department of Education
Alabama Career and Technical Education