Virginia

Post

High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

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 entering ninth-grade in the 2016-2017 school year and beyond must also be trained in Emergency First Aid, CPR and use of an AED.

Subject

Standard Diploma

Advanced Diploma

English

Four Credits

Four Credits

Math

Three Credits:

Algebra I

Geometry

Algebra or Functions and Data Analysis; Algebra II or another advanced math course

Four Credits: 

Algebra I

Geometry

Algebra II or another advanced math course

Laboratory Science

Three Credits:

Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Four Credits:

Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

History and Social Sciences

Three Credits:

U.S. and Virginia History

U.S. and Virginia Government

Either World History or Geography or both

Three Credits:

U.S. and Virginia History

U.S. and Virginia Government

Either World History or Geography or both

Foreign Language

Not Required

Three Credits: three years of a single foreign language or two years of two languages

Health and Physical Education

Two Credits

Two Credits

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

Two Credits

One Credit

Economics and Personal Finance

One Credit

One Credit

Electives

Four Credits: must include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality

 Three Credits

Total Credits

22

26

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. 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 (CTE), 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   1  
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.