305R - High School Graduation Requirements

General Information

Beginning with the ninth grade class of 2018, the following certificates and diplomas may be earned by Frederick County Public Schools students: Standard Diploma, Applied Studies Diploma, Advanced Studies Diploma, Special Diploma, Certificate of High School Program Completion, Certificate of Alternative Program Completion, and General Education Development (GED) credential. Each credential has specific requirements. Students must meet requirements established by the Virginia Board of Education or the American Council on Education in order to be awarded credentials approved by those entities.

Except for fifth-year seniors, all students in grades nine through 12 shall be required to enroll in a minimum of seven credits each year. Students at The Learning Center must take a minimum of six (6) credits each year. Reduced schedules or exceptions for extenuating circumstances must be approved by the principal, in consultation with the assistant superintendent for instruction.

The standard unit of credit for graduation shall be based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction and successful completion of the requirements for the course. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded must be no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction.

High school students may repeat a course taken in grades nine through 12 only with the authorization of the school principal. Repeating a course will be permitted when additional skill development is needed to proceed in a specific course within the content area. Reenrollment in a class is reserved for those cases in which inadequate preparation is evident. Requests to repeat a course will not be honored after the end of the first semester following completion of that course. The student’s transcript will reflect that the course was repeated; however, only the higher grade will be used for computing the cumulative grade point average. Requests to repeat a course may be denied if there are insufficient student seats available.

Graduation requirements in effect when a student enters the ninth grade are the ones the student will meet in order to earn a diploma.

Standard Diplomas
  • Students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 through 2017-2018
    To graduate with a Standard Diploma, students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 through 2017-2018 must earn at least 23 standard units of credit and six verified units of credit. Students earn standard credits by successfully completing required and elective courses. Students earn verified credits by successfully completing required courses and passing associated end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the state Board of Education.

    Course Number of Required Units Number of Verified Units
    English
    4 2
    Mathematics
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two different course selections from among: Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis; Algebra II; or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.
    3 1
    Laboratory Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a laboratory science course credit.

    Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, may substitute the certification, competency credential, for (i) the student-selected verified credit and (ii) either a laboratory science or history and social science verified credit when the certification or credential confers more than one verified credit.
    3 1
    History and Social Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both.

    Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, may substitute the certification, competency credential, for (i) the student-selected verified credit and (ii) either a laboratory science or history and social science verified credit when the certification or credential confers more than one verified credit.
    4 1
    Student Selected Tests
    A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career and technical education, economics or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8 VAC 20-131-110.

    1
    Health and Physical Education
    (Must include both Health I and PE I and Health II and PE II)
    2
    Elective Sequence
    Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.
    3
    World Language, Fine Arts or Career Technical Education
    Per the Standards of Quality, credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine or performing arts or career and technical education. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical education course credit.
    2
    Economics and Personal Finance
    1
    TOTAL UNITS 22 6

  • Students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2018-2019 and thereafter
    To graduate with a Standard Diploma, students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 through 2017-2018 must earn at least 23 standard units of credit and six verified units of credit. Students earn standard credits by successfully completing required and elective courses. Students earn verified credits by successfully completing required courses and passing associated end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the state Board of Education.
     
    Course Number of Required Units Number of Verified Units
    English
    4 2
    Mathematics
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two different course selections from among: Algebra I; Geometry; Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis; Algebra II; or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.
    3 1
    Laboratory Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a laboratory science course credit.

    Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, may substitute the certification, competency credential, for (i) the student-selected verified credit and (ii) either a laboratory science or history and social science verified credit when the certification or credential confers more than one verified credit.
    3 1
    History and Social Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both.

    Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, may substitute the certification, competency credential, for (i) the student-selected verified credit and (ii) either a laboratory science or history and social science verified credit when the certification or credential confers more than one verified credit.
    4 1
    Health and Physical Education
    (Must include both Health I and PE I and Health II and PE II)
    2
    World Language, Fine Arts, or CTE
    Per the Standards of Quality, credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine or performing arts or career and technical education. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical education course credit.
    2
    Economics and Personal Finance
    1
    Electives
    Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.
    3
    TOTAL UNITS 22 5
  • Career and Technical Education Requirement
    Students entering grade nine for the first time in the fall of 2013 or later shall earn a career and technical education credential that may include, but not be limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment.

    Virtual Course Completion
    Students in grade nine for the first time in fall 2013 or later shall successfully complete one approved virtual course before earning a standard diploma. The virtual course may be a non-credit-bearing course.

    Verified Units of Credit
    High School students in grade nine must earn verified units of credit by passing Standards of Learning (SOL) tests or Board of Education-approved substitute tests. Students must pass six Standards of Learning tests (2 in English, 1 in math, 1 in laboratory science, 1 in history and social sciences and 1 of their own choosing) to earn a Standard Diploma.

    Virginia Board of Education approved nationally standardized tests may be used as substitute tests for the SOL tests in order to earn verified credit. If a student elects to not take an SOL test in order to take an approved substitute test at a later date and fails to receive and submit a passing score on the approved substitute test by his/her graduation date, his/her graduation may be delayed pending submission of a passing score on the substitute test. A list of Board of Education-approved substitute tests and additional information is available from school counselors.

    Students may also earn locally awarded verified credits in accordance with Board of Education regulations and guidance.

    Student Eligibility Applicable for a Standard Diploma with IEP Credit Accommodation
    The number of credit accommodations for students with an IEP is at the discretion of the IEP team.

    Local Review Panel
    To determine student mastery of the SOL content in a course when students meet the eligibility requirements listed above, Frederick County Public Schools will convene review panels as needed. Each review panel will be chaired by the division director of reporting and program evaluation or designee. Each review panel will also include the division-level content supervisor, the school department chair or designee, a school counselor or case manager familiar with the student, and the school principal or designee

    Local Review Process
    When a student has passed the course, but twice failed the end of course SOL test, the counselor will submit an application to the office of the director of reporting and program evaluation and coordinate with review panel members to assemble evidence of mastery.

    Step One: The student’s application form with evidence of mastery is forwarded to the panel for review. After this review, the panel has three options including awarding verified credit, denying verified credit, or requesting additional evidence of mastery.

    Step Two: After review of the additional evidence, the panel will have the option of either awarding verified credit or denying verified credit. A majority of the panel members must certify their agreement to award the verified credit.

    This process may not be used to award verified credits for the Advanced Studies Diploma.
Advanced Studies Diplomas 
  • Students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 through 2017-2018
    To graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma for students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 through 2017-2018, a student must earn at least 26 standard units of credit and nine verified units of credit. Students earn standard credits by successfully completing required and elective courses. Students earn verified credits by successfully completing required courses and passing associated end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the state Board of Education.
     
    Course Number of Required Units Number of Verified Units
    English
    4 2
    Mathematics
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.
    4 2
    Laboratory Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a laboratory science course credit.
    4 2
    History and Social Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both.
    4 2
    World Language
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages.
     3
    Health and Physical Education
    2
    Fine/Performing Arts or Career and Technical Education
    Fine/Performing Arts: Art, Music, Drama, Creative Writing, Speech Communications, Debate/Public Speaking, Journalism

    Career and Technical Education: Agriculture, Business, Family and Consumer Sciences, Marketing, Technology, Trade and Industrial Training, Health Occupations, Education for Employment, Publications. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical education course credit.
    1
    Economics and Personal Finance
    Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.
    1
    Student Selected Test
    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 8 VAC 20-131-110. 
       1
    Electives 3  
    TOTAL UNITS 26 9


  • Students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2018-2019 and thereafter
    To graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma for students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2018-2019 and thereafter, a student must earn at least 26 standard units of credit and five verified units of credit. Students earn standard credits by successfully completing required and elective courses. Students earn verified credits by successfully completing required courses and passing associated end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the state Board of Education.
     

    Course Number of Required Units Number of Verified Units
    English
    4 2
    Mathematics
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.
    4 1
    Laboratory Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a laboratory science course credit.
    4 1
    History and Social Sciences
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both.
    4 2
    Health and Physical Education
    2
    World Language
    Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages.
    3
    Fine/Performing or Career and Technical Education

    Fine/Performing Arts: Art, Music, Drama, Creative Writing, Speech Communications, Debate/Public Speaking, Journalism

    Career and Technical Education: Agriculture, Business, Family and Consumer Sciences, Marketing, Technology, Trade and Industrial Training, Health Occupations, Education for Employment, Publications

    Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical education course credit.
    1
    Economics and Personal Finance
    1
    Electives
    Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.
    3
    TOTAL UNITS 26 5
  • Additional Requirements for Graduation
    • Advanced Placement or Honors Course or Career and Technical Education Credential - In accordance with the Standards of Quality, students shall either (i) complete an Advanced Placement, or honors course or (ii) earn a career and technical education credential approved by the Board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to satisfy the advanced studies diploma requirements. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.

    • Virtual Course - Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a non-credit-bearing course or a required or elective credit-bearing course that is offered online.

    • Training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) - Students shall be trained in emergency first aid, CPR, and the use of AED, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Students with an IEP or 504 Plan that documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement, as provided in 8 VAC 20-131-420 B.

    • Demonstration of the five Cs - Students shall acquire and demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship in accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board.
Applied Studies Diploma
The Applied Studies Diploma is a diploma option available to students identified as having a disability who complete the requirements of their individualized education programs (IEPs) and meet certain requirements prescribed by the Board of Education pursuant to regulations, but do not meet the requirements for any named diploma.

Curriculum Map
The Applied Studies Curriculum Map consists of a Guide and six domains that outline skills and competencies that IEP teams can use to identify the need for additional instruction to assist students in meeting their postsecondary goals. The domains include: English, mathematics, science, history and social science, employment, and independent living. The skills outlined are not standards required to earn an Applied Studies Diploma but are intended to provide guidance to teams in aligning the student’s postsecondary goals with annual IEP goals. The Applied Studies Curriculum Map provides a guide that teachers, students, families, and other team members can use to identify skills that will have a direct impact on the student achieving their postsecondary goals.

Purpose
  1. To provide statewide guidance to IEP teams to develop goals and objectives that will:
    • provide the student with instruction that directly address deficits leading to their post-secondary goals;
    • supplement instruction on state standards (Virginia Standards of Learning or Aligned Standards of Learning); and
    • provide a mechanism for linking skills back to state standards.
  2. To improve communication of skills and provide a common planning resource
    • increase student participation, self-determination and motivation;
    • inform parents/ guardians/ advocates of critical skills; and
    • assist with long-term planning beginning as the student enters transition age.
  3. To promote the incorporation of evidence based practices and predictors into student programs
    • support opportunities for instruction in real-life scenarios;
    • provide resources related to evidence based practices and data-based decision making; and
    • increase use of authentic assessment.
Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities
  1. Students with disabilities who are eligible for special education services and who receive instruction from the regular education teacher shall receive credit in the same manner as students in regular education. Modifications to grading and testing procedures may be based upon the student's individualized education program.

  2. Students with disabilities who receive appropriate instruction designed to accommodate their disability, should be considered eligible for receiving credit for courses taught by special education teachers.

  3. Special education units of credit shall meet the minimum time allotment of 140 clock hours and shall have a defined course of study with objectives for mastery of pre-determined skills, and knowledge associated with the course.

  4. For each student, the individual educational plan shall define the course of study, the procedures, and the means of evaluation.

  5. The basis for awarding units of credit to a student shall be passing grades and the satisfactory completion of the performance objectives as provided for in his/her individual educational plan.

  6. Students with disabilities shall be awarded a diploma upon earning the credits prescribed by the Virginia Department of Education and passing tests prescribed by Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia.

  7. Students with disabilities who are eligible for special education services who graduate with a credential other than a standard or advanced studies diploma and who subsequently complete requirements for a standard or advanced studies diploma shall be awarded the newly earned credential. Special education students attempting to complete standard or advanced diploma requirements may participate in subsequent SOL test administrations for the purpose of completing diploma requirements.
Graduation (Diploma) Seals of Achievement
Students meeting specific requirements for graduation and demonstrating exemplary performance may receive diploma seals for recognition. VDOE makes available to local school divisions the following seals:

Governor’s Seal: The Governor's Seal is awarded to students who complete the requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of "B" or better, and successfully complete college-level coursework that will earn the student at least nine transferable college credits in Advanced Placement (AP) or dual enrollment courses.

Board of Education Seal: The Board of Education Seal is awarded to students who complete the requirements for a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of “A” beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2006-2007 and beyond.

Board of Education’s Career and Technical Education Seal: The Board of Education’s Career & Technical Education Seal is awarded to students who earn a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma and complete a prescribed sequence of courses in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that they choose and maintain a “B” or better average in those courses or pass an examination or an occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that confers certification or occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, trade or professional association or acquires a professional license in that career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Board of Education shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements. See The Path to Industry Certification for the current approved licenses and examinations.

Board of Education’s Advanced Mathematics & Technology Seal: The Board of Education's Advanced Mathematics & Technology Seal is awarded to students who earn either a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma and satisfy all of the mathematics requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma (four units of credit including Algebra II; two verified units of credit) with a "B" average or better; and either pass an examination in a career and technical education field that confers certification from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association or acquire a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia or pass an examination approved by the board that confers college-level credit in a technology or computer science area. The Board of Education shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements. See The Path to Industry Certification for the current approved licenses and examinations.

Board of Education's Excellence in Civics Education Seal: The Board of Education's Excellence in Civics Education Seal is awarded to students who meet each of the following criteria. (1) Satisfy the requirement to earn an Applied Studies Diploma, a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma, (2) Complete Virginia & United States History and Virginia and United States Government courses with a grade of "B" or higher, (3) Complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities, such as volunteering for a charitable or religious organization that provides services to the poor, sick or less fortunate; participating in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or similar youth organizations; participating in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC); participating in political campaigns, government internships, Boys State, Girls State or Model General Assembly; and participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities that have a civics focus. Any student who enlists in the United States military prior to graduation will be deemed to have met this community service requirement, and (4) Have good attendance and no disciplinary infractions as determined by local school board policies.

Board of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy: The Board of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy is awarded to students who earn a Board of Education-approved diploma and (1) Pass all required End-of-Course Assessments in English reading and writing at the proficient or higher level and (2) Demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate-mid level or higher in one or more languages other than English as demonstrated through an assessment from a list approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. American Sign Language qualifies as a language other than English.

Board of Education’s Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment: The Board of Education’s Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment is awarded to students who enter the ninth grade for the first time in the 2018-2019 year and thereafter, and (1) earn either a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma, (2) complete at least three different first-level board-approved laboratory science courses and at least one rigorous advanced-level or postsecondary-level laboratory science course, each with a grade of “B” or higher, (3) Complete laboratory or field-science research and present that research in a formal, juried setting, and (4) Complete at least 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities that involve the application of science such as environmental monitoring, protection, management, or restoration.

Dual Enrollment
Students who take college dual enrolled classes for credit will be awarded high school credit based upon completion of 140 clock hours of instruction. Students wishing to use college credit to meet high school credit must be enrolled in a sequence of college courses meeting the 140 clock hour requirement. Generally, the ratio of awarding high school credit for college level work is one high school credit for every six semester hours of college work or for a full year of college credit in the same course sequence.

Post Secondary Degree Attainment
  1. Students may seek an Associate's Degree from a community college by completing a requisite number of properly articulated dual-enrolled and college level courses consistent with the degree requirements of the community college.
  2. Students may seek a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies from a community college by completing a requisite number of dual enrolled, and/or Advanced Placement© courses accompanied by a qualifying exam of three or higher.
Transfer Students
In compliance with 8 VAC 20-131-60, graduation requirements for a student transferring into a Virginia public school for the first time in grades 9-12, depends on the grade the student is transferring into and when in the school year the student is transferring. A student is considered to have transferred at the beginning of the school year if 20 or fewer hours of instruction have been completed. A student is considered to have transferred during the school year if more than 20 hours of instruction has been completed.

Federal law requires each student to be tested in mathematics at least once during high school, therefore some students will be required to complete a mathematics end-of-course test in high school if one was not completed prior to enrolling in a Virginia public high school.

Students entering a Virginia high school during the tenth grade or later may benefit by having to earn a reduced number of verified credits, as stated in 8VAC20-131-60.G, and summarized in Requirements for First-time Transfers to a Virginia Public School by Grade Level and School Year Overview.

High School Credit Taken at Middle School
Grades and credits earned in middle school for high school credit-bearing courses will count toward graduation credits and will be calculated in the high school GPA unless a “Request to Omit Grade and Credit for High School Courses” is filed as provided for in the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-90).

Requests to omit grades and credit for a high school credit-bearing course taken in middle school must be submitted to the high school principal prior to the first student day of the student’s ninth grade year. When parents do not opt to omit a grade and credit and the student proceeds to the next course in sequence, parents may appeal to the high school principal during the first month of school that the student be returned to the prerequisite class if it becomes apparent that further preparation is needed for success in the more advanced course.

High School Course Credit through Demonstration of Mastery
Students seeking to earn course credit to meet graduation requirements without completing the 140-hour class requirement must present verification of completion of course content for which credit is being sought. Verification of course mastery will be by transcript and passing score on FCPS End of Course (EOC) Competency Test, passing score on appropriate benchmark test, or approved examinations. Approved examinations are Virginia Standards of Learning End-of-Course tests, tests approved by the State Board of Education as substitute tests for the Standards of Learning tests, or a passing score of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement© tests. Passing grades will be reflected as a “P” on the student transcript and will not be calculated in the grade point average.

Credits awarded under this procedure will be recorded on the student’s academic transcript using the approved state code number for the course. Relevant SOL EOC, when applicable, will be required and scores will be recorded in accordance with regulations governing student transcripts. Documentation of other approved tests will be recorded in the student’s official academic record (cumulative folder) along with the signed documentation from the division superintendent or designee granting the course credit. Students will earn applicable verified credits should they pass Standards of Learning assessments or other Virginia Board of Education-approved examinations.

Commencement
All seniors receiving either a diploma or a certificate of program completion will be called alphabetically to receive their award. All will be listed on the graduation program as members of the graduating class. Students not meeting prescribed graduation requirements for a Frederick County Public Schools diploma or certificate will not participate in spring commencement exercises. Students assigned to alternative education programs for disciplinary reasons may not participate in commencement exercises, unless such prohibition is waived by the principal (See also Regulation 328R, Instruction- Alternative Education Programs).

Valedictorian and Salutatorian Status
The following requirements for determining valedictorian and salutatorian status will be in effect:
  1. A student must have completed requirements for an advanced studies diploma.

  2. A student must have successfully completed at least two Advanced Placement courses with a minimum grade of "B" in each.

  3. Honors and Advanced Placement courses will be graded on the grading scale specified in School Board Policy 316P, Instruction- Evaluation and Grade Assignment. All Grade Point Averages (GPA) will be calculated on the universally recognized 4 point scale (A=4.0; B=3.0; C=2.0; D=1.0; F=0) to determine class rank. The cumulative GPA will be increased by (0.05) quality points for each Advanced Placement or approved College Dual-Enrolled course successfully completed by the student. Approved College Dual-Enrolled courses may only include English/literature, mathematics, sciences, and history/social science. Dual-Enrolled career and technical and/or applied sciences courses are not eligible for additional quality points. Other accelerated coursework, including but not limited to International Baccalaureate, Cambridge or certain Governor’s School courses, may also be considered for additional quality points, as approved by the School Board. Students may be eligible for consideration for valedictory or salutatory status by GPA/class rank after having completed requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma and at least two Advanced Placement or approved College Dual-Enrolled courses.

  4. When two or more students share valedictorian status, no salutatorian will be named.
Adult High School Diploma Program
The Adult High School Diploma program enables an adult who is no longer enrolled in public education to complete the required coursework to earn an Adult High School Diploma, a credential approved by the Virginia Board of Education. To obtain this credential, the adult student must complete all of the course requirements that were in place at the time they entered the ninth grade, with the exception of health and physical education. Certain requirements for specific assessments may be waived if the assessments are no longer administered to students in Virginia public schools.

High School Equivalency Testing (formerly General Education Development-GED)
The High School Equivalency Examination (HSE) is the only Virginia Board-approved high school equivalency examination in Virginia. The HSE enables individuals who have not graduated from high school to demonstrate the attainment of abilities normally associated with the completion of a high school program of study. Delivered in a computer-based format, the test consists of four content areas: Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science, and Social Studies.

General Achievement Adult High School Diploma (GAAHSD)
The General Achievement Adult High School Diploma (GAAHSD) Program is intended to provide a diploma option for individuals who are at least 18 years of age, not enrolled in public education, and not subject to the compulsory attendance requirements of §22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia.

Requirements for earning the GAAHSD include prescribed standard units of credit; a passing score on a high school equivalency examination approved by the Virginia Board of Education; and the attainment of a Board-approved career and technical education credential, such as the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills Assessment. Standard credits required for the GAAHSD may be earned in a variety of educational settings, including public school; community college or other postsecondary institution; adult high school program; or approved correspondence, distance education, or online courses.

Requirements:
  • Earn 20 credits: Four in English; three in math; two in science; two in history and social sciences; nine electives, with at least two sequential in an area of concentration or specialization. These courses shall include content that incorporates or exceeds the content of courses approved by the board to satisfy any of the board-recognized diplomas.

  • Achieve a passing score on a high school equivalency (HSE) examination approved by the board; currently, the only approved HSE examination in Virginia is the GED test.

  • Successfully complete an education or training program designated by the board; earn a board-approved career and technical education credential such as the successful completion of an industry certification (e.g., Career Readiness Certificate), a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment.
National External Diploma Program (NEDP)
The NEDP, which leads to an adult high school diploma, is an applied performance assessment system that assesses the high school level skills of adults. Administered by Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS), the NEDP evaluates the reading, writing, math, and work force readiness skills of participants in life and work contexts. The program is self-paced, flexible, and has no timed tests. The program is for self-directed adult students who are comfortable working independently. Participation in local and regional external diploma programs is available to adults who are 18 years of age and older who did not complete high school and are not enrolled in public education. An adult high school diploma, recognized by the Virginia Board of Education, shall be awarded to an adult student who demonstrates, through applied performance, 100 percent mastery of the NEDP Generalized Competencies in the areas of reading, writing, math, science, geography, history, financial literacy, health literacy, cultural literacy, civic literacy, and 21st century workplace skills.


Legal Reference(s):
Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, Section(s) 22.1 210; 22.1 223 through 22.1-226.4; 22.1-253.13:1 et. seq: Standards of Quality, as amended.

8VAC 20-131 et. seq: Regulations establishing standards for accrediting public schools in Virginia.

8VAC 20-30-10

8VAC 20-360-10

Virginia Board of Education Guidelines for Locally Awarding Verified Credit, Resolution 2002-22, Approved July 25, 2002


Cross Reference(s):
Regulation 328R, Instruction - Alternative Education Programs

Policy 316P, Instruction - Evaluation and Grade Assignment

Policy 312P, Instruction- Locally Awarded Verified Credits


Approved: July 18, 2001
Amended: September 7, 2001
Amended: February 13, 2002
Amended: May 23, 2002
Amended: November 21, 2002
Amended: October 6, 2003
Amended: December 18, 2003
Amended: February 10, 2004
Amended: March 29, 2004
Amended: June 30, 2005
Amended: June 29, 2006
Amended: November 1, 2006
Amended: April 24, 2007
Amended: June 11, 2007
Amended: June 21, 2011
Amended: July 14, 2011
Amended: August 31, 2012
Amended: January 21, 2013
Amended: November 13, 2014
Amended: November 9, 2018
Amended: December 27, 2018