Additional High School Graduation Requirements and Options
Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3442 • 303.299.3600 • Fax: 303.296.8332 • www.ecs.org

Additional High School Graduation Requirements and Options

This database identifies states policies requiring all students to complete a learning plan or a career pathway, or allowing students to graduate from high school before the end of grade 12 or complete course requirements by demonstrating subject proficiency.

Learning plan: Some states require all students at the beginning of their high school careers to identify the courses they will complete by the end of grade 12, and if the state has differentiated diplomas, the diploma the student will complete. A few states likewise require students to include in their learning plan what they anticipate they will do the first year after graduation from high school. This database does not include state policies that require only students identified at risk of not completing high school to develop an individual graduation plan. ECS anticipates that such policies will be gathered at a later date.

Early graduation: Some states specify procedures in statute or regulations allowing students to complete high school in fewer than four years. States that do not have statewide policies may allow local districts to adopt such provisions.

Proficiency-based credit: A growing number of state statutes or regulations identify mechanisms by which students may complete coursework by demonstrating proficiency in lieu of completing seat time. Depending on the state policy, students may be allowed to show proficiency via assessments, work-based or other out-of-classroom coursework or learning experiences, student projects, etc.

Career pathway: A handful of states require all students to complete a series of courses in a student-chosen subject area or field. Such a series of courses are described in state policy as a "career pathway," "career-academic sequence," "career focus," or "career major," etc.

Last update: February 28, 2007

This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.

Alabama
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Districts may opt to participate in the "Credit Advancement" program, which was piloted during the 2009-10 school year. Through Credit Advancement, a student may take an end-of-course exam after demonstrating readiness based on the recommendation of former teachers of the subject, and performance on state and national tests. Students must earn a minimum score of 80 on the exam to earn credit. After receiving the score, the student may choose whether to accept the score or take the course. If the student elects to accept the score, the score will be calculated into his/her GPA.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: Alabama State Board of Education Resolution, December 11, 2008; "First Choice: Alabama High School Graduates of the Future" PowerPoint (no date)
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: ALA. ADMIN. CODE R. 290-3-1-.02, ALA. CODE § 16-6B-2; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

Alaska
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Alignment: High school graduation requirements: ALASKA ADMIN. CODE tit. 4, § 06.075; College admissions requirements: Each institution within the University of Alaska system sets its own freshman admissions requirements.

American Samoa
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Unable to locate
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements

Arizona
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Each district providing instruction in grades 9-12 must promote to students an early graduation scholarship program. Students must graduate at least one year early to participate.

In addition, the state provides for a "Grand Canyon Diploma", which districts and charter schools may choose to offer beginning in the 2012-13 school year, and which students may earn at the end of grade 10 or during or at the end of grade 11 or 12. Statute defines a Grand Canyon Diploma as a diploma offered to any student demonstrating college-readiness in English and math "according to standards prescribed by an interstate compact on board examination systems, who has passing grades on an additional set of required approved board examinations in core academic courses as determined by the state board of education, including the arts, history and science, and who successfully completes a course in economics."

A student who earns a Grand Canyon Diploma may either (1) Enroll in a community college the following fall; (2) Stay in high school and enroll in additional advanced preparation board exam programs designed to prepare those students for admission to high quality baccalaureate-awarding institutions; (3) Enroll in a full-time career and technical education program offered on a community college campus, a high school campus or a joint technical education district campus, or any combination of these campuses; or (4) Return to a traditional academic program without completing the next level of board examination systems curriculum.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Upon student request, a local board must provide the opportunity for the student to demonstrate competency in lieu of classroom time. Awarding of credit must be based on the successful completion of state board-adopted academic standards. If there are no adopted academic standards for an elective subject, the local board or charter school must be responsible for developing and adopting competency requirements for the elective subject. The determination and verification of student performance is the responsibility of the subject-area teacher.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 15-105, 15-792
Proficiency-based credit: ARIZ. ADMIN. CODE R7-2-302.01 (Class of 2012), .02 (Class of 2013 and thereafter), .04 (pre-Class of 2012)
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: ARIZ. ADMIN. CODE R7-2-302.01, 02, 04 (for pre-Class of 2012); College admissions requirements: Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual, Policy 2-102

Arkansas
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. All students must complete the "Smart Core" requirements unless parent/guardian waives student's participation, in which case the student will complete the "Core" requirements.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Any student who has earned the credits required by the local school district must "be eligible to graduate from the high school without regard to the grade level the student is enrolled in at the time such credits are earned."

In addition, state board rules on days and hours of school attendance for students in grades 9-12 specify, "Nothing in these rules precludes a student who has met all graduation requirements from graduating early."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes. All students must complete 6 units in a career focus. All units in the career focus requirement must be established through guidance and counseling based on students' work aspirations.
Sources Learning plan: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0
Early graduation: ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-18-224; Code Ark. R. 005 19 017
Alignment: Arkansas: High school graduation requirements: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0; College admissions requirements: Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Core for Unconditional Admission
Major: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0

California
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Local boards, with input from parents, administrators, teachers and students must "adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study which may include practical demonstration of skills and competencies, supervised experience or other outside school experience, career technical education classes offered in high schools, courses offered by regional occupational centers or programs, interdisciplinary study, independent study, and credit earned at a postsecondary institution. Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public."

Students may also earn credit for "work experience education."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements Only college-prep diploma

Notes/Citation: A-G curriculum aligned with UC and CSU entrance requirements; Golden State Seal Merit Diploma requirements are not.

All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: CAL. EDUC. CODE § 51225.3; Cal. Admin. Code tit. 5, § 1635
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: CAL. EDUC. CODE § 51225.3, 51224.5; College admissions requirements: Cal. Admin. Code tit. 5, § 40601, 40753, CSU admissions Web page, UC admissions Web page

Colorado
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. An individual career and academic plan (ICAP) is developed by the student and student's parent, in collaboration with school counselors, administrators, personnel and/or approved postsecondary service providers that is used to help establish personalized academic and career goals, explore postsecondary career and educational opportunities, align coursework and curriculum, apply to postsecondary institutions, secure financial aid and ultimately enter the workforce. ("Approved postsecondary service providers" are representatives of pre-collegiate service-providing programs who support middle and high school students' postsecondary objectives and planning and who have a formal service agreement with the schools they serve.)

Beginning with the student's 9th grade year, the ICAP must include goals for the student based on academic and career interests, and must identify required academic courses, career courses, electives and contextual and service learning opportunities (i.e., student activities to establish connections between school-based instruction and work and learning that occurs outside the school) aligned to the district's program of instruction related to postsecondary and workforce readiness.

Effective September 30, 2011, each school counselor or administrator must ensure that every student in grades 9-12 and their parents has assistance in the development of an ICAP. (An ICAP may but is not required to be developed in any grade prior to grade nine.) ICAP access and assistance must be provided at least annually in grades 9-12, and each year's ICAP review must indicate any differences in goal revision, new postsecondary career and educational plans, financial aid opportunities and changes in academic courses.

Each ICAP must include a career planning and guidance component and portfolio that includes the student's:
(1) Efforts in exploring careers, including a written postsecondary and workforce goal for the student; yearly benchmarks for reaching that goal; interest surveys the student completes; and anticipated postsecondary studies
(2) Academic progress, including courses taken, any remediation or credit recovery, and any concurrent enrollment credits earned
(3) An intentional sequence of courses reflecting progress toward achieving the student's postsecondary and workforce objectives
(4) Relevant assessment scores
(5) Progress in visual arts and performing arts courses
(6) Plans for and experiences in contextual and service learning, if applicable
(7) College applications and resume, as they are prepared and submitted
(8) The student's postsecondary studies as the student progresses through high school
(9) The student's progress toward securing scholarships, work-study, student loans and grants
(10) Other data reflecting progress toward postsecondary and workforce readiness, including the student's understanding of the financial impact of postsecondary education.

Each ICAP portfolio must be transferable in print or electronic form so that when a student transfers schools or districts, his/her career and academic plans follow him/her.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources
Alignment:
High school graduation requirements: CO Const. Art. IX, § 15, COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 22-1-104; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, Colorado Commission on Higher Education Admission Standards Policy, updated February 2, 2006

Connecticut
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No. However, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, districts must annually collect information for each student in grades 6-12, recording students' career and academic choices.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Legislation permits the department of education to establish a pilot program allowing students in grades 9-12 to substitute a passing score on a series of state board-approved exams for the traditional high school graduation requirements. A student completing such a program must be issued "a board examination certificate", which must "be considered in the same manner as a high school diploma for purposes of determining" a student's eligibility for enrollment in a postsecondary institution in the state. Effective with the 2011-12 school year, a district must allow a student to graduate upon successful completion of the board examination series program.

This pilot is expected to begin in fall 2011, with at least one district implementing a Board Examination System program in grade 9.

In addition, local or regional boards of education may grant a student credit for completion of a world language course offered privately by a nonprofit provider if a student passes an exam determined by the commissioner of education. Up to four credits may be earned by this means.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 10-221a(e); 2010 S.B. 438, Sec. 17
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 10-221a; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

Delaware
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. A Student Success Plan (SSP) is a plan of at least five years (including one year beyond high school) developed and updated at least annually by the student, the student's advisor, at least one other staff member and the student's parent. The plan includes courses needed in preparation for entry into the workforce or postsecondary education, and as well as any support services needed for the student to graduate from high school. An additional year of high school may be an option for inclusion in the SSP. Beginning with the 2007-08 school year, every 8th and 9th grader must have an SSP. Each school year thereafter, a grade must be added on, such that, by the 2011-12 school year, every student in grades 8-12 has an SSP.

Every district must establish a process for developing SSPs that includes:
(1) Actively monitoring student progress on an ongoing basis (at a minimum, by the end of each marking period for courses required for graduation)
(2) Providing support services if a student is failing or at risk of failing courses required for graduation
(3) Annually updating the SSP by the student, the student's advisor, at least one other staff member and the student's parent
(4) Following the guidelines for career and technical education (CTE) programs of study outlined in the CTE State Plan
(5) Reviewing each student's transcript at the end of the 1st and 2nd years of high school to determine if the student has earned at least 5 credits (incl. 3 core credits) by the end of the 1st year and at least 10 credits (incl. 6 core credits) by the end of the 2nd year.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Students may earn the 2 units of foreign language required eff. Class of 2015 by demonstrating proficiency on a nationally recognized assessment of language proficiency in the skill areas of speaking, reading and writing.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes. All students must complete a "career pathway", defined as 3 credits in pre-planned and sequential courses designed to develop knowledge and skills in a particular career or academic area. The career pathway must be included in each Student Success Plan (individual graduation plan).
Sources Learning plan: Code Del Regs. 14 505
Proficiency-based credit: Code Del Regs. 14 505
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: Code Del Regs. 14 505; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
Major: Code Del Regs. 14 505

District of Columbia
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. students entering grade 9 in the 2007-2008 school year (Class of 2011). At the beginning of 9th grade, students must, with the assistance and signed approval of the school counselor, develop a graduation plan setting forth the courses they will take during their high school career.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: D.C. MUN. REGS. tit. V, § 2203.1
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: D.C. MIN. REGS. tit. 5, § 2203. College admissions requirements: The District of Columbia does not have district-wide admissions requirements

Florida
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. State has standard 4-year diploma as well as 3-year standard college-preparatory program and 3-year career-preparatory program. Before a student may choose to participate in a 3-year program, designated school staff must meet with the student and student's parent "to give an explanation of the relative requirements, advantages, and disadvantages of each graduation option." The student must also submit a signed parental consent form to the high school principal and guidance counselor, and must have scored at least 3 on the most recent Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in reading, writing and math. "Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, each district school board shall provide each student in grades 6 through 9 and their parents with information concerning the 3-year and 4-year high school graduation options..., including the respective curriculum requirements for those options, so that the students and their parents may select the postsecondary education or career plan that best fits their needs. The information shall include a time frame for achieving each graduation option." Students must select one of the graduation options before the end of grade 9. Local boards must "establish policies for extending this deadline to the end of a student's first semester of grade 10 for a student who entered a Florida public school after grade 9 upon transfer from a private school or another state or who was prevented from choosing a graduation option due to illness during grade 9." If a student and parent fail to choose a graduation option, the student is considered to have chosen the standard 4-year diploma option.
Eff. Class of 2010: Student not required to have earned at least 3 on reading, math and writing FCAT exams to select 3-year graduation option.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Students may select 3-year diploma option provided they meet certain academic criteria.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Through Class of 2010, "credit for high school graduation may be earned for volunteer activities and nonacademic activities which have been approved for such credit by the state board of education."
In addition, "credit by examination or demonstration of competency" is listed as a public school choice option available to students, and "credit by examination" is listed as one of a number of "articulated acceleration mechanisms" intended to "to shorten the time necessary for a student to complete the requirements associated with the conference of a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree, broaden the scope of curricular options available to students, or increase the depth of study available for a particular subject."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes, eff. Class of 2011. Students must complete 4 units "in major area of interest, such as sequential courses in a career and technical program, fine and performing arts, or academic content area, selected by the student as part of the” student’s individual learning plan. "Students may revise major areas of interest each year as part of annual course registration processes and should update their education plan to reflect such revisions.” Local boards must annually “approve major areas of interest and submit the list of majors to the commissioner of education for approval. Each major area of interest shall be deemed approved unless specifically rejected by the commissioner within 60 days. Upon approval, each district's major areas of interest shall be available for use by all school districts and shall be posted on the department's Web site.”

State also identifies a "minor area of interest" as 3 units chosen by the student as part of their individual learning plan and approved by the local board. Students may complete a minor area of interest in addition to the 4-unit major area of interest, or may complete 2 major areas of interest to fulfill the 8-unit major/minor/electives requirement.
Sources Learning Plan: FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1003.429
Proficiency-based credit: FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1003.43, 1007.27, 1002.20
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1003.43, § 1003.429; College admissions requirements: Florida Board of Regents Rules, Chapter 6C-6
Major: FLA. STAT. ANN. § 1003.428

Georgia
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student who is not a native speaker of English may fulfill two units of foreign language credit "by exercising the credit in lieu of enrollment option if they are proficient in their native language. A formal examination is not necessary if other evidence of proficiency is available. One elective required of all students may be selected from courses in foreign language." This is in force now as well as with the requirements effective with the Class of 2012.

In addition, a local board may apply to the state superintendent for a waiver to award alternative high school students credit "based on demonstrated competency on course examination(s)."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements Only college-prep diploma
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: GA. COMP. R. & REGS. r. 160-4-2.47 and -48, r. 160-4-8.12
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: GA. COMP. R. & REGS. r. 160-4-2-.47; College admissions requirements: Georgia Board of Regents Policy Manual Section 402.0101

Hawaii
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2010. Current .5 unit of "Guidance" required for graduation to be replaced with .5 unit "Personal/Transition Plan."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: Hawaii State BOE Policy 4540
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: Hawaii State BOE Policy 4540; College admissions requirements: Board of Regents policies, Chapter 5, Section 5-11

Idaho
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "Students will maintain a parent-approved student learning plan for their high school and post-high school options. The learning plan will be developed by students and parents or guardians with advice and recommendation from school personnel. It will be reviewed annually and may be revised at any time. The purpose of a parent-approved student learning plan is to outline a course of study and learning activities for students to become contributing members of society. A student learning plan describes, at a minimum, the list of courses and learning activities in which the student will engage while working toward meeting the district’s graduation standards. The school district will have met its obligation for parental involvement if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian of the responsibility for the development and approval of the learning plan. A learning plan will not be required if the parent or guardian requests, in writing, that no learning plan be developed."
IDAPA 08.02.03.104.03
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "Any high school student who completes the number of credits and exiting standards required by both the state and the school district prior to completing 8 semesters of high school work may petition the local superintendent and board of trustees to graduate early."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: IDAPA 08.02.104.03
Early graduation: IDAPA 08.02.350
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: IDAPA 08.02.03, § 105; College admissions requirements: University of Idaho Web site (same requirements to enter Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College or the University of Idaho)

Illinois
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. District may establish program allowing high school students to earn credit towards graduation by performing community service. "The amount of credit given for program participation shall not exceed that given for completion of one semester of language arts, math, science or social studies." Any student who attains a minimum score on the Annual Consumer Education Proficiency Test is not required to take the consumer education course (9 weeks for 50 minutes a day). A student who can demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, including American Sign Language, may receive 1 year of high school foreign language credit.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/10-22.43, 5/27-22.3, 5/27-12.1
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/27-22, ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 23, § 1.440; College admissions requirements: State Universities in Illinois – At a Glance, by the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling

Indiana
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2011. All students must complete the Core 40 unless an individual exception is granted. "Upon the request of a student's parent, the student may be exempted from the Core 40 curriculum requirement set forth in subsection (b) and required to complete the general curriculum to be eligible to graduate. Except as provided in subsection (j), the student's parent and the student's counselor (or another staff member who assists students in course selection) shall meet to discuss the student's progress. Following the meeting, the student's parent shall determine whether the student will achieve greater educational benefits by: (1) continuing the general curriculum; or (2) completing the Core 40 curriculum."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. A student must complete at least 7 semesters in grades 9-12, but a local board may grant a waiver to the 7 semester requirement if (1) not granting the waiver would prevent the student from graduating or (2) a student would have qualified for a gifted and talented program waiver had it been available; AND (a) the waiver is to enroll in a postsecondary institution at which the student has been accepted, or (b) the waiver is for the student to further his/her education through military enlistment and the student's enlistment contract contains an educational component.

In addition, a student demonstrating proficiency in lieu of completing Carnegie units "may not be required to complete a minimum number of semesters to graduate or to receive an academic honors diploma."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student demonstrating proficiency in a course or subject area required for graduation or the academic honors diploma must receive credits for such regardless of whether the student has completed course work in the subject area. Proficiency may be demonstrated through one or more of the following methods:
(1) Receiving a score that demonstrates proficiency on a standardized assessment accepted by accredited postsecondary institutions.
(2) Receiving a high proficiency level score on an end of course assessment for a course without taking the course.
(3) Completing a similar course at an eligible institution under the postsecondary enrollment program.
(4) Scoring 3, 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement exam.
(5) Other methods approved by the state board.

In addition, "school corporations may, but are not required to, use scores from tests in determining a student's eligibility for a high school diploma." Subject to district application to the department, students identified as “high ability” may earn credit through performance assessments without completing the mandated classroom time for high school graduation.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes, eff. Class of 2010
Notes/Citation: Prior to 2010: "To help ascertain that graduates of its high school(s) have adequate breadth and depth in their education, school corporations may, but are not required to, prescribe that a given number of majors or minors be accumulated by a student prior to receiving a high school diploma." Regulations define a major and minor as 6 and 4 or more credits earned in the same area of study, respectively. However, regulation regarding major and minor areas of study was repealed in 1987. Eff. Class of 2010, all students must complete 3 units in a "career-academic sequence."
Sources Learning Plan: IND. CODE ANN. § 20-32-4-7
Early graduation: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7-4, 6-7.1-3; IND. CODE ANN. § 20-36-5
Proficiency-based credit: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7-2 and 6-9.1-1 through –3; IND. CODE ANN. § 20-36-5
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7-6.1, r. 6-7-6.5, r. 6-7.1-4 through 6-7.1-7, IND. CODE ANN. § 20-12-17.5, § 20-10.1-16-13, § 20-32-4-1, Core 40 document; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7.1-5, IND. CODE ANN. § 20-12-17.5
Major: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7.1-4

Iowa
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, each eighth grade student must develop “a core curriculum plan to guide the student toward the goal of successfully completing, at a minimum, the model core curriculum … by the time the student graduates from high school.” The plan must include career options and identify the coursework the student must take to support his/her postsecondary education and career options. If the student is under 18, the student's parent or guardian must sign the core curriculum plan developed with the student and the signed plan must be included in the student's records.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. In setting graduation requirements, local boards must provide for early graduation.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: IOWA CODE ANN. § 279.61
Early graduation: IOWA ADMIN. CODE r. 281-12.3
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: IOWA ADMIN. CODE r. 281-12.3(5), 12.5(5); College admissions requirements: Iowa Board of Regents Policy 6.01 and Iowa Board of Regents document "Building Your Future"

Kansas
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Individual students may be awarded credit based on demonstrated knowledge of the content of a course or subject, regardless of the amount of time spent by the student in the course or subject."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: KAN. ADMIN. REGS. 91-31-31
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: KAN. ADMIN. REGS. 91-31-21, 91-31-35; College admissions requirements: Kansas Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, July 1995, page 45 and Kansas Board of Regents Qualified Admissions Web page

Kentucky
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "Beginning with the graduating class of 2002, each student in a common school shall complete an individual graduation plan which incorporates emphasis on career development and shall have a total of at least 22 credits for high school graduation." "Beginning with a student's eighth grade year, the Individual Learning Plan shall set learning goals for the student based on academic and career interests and shall identify required academic courses, electives and extracurricular opportunities aligned to the student's postsecondary goals. The school shall use information from the Individual Learning Plan about student needs for academic and elective courses to plan academic and elective offerings." Each school must maintain every student's Individual Learning Plan, which must be reviewed and approved at least annually by the student, parent and school officials.

Beginning with the Class of 2013, development of each student's Individual Learning Plan must begin by the end of 6th grade and must "be focused on career exploration and related postsecondary education and training needs."

Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A local board may award credit "for satisfactory demonstration of learning based on content standards ... and a rigorous performance standards policy established by the board of education. A school shall establish performance descriptors and evaluation procedures to determine if the content and performance standards have been met. Every district must establish a policy for awarding performance-based credit that must include:
"(a) The procedures for developing performance-based credit systems and for amending the system;
(b) The conditions under which each high school may grant performance-based credits and the related performance descriptors and assessments;
(c) Objective grading and reporting procedures; ...
(e) The extent to which state-provided assessments will be used in the local performance-based credit system;
(f) The ability for students to demonstrate proficiency and earn credit for learnign acquired outside of school or in prior learning;
and (g) Criteria to ensure that internships, cooperative learning experiences, and other learning experiences in the school and community are designed to further student progress towards the Individual Learning Plan, supervised by qualified instructors and aligned with state and local content and performance standards."

Performance based credit may be awarded for:
(a) Demonstration of learning in any high school course;
(b) "Standards-based course work that constitutes satisfactory demonstration of learning in a course for which the student failed to earn credit when the course was taken previously;
(c) Standards-based portfolios, senior year or capstone projects;
(d) Standards-based online or other technology mediated courses;
(e) Standards-based dual credit or other equivalency courses; and
(f) Standards-based internship, cooperative learning experience, or other supervised experience in the school and the community."

In addition, a student transferring from a nonaccredited secondary school must be awarded credit by either passing "an examination of similar nature and content to the examination used for other students receiving credit for a particular course within the school district and graded on a comparable basis" or performing successfully "in a higher level of the course when the courses are sequential in nature such as English, mathematics, history, and science. Successful performance shall consist of achieving at least a C grade in the course by the 12th week of school."

Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements Only college-prep diploma
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No. However, all students must develop "an individual graduation plan which incorporates emphasis on career development..."
Sources Learning plan: 704 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 3:305
Proficiency-based credit: 704 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 3:307 and 3:305
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 704 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 3:305; College admissions requirements: 13 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 2:020
Major: 704 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 3:305

Louisiana
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "Prior to student scheduling each year, each middle, junior, or high school shall provide the parent/guardian/legal custodian with a listing of course offerings, the content of each, and high school graduation requirements where appropriate. 1. By the end of the eighth grade, each student shall develop, with the input of his family, a Five Year Educational Plan. Such a plan shall include a sequence of courses that is consistent with the student's stated goals for one year after graduation. 2. Each student's Five Year Educational Plan shall be reviewed annually thereafter by the student, parents, and school advisor and revised as needed. 3. Every middle, junior, or high school shall require that the parent/guardian/legal custodian sign his/her child's schedule form and the Five Year Educational Plan for students in grades 8-12."

In addition, effective with the Class of 2012, all students must be enrolled in the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum, unless, after a minimum of two years in high school, the student or student's parent requests that the student be exempted from the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum and complete the Louisiana Core Curriculum instead. The student's parent must meet with the student and the school counselor (or other staff member who helps students in course selection) to discuss what is in the student's best interest. If the parent decides to opt out of the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum, the parent must sign a written statement "acknowledging that one consequence of not completing the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum may be ineligibility to enroll in a Louisiana four-year public college or university." The student's Five Year Plan must then be jointly revised by the student, the student's parent, and the counselor or other staff member who assists students in course selection.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "High school credit shall be granted to a student following the student's passing of a proficiency examination for the eligible course." The student must be offered the proficiency exam on a pass/fail basis "when a school official believes that a student has mastered eligible subject matter and has reached the same or a higher degree of proficiency as that of a student who completed an equivalent course at the regular high school or college level." A November 2007 amendment allows students to take proficiency examinations in courses they have failed.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No. However, students must have "the opportunity to complete an area of concentration with an academic focus and/or a career focus."
Notes/Citation: "To complete an academic area of concentration, students shall meet the current course requirements for the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Opportunity Award plus one additional Carnegie unit in mathematics, science, or social studies. To complete a career area of concentration, students shall meet the minimum requirements for graduation, including four elective primary credits in the area of concentration and two related elective credits, including one computer/technology course." The following computer/technology courses can be used to meet this requirement: Computer/Technology Literacy; Computer Applications or Business Computer Applications; Computer Architecture; Computer Science I, II; Computer Systems and Networking I, II; Desktop Publishing; Digital Graphics and Animation; Multimedia Presentations; Web Mastering or Web Design; Independent Study in Technology Applications; Word Processing; Telecommunications; Introduction to Business Computer Applications; Technology Education Computer Applications; Advanced Technical Drafting; and Computer Electronics I, II.
Sources Learning plan: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, § CXV.901 (LAC 28:CXV.901) and CXV.2319 (LAC 28:CXV.2319); LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:183.2
Proficiency-based credit: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, § 2323
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, part CXV, § 2319; College admissions requirements: Louisiana Board of Regents Public University Minimum Admissions Criteria
Major: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, pt. CXV, § 2319; LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:183.1 through .4

Maine
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "Nothing in this chapter may prevent the award of a diploma to a student who has completed all diploma requirements in fewer than 4 years of study."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Effective with the Class of 2007, "public high school graduation must be determined by student achievement of the standards of the system of learning results in English language arts, health and physical education, mathematics, science and technology and social studies, based on the school administrative unit's local assessment system...." "Local assessments may include portfolios, performances and demonstrations in addition to other measures of achievement. Commercially produced assessment tools may be part of a local assessment system but may not carry a majority of the weight in determining student performance."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 20-A, § 4722; 05-071 CMR Ch. 127, § 7
Proficiency-based credit: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 20-A, § 6202-A; 05-071 CMR Ch. 127, § 7
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 20, § 4722; College admissions requirements: Personal communication, University of Southern Maine, August 2005

Maryland
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Each district may "develop alternative ways for individual or groups of students to fulfill graduation requirements," including "waiver of the fourth year enrollment requirement if all credit, assessments, and student service requirements are met and if the local superintendent of schools or designee determines that the waiver is in the best interest of the student." Alternatively, a student may receive a diploma through the "Early College Admission Program" or the "Early Admission to Approved Vocational, Technical, or Other Postsecondary School Program" if the student (1) is accepted for early admission to an accredited college or an approved vocational, technical, or postsecondary school program before high school graduation; (2) has met all Maryland High School Assessment and student service requirements; (3) receives approval of a written request to the local superintendent certifying early admission acceptance; (4) receives the superintendent's approval of the student's program for the first year of college if this program is included toward the issuance of a diploma; and (5) upon concluding a full year of study, submits to the superintendent a written request for a Maryland High School Diploma, along with a transcript or letter from the college or other postsecondary school to the high school principal indicating the student has successfully completed a year of postsecondary school work.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Experience outside the school "may be counted for credit when identified as an integrated part of a planned study program. For work or experience outside the school which is approved and supervised by the local school system, not more than nine elective credits toward meeting graduation requirements may be granted to a student." Credit may also be "earned for independent study or internships in which a student successfully demonstrates pre-established curricular objectives" or "by passing an examination that assesses student demonstration of local school system curricular objectives. Credit toward high school graduation may be earned by middle school students if the following criteria are met: (a) The student has taken a high school level course meeting the local school system curricular objectives; and (b) The student passes an examination that assesses student demonstration of course objectives and the examination is equivalent in content coverage and rigor to examinations given to high school students for the course content area." However, "The determination to allow high school credit by examination for middle school students shall be made by the local school system." A student who earns credit for algebra/data analysis, biology, English I, or government outside the classroom must "take the requisite Maryland High School Assessment during its next regular administration." Elsewhere, statute allows an individual to earn a high school diploma by exam if the individual has lived in the state for at least 3 months [this may be waived by the state board]; is at least 16 years old; and "has withdrawn from a regular full-time public or private school program for at least 3 months, except that the State Board my waive the 3-month withdrawal requirement" if the state board deems this justified. At least twice a year the state board must offer these exams, which must be "offered in appropriate high school subject areas" and "be of a comprehensive nature as determined by the state board."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: MD. REGS. CODE tit. 13A, § 03.02.10 and .11
Proficiency-based credit: MD. REGS. CODE tit. 13A, § 03.02.05; MD. CODE ANN., EDUC. § 7-206
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: MD. REGS. CODE tit. 13A, § 03.02.04; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

Massachusetts
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Alignment: High school graduation requirements: MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. Ch. 69, § 1D; College admissions requirements: Massachusetts Board of Higher Educatiom Admissions Standards for the Massachusetts State Colleges and University

Michigan
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2011. All grade 7 students must have the opportunity to develop an "educational development plan," and all students must have developed a plan by the time they enter high school. An educational development plan must be developed by the student under the supervision of the student's counselor or another qualified designee and must "be based on a career pathways program or similar career exploration program."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Local board must award credit in any course to a high school student who is not enrolled in a course but "who has exhibited a reasonable level of mastery of the subject matter of the course by attaining a grade of not less than C+ in a final exam in the course or, if there is no final exam, by exhibiting that mastery through the basic assessment used in the course which may consist of a portfolio, performance, paper, project, or presentation." "Credit earned [in this manner] may or may not be counted toward graduation, as the board of the school district may determine, but the board's determination shall apply equally to all such credit for all pupils...." Credit earned in this manner will be "pass" only and not included in computation of student's grade point average. In addition, local board must grant high school credit to a high school student who demonstrates who has completed a course in or demonstrates proficiency in American Sign Language, or who demonstrates "proficiency in a foreign language outside of a public or private high school curriculum" either by competency test "or other criteria established by the board."

Eff. Class of 2011: A student will be considered to have completed a unit if the student successfully completes the department's subject area content expectations or guidelines. This determination must be based in part on student's performance on assessments chosen by the department or the district. A student must be awarded credit upon attainment of a qualifying score (as determined by the department or district) on an assessment selected for the purpose of determining student proficiency in that subject area.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes. Students in grade 7 must be given an opportunity to develop an educational development plan based on a career pathways program or similar career exploration program. An educational development plan must be developed by the student under the supervision of the student’s school counselor or another qualified designee. Each student must have developed a plan before he or she begins high school.
Sources Learning plan: MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1278b
Proficiency-based credit: MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1279b, 1279e, 1157b, 1278a
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1166, 380.1278; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
Major: MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1278b

Minnesota
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No. However, the state supports "learning year programs" that provide instruction throughout the year at state-designated sites. Every student in the learning year program must have a "continual learning plan ... developed at least annually... with the participation of the pupil, parent or guardian, teachers, and other staff.... The plan must specify the learning experiences that must occur during the entire fiscal year and, for secondary students, for graduation...."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Any high school student who has completed all course and testing requirements for high school graduation may, with the approval of the student's parent/guardian and local school officials, "graduate before the completion of the school year." "A learning year program provides instruction throughout the year" at a state-designated area learning center; students may participate to accelerate completion of graduation requirements.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student may submit an application for a waiver from a graduation requirement. The district, charter school, or area learning center "must declare that a student meets or exceeds a specific academic standard required for graduation" if it is determined that the student is participating in a course of study, including in "a learning opportunity outside the curriculum ... or an approved preparatory program for employment or postsecondary education that is equally or more rigorous than the corresponding state or local academic standard" the student would otherwise have to complete. The district "also may formally determine other circumstances in which to declare that a student meets or exceeds a specific academic standard that the site requires for graduation..." In statute pertaining to graduation requirements eff. Class of 2008, course credit is defined as either completing a year of study "or a student mastering the applicable subject matter, as determined by the local school district."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: MINN. STAT. ANN. § 120B.07, 124D.128, 120A.22
Proficiency-based credit: MINN. STAT. ANN. § 120B.021, 120B.024
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: MINN. STAT. § 120B.021, 120B.024; College admissions requirements: Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Web site

Mississippi
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. Each student upon completion of grade 8 must have "developed a career plan which includes career goals, objectives, and a plan for achieving them; and selection of appropriate secondary and post-secondary curriculum. The parent/guardian is required to sign off on a student planned program of study."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Evidence of proficiency in keyboarding and computer applications is accepted in lieu of the .5 unit each of keyboarding and "Computer Applications" if the student earns one unit in any of the courses listed in the Business and Technology Framework (academic and vocational)."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: CMSR 36-000-064
Proficiency-based credit: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards, 2004, Revised September 2005
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards, Revised September 2005, Appendix A-1, A-2, A-3; College admissions requirements: Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning, State of Mississippi Policies and Bylaws§ 601.02, amended through February 15, 2006

Missouri
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "Local boards may, by policy, permit students who have met all state and local graduation requirements to exit high school earlier than the usual eight semesters. The conditions for early exit should be communicated unambiguously to all students and their parents, and the policy should be followed in the most consistent manner possible."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A district, with prior approval of the department of elementary and secondary education, may grant credit to a student who demonstrates mastery of the required competencies of a course.
In addition, "The State Board of Education has authorized the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to waive the standard graduation requirements for school districts that wish to develop and implement performance-based graduation standards as an alternative to the credit-based requirements. Any school district interested in this alternative should contact the Supervision Section for information and guidance in developing such a system."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements Only college-prep diploma
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS IN MISSOURI'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Guidelines for Principals, Counselors and Other School Personnel, September 2002
Proficiency-based credit: GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS IN MISSOURI'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Guidelines for Principals, Counselors and Other School Personnel, September 2002; MO. CODE REGS. ANN. tit. 5, § 50-345.300
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: Graduation Handbook, MO. CODE REGS. ANN. tit. 5, § 50-345.300; College admissions requirements: Missouri Department of Higher Education Web site

Montana
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. In accordance with local board policies, "students may be graduated from high school with less than four years enrollment."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: MONT. ADMIN. R. 10.55.905
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: MONT. ADMIN. R. 10.55.905; College admissions requirements: Montana University System document

Nebraska
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Schools may use performance based curriculum or courses as an option ... if they have a written description of the curricula or course which includes the goals, representative instructional experiences, expected student performance for accomplishment of the goals, and the rationale for allocating instructional units for the course. The written description is approved by the local board of education and is on file in the school. Performance based curriculum provides learning opportunities for students equivalent to or greater than those [completed through minimum instructional units], but may take less than the time required ... for determining instructional units." In addition, "A district shall make provisions for students that may enter at any time during the school year. A district that enrolls a student during the school year shall give the student the opportunity to earn full credit for the courses in which the student is enrolled if the student is able to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter and/or completion of course requirements, other than attendance, at a level required for other students to receive credit who have been enrolled throughout the period for which the credit is to be granted. The district may use a review of transcripts from prior schools attended, standardized tests, assessments, and/or teacher evaluations of student competency in the subject matter to make such a determination. A school district may use the same evaluation alternatives to award or recognize credit for past course work completed elsewhere and/or through demonstrated mastery of subject matter."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: NEB. ADMIN. CODE Tit. 92, Ch. 19, § 003, 004
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: NEB. ADMIN. CODE tit. 92, ch. 10, § 003, NEB. REV. STAT. § 79-729; College admissions requirements: Nebraska does not have statewide college admissions requirements

Nevada
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. 2007 A.B. 212 mandates the development of district policies regarding the development of a 4-year academic plan for each 9th grader. The academic plan must be developed by the student, student's parent and a school counselor, and must "set forth the specific educational goals [the student] intends to achieve" before high school graduation. The academic plan may include "the designation of a career pathway and enrollment in dual credit courses, career and technical education courses, advanced placement courses and honors courses."

The plan must be reviewed at least once each school year in consultation with a school counselor, and may be revised if necessary.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Local board may grant credit towards high school graduation "for a pupil's experiences outside the high school campus if those experiences are equivalent in kind and amount to the educational experiences being offered in the high school." Student may receive credit for a high school course by demonstrating "competence to meet the objectives of the course through ... performance on examinations."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: 2007 A.B. 212
Proficiency-based credit: NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 389, § 670, 674
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 389, § 663 and 664; College admissions requirements: Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, chapter 16

New Hampshire
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Local boards may adopt policies allowing for early graduation for students who have completed all course requirements. Early graduation requests must "be related to the career and/or educational plans of the student."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Regulation allows local boards to offer "extended learning opportunities," which permits students to earn credit through participation in such activities as "independent study, private instruction, team sports, performing groups, interships, community service and work study[.]" Credits must be awarded "based on a student's demonstration of competencies, as approved by certified educators" and must be made available to all students.

In addition, by the 2008-2009 school year, local boards must allow high school credit to be earned by demonstrating mastery of required competencies for the course, as approved by certified school personnel, and must have in place competency assessments for all courses offered through the high school. Until the 2008-2009 school year, the local board must require that high school credit may be earned either through seat time or by demonstration of competency through a competency assessment, if one is in place.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23
Proficiency-based credit: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23, 306.27
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23; College admissions requirements: New Hampshire does not have statewide college admissions requirements

New Jersey
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Local boards may give a state-endorsed high school diploma to any student who has (1) scored at the proficient or advanced proficient level in all sections of the HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment); "presented official transcripts showing at least 30 general education credits leading to a degree at an accredited institution of higher education; and (3) has, if a student currently enrolled in a public school; formally requested such early award of a state-endorsed high school diploma."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Rather than requiring students to complete the specified 110 credits in certain courses, districts may allow or require students to complete graduation requirements by achieving the Core Curriculum Content Standards. Curricular activities and programs may involve in-depth experiences linked to the Core Curriculum Content Standards, such as interdisciplinary or theme-based programs, independent study, co-curricular or extra-curricular activities, magnet programs, student exchange programs, distance learning opportunities, internships, community service, or other structured learning experiences. (B) Programs and appropriate assessments shall be planned for individuals and/or a group based on specific instructional objectives aimed at meeting or exceeding the Core Curriculum Content Standards. (C) The principal shall certify completion of curricular activities or programs based upon specified instructional objectives aimed at meeting or exceeding the Core Curriculum Content Standards. (D) Group programs based upon specific instructional objectives aimed at meeting or exceeding the Core Curriculum Content Standards shall be approved in the same manner as other approved courses. (E) Individual programs based upon specific instructional objectives aimed at meeting or exceeding the Core Curriculum Content Standards shall be on file in the local district and subject to review by the Commissioner or his or her designee." Districts may also use "performance or competency assessment to approve student completion of programs aimed at meeting or exceeding the Core Curriculum Content Standards at the secondary level, including those occurring all or in part prior to a student's high school enrollment."
High School Proficiency Assessment Option: Local boards may give a state-endorsed high school diploma to any student who has (1) scored at the proficient or advanced proficient level in all sections of the HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment); "presented official transcripts showing at least 30 general education credits leading to a degree at an accredited institution of higher education; and (3) has, if a student currently enrolled in a public school; formally requested such early award of a state-endorsed high school diploma."
Foreign language requirement: Effective with the Class of 2008, in lieu of completing the five credits in world languages, student may demonstrate proficiency.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 6, § 8-5.2
Proficiency-based credit:N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 6, § 8-5.1, 8-5.2 ; N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:35-4.18
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 6, § 8-5.1, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:35-1 and -2; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

New Mexico
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "At the end of grades 8 through 11, each student shall prepare an interim next-step plan that sets forth the coursework for the grades remaining until high school graduation. Each year's plan shall explain any differences from the previous interim next-step plans, shall be filed with the principal ... and shall be signed by the student, the student's parent and the student's guidance counselor or other school official charged with coursework planning for the student." Each interim next-step plan must specify "post-high-school goals" and "the coursework that will allow the student to achieve those goals." "Each student must complete a final next-step plan during the senior year and prior to graduation" to be filed with the principal and signed by the same individuals listed above. The final next-step plan must show "that the student has committed or intends to commit in the near future to" a four- or two-year postsecondary institution, "a trade or vocational program, an internship or apprenticeship, military service or a job." Students must develop all next-step plans in consultation with their "parent or guardian and school counselor or other school official charged with coursework planning for the student." Local boards must "ensure that each high school student has the opportunity to develop a next-step plan and is reasonably informed about: (1) curricular and course options; (2) opportunities available that lead to different post-high-school options; and (3) alternative opportunities available if the student does not finish a planned curriculum."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

New York
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "[S]tudents seeking to complete the diploma requirements prescribed by this section in less than four years shall be subject to the diploma requirements applicable to a student who first entered grade nine four years prior to the school year in which the diploma is to be awarded, provided that a student graduating at the end of the fall semester shall be subject to the graduation requirements in effect for the preceding school year. The diploma shall be awarded at the end of the semester in which all requirements are completed. Diplomas shall not be awarded in anticipation that requirements will be met." "A student who has completed the diploma requirements ... in fewer than eight semesters, and who is otherwise eligible to receive a diploma, shall not be required to continue enrollment in high school for the sole purpose of completing the physical education requirements..."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "A student may earn a maximum of 6 1/2 units of credit for a ... diploma without completing units of study for such units of credit, if: (i) based on the student's past academic performance, the superintendent of a school district or the chief administrative officer of a registered nonpublic high school, or his or her designee, determines that the student will benefit academically by exercising this alternative; (ii) the student achieves a score of at least 85 percent, or its equivalent as determined by the commissioner, on a State-developed or State-approved assessment ...; (iii) the student passes an oral examination or successfully completes a special project to demonstrate proficiency, in such knowledge, skills and abilities normally developed in the course but not measured by the relevant Regents examination or State-approved examination if used, as determined by the principal; and (iv) the student attends school, or received substantially equivalent instruction elsewhere, in accordance with section 3204(2) of the Education Law, until the age of 16, pursuant to sections 3204 and 3205 of the Education Law." Regulation also identifies the units of credit a student may receive for earning a score of at least 85 on specified Regents exams or by participating in specific arts activities. In addition, students may be exempted from foreign language coursework requirements "by passing an approved second language proficiency examination when such an examination is available."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8, § 100.5
Proficiency-based credit: N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8, § 100.2, 100.5
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 8, § 100.5; College admissions requirements: New York State Education Department, Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE) Institutional Accreditation Self-Study Guide, Standards: Administration

North Carolina
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "The State Board of Education shall ... adopt policies directing school guidance counselors to make ninth grade students aware of the potential to complete the high school courses required for college entry in a three-year period."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. College prep student may complete 2 units foreign language by demonstation of proficiency.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No, although eff. Class of 2013, "the state board of education strongly recommends that local superintendents assist students in developing a four-course concentration focused on student interests and postsecondary goals. The concentration would provide an opportunity for the student to participate in a rigorous, in-depth and linked study. The concentration would not limit a student's access to opportunities provided through community college concurrent enrollment, Learn and Earn early college, Huskins or university dual enrollment. Local superintendents or their designees would approve student concentrations."
Sources Early graduation: N.C. GEN. STAT. § 115C-12
Proficiency-based credit: N.C. ADMIN. CODE tit. 16, r. 6D.0503
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.C. ADMIN. CODE tit. 16, r. 6D.0503; College admissions requirements: University of North Carolina Board of Governors Policy Manual 700.1.1
Major: N.C. ADMIN. CODE tit. 16, r. 6D.0503

North Dakota
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.D. CENT. CODE § 15.1-21-.02.1, 15.1-21-02; College admissions requirements: North Dakota SBHE Policies, Section 402.2

Ohio
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No. However, 2006 S.B. 311 directs the state board of education, in consultation with the Oho board of regents and the partnership for continued learning, to adopt a plan by April 2009, implementing methods for students to earn high school credit based on a demonstration of subject area competency, either in conjunction with or in place of classroom instruction. The state board must begin phasing in the plan during the 2009-2010 school year.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Alignment: High school graduation requirements: OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3313.603, OHIO ADMIN. CODE § 3301-13-07; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
Proficiency-based credit: OHIO. REV. CODE ANN. § 3313.603(J) (2006 S.B. 311)

Oklahoma
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2010. "Effective with the Class of 2010, students must complete a specified "college preparatory/work ready" curriculum, unless they receive written approval from the student's parent to complete the less rigorous "core curriculum" required prior to the Class of 2010. Districts may require a parent to meet with a school designee prior to the student's enrollment in the core curriculum. The department of education must "distribute to school districts a form suitable for this purpose" that must "include information on the benefits to students of completing the college preparatory/work ready curriculum[.]"
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Statute mandates that the state board "provide an option for high school graduation based upon attainment of the desired levels of competencies as required in tests pursuant to the provisions of Section 1210.508 of this title. Such option shall be in lieu of the amount of course credits earned." Upon request by "a student, parent, guardian, or educator, a student will be given the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in one or more areas of the core curriculum." Students must have the opportunity to show proficiency in the following areas: social studies, language arts, the arts, languages, math and science. Proficiency must "be demonstrated by assessment or evaluation appropriate to the curriculum area, for example: portfolio, criterion-referenced test, thesis, project, product or performance. Proficiency in all laboratory science courses will require that students are able to perform relevant laboratory techniques." Students must score at least 90% on the assessment or evaluation to obtain credit, and must have the opportunity for proficiency assessment at least twice each school year. "Students will be allowed to take proficiency assessments in multiple areas" and those "not demonstrating proficiency will be allowed to try again during the next assessment period." "Students demonstrating proficiency in a core curriculum area will be given credit for their learning and will be given the opportunity to advance to the next level of study in the appropriate curriculum area" and such demonstration of proficiency must be placed on the student's transcript, as will failure to demonstrate proficiency. "The school will confer with parents in making such promotion/acceleration decisions. Such factors as social and mental growth should be considered. If the parent or guardian requests promotion/acceleration contrary to the recommendation of school personnel, the parent or guardian shall sign a written statement which shall be included in the permanent record of the student. ... Proficiency assessment will measure mastery of the Priority Academic Student Skills in the same way that curriculum and instruction are focused on the Priority Academic Student Skills. In other words, assessment will be aligned with curriculum and instruction. ... Each school district will disseminate materials explaining the opportunities of proficiency based promotion to students and parents in the district each year. Proficiency criteria for each core curriculum area will be made available upon request." "Appropriate notation will be made for elementary, middle level, or high school level students satisfactorily completing grade 9 - 12 high school curriculum areas, Completion may be recorded with a letter grade or pass notation. This curriculum area will count toward meeting the requirements for the high school diploma."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 70, § 11-103.6
Proficiency-based credit: OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 70, § 11-103.6; OKLA. ADMIN. CODE § 210:35-27-2 and -3
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 70, § 11-103.6, § 11-103.6d, § 11-111; College admissions requirements: Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Web page

Oregon
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2007. All students must (1) "develop an education plan and build an education profile"; (2) "build a collection of evidence, or include evidence in existing collections, to demonstrate extended application"; (3) "demonstrate career-related knowledge and skills in the following areas: personal management, problem solving, communication, teamwork, employment foundations, and career development"; and (4) "participate in career-related learning experiences outlined in the education plan..."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "Twelve school years shall be required beginning with grade 1, except when the school district adopts policies providing for early or delayed completion of all state and school district credit and performance requirements..."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "The district school board may adopt policies for alternative learning experiences, such as credit by examination and credit for off-campus experiences..." More specifically, a student may earn credit by (1) completing "a unit of credit where performance-based criteria acceptable to the school district are identified;" (2) "[Demonstrating] competency or mastery of subject as defined by the school district by any one or more of the following as approved by the district: (A) Successfully [passing] an appropriate exam; (B) [Providing] sample of work or other evidence which demonstrates equivalent knowledge or skill; and (C) [Providing] documentation of prior learning activities or experiences (e.g., certification of training, letters, diplomas, awards, etc.); or" (3) Completing a combination of coursework and the above. In addition, effective with the Class of 2010, a student who completes fewer than 4 years of English or 3 years of math may receive a diploma if the student meets or exceeds "the academic content standards for mathematics or English" or "displays proficiency" in these subjects "at a level established by the board."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No.
Notes/Citation: However, eff. Class of 2007, All students must (1) "develop an education plan and build an education profile"; (2) "build a collection of evidence, or include evidence in existing collections, to demonstrate extended application"; (3) "demonstrate career-related knowledge and skills in the following areas: personal management, problem solving, communication, teamwork, employment foundations, and career development"; and (4) "participate in career-related learning experiences outlined in the education plan..."
Sources Learning plan: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130
Early graduation: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130
Proficiency-based credit: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130, -1131; 2005 H.B. 3129
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130, 2005 H.B. 3129 (not codified as of March 30, 2006); College admissions requirements: Oregon State Board of Higher Education admission policy, approved February 4, 2005
Major: OR. ADMIN. R. 581-022-1130

Pennsylvania
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 22 PA. CODE § 4.24; College admissions requirements: Pennsylvania does not have statewide college admissions requirements

Puerto Rico
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Unable to locate
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Unable to locate
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Unable to locate
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Unable to locate

Rhode Island
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Under development. "The expectation is that the elementary school (at Grade 5) will work with middle schools to develop a data-rich profile of each student to ease transition and to ensure proper placement that would lead to an individualized learning plan (ILP) or similar mechanism. In the near future, the Electronic Portfolio Network of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Graduation by Proficiency Grant will assist schools by developing formats and templates for ILPs."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. By the Class of 2008, students must demonstrate proficiency to graduate from high school. Proficiency may be demonstrated through exhibitions such as senior projects, capstone projects, or certificates of initial mastery; portfolios; proficiency-based departmental end-of-course exams; common tasks; and industry skill certifications.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: "Initial Guidance for the Graduation by Proficiency Component of the Regulations of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education Regarding Public High Schools and Ensuring Literacy for Students Entering High School," February 4, 2004
Proficiency-based credit: "Initial Guidance for the Graduation by Proficiency Component of the Regulations of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education Regarding Public High Schools and Ensuring Literacy for Students Entering High School," February 4, 2004
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: R.I. CODE R. 08 050 001, The Rhode Island High School Diploma System; College admissions requirements: Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, Policies of Administrative Supervision, R.I.CODE R. 08 020 009

South Carolina
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, effective with eighth-graders in 2006-2007 school year (Class of 2011). "Before the end of the second semester of the eighth grade, eighth grade students in consultation with their parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians to serve as their designee shall select a preferred cluster of study and develop an individual graduation plan..." "An individual graduation plan is a student specific educational plan detailing the courses necessary for the student to prepare for graduation and to successfully transition into the workforce or postsecondary education. An individual graduation plan must: (1) align career goals and a student's course of study; (2) be based on the student's selected cluster of study and an academic focus within that cluster; (3) include core academic subjects, which must include, but are not limited to, English, math, science, and social studies to ensure that requirements for graduation will be met; (4) include experience-based, career-oriented learning experiences including, but not limited to, internships, apprenticeships, mentoring, co-op education, and service learning; (5) be flexible to allow change in the course of study but be sufficiently structured to meet graduation requirements and admission to postsecondary education; (6) incorporate provisions of a student's individual education plan, when appropriate; and (7) be approved by a certified school guidance counselor and the student's parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians to serve as their designee." After the 2007-2008 school year, certified school guidance counselors and career specialists must counsel students in grades 9 and 10 "to further define their career cluster goals and individual graduation plans... Throughout high school, students must be provided guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students in fulfilling their individual graduation plans." "Beginning with students in the sixth grade and continuing through high school, schools must schedule annual parent counseling conferences to assist parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians and their children in making career choices and creating individual graduation plans. These conferences must include, but are not limited to, assisting the student in identifying career interests and goals, selecting a cluster of study and an academic focus, and developing an individual graduation plan."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Every high school must "provide an accelerated program of study whereby any student who demonstrates sufficient ability shall, upon approval of the administrative head of such school" and the student's parent/guardian, "be allowed to undertake such courses of study as will enable the student to graduate" at the end of grade 11.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes, eff. Class of 2010. "During the 2007-08 school year, each public high school shall implement a career guidance program model or prototype as developed or approved by the State Department of Education. At least annually after that, certified school guidance counselors and career specialists, under their supervision, shall counsel students during the ninth and tenth grades to further define their career cluster goals and individual graduation plans, and before the end of the second semester of the tenth grade, tenth grade students shall have declared an area of academic focus within a cluster of study. Throughout high school, students must be provided guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students in fulfilling their individual graduation plans. In order to maximize the number of clusters offered, a school district is to ensure that each high school within the district offers a variety of clusters. A student may transfer to a high school offering that student's career cluster if not offered by the high school in his attendance zone."
Sources Learning plan: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-59-90, 59-59-110, 59-59-140, 59-59-160
Early graduation: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-39-110
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 43 S.C. CODE ANN. REGS. 259; College admissions requirements: South Carolina Commission on Higher Education College Preparatory Course Prerequisite Requirements
Major: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-59-110

South Dakota
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. Effective with the Class of 2010, students must enroll in courses required to complete the Advanced or Distinguished high school program. A student may be excused from this requirement "if the student's parent or guardian and a school counselor or school administrator agree that the student should instead take courses of instruction necessary to complete the basic high school program also established by the board ...."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-33-19; S.D. ADMIN. R. 24:43:11:06
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: S.D. ADMIN. R. 24:43:11:02, 24:43:11:04, 24:43:11:05, S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-33-19; College admissions requirements: South Dakota Board of Regents Policy Manual, Number 2:3

Tennessee
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Students who have taken the equivalent of high school level courses may meet course requirements in accordance with local board of education policies permitting credit by [written] examination." However, "high school credit may not be given by examination in American History." Local boards may also adopt policies allowing students to earn up to 2 units "for out-of-school experiences which are not work-based learning. Such policies shall conform to the Guide for Out-of-School Experiences when developed by the Department of Education and approved by the State Board of Education." "A student who completes an approved supervised occupational education program consisting of at least 180 hours will be given one-half credit as an out-of-school experience."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: TENN. COMP. R. & REGS. 0520-1-3-.06
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: TENN. COMP. R. & REGS. 0520-1-3-.05 and -.06; College admissions requirements: Rules of Tennessee Higher Education Commission section 1540-1-2-.12

Texas
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. All students must complete the "recommended" or "advanced" diploma requirements unless the student, student's parent and a school counselor or administrator "agree that the student should be permitted to take courses under the minimum high school program."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "A parent is entitled to: ... request, with the expectation that the request will not be unreasonably denied; ... that the parent's child be permitted to graduate from high school earlier than the child would normally graduate, if the child completes each course required for graduation; and ... have a child who graduates early ... participate in graduation ceremonies at the time the child graduates." In addition, districts may offer courses for grades 9-12 in earlier grade levels.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student in grades 6-12 must be awarded credit for a subject in which the student has not had prior instruction if the student scores 90% or higher on a criterion-referenced test for the course. Awarding of credit by exam must be noted on the student's transcript. "In accordance with local school district policy, a student in any of Grades 6-12 may be given credit for an academic subject in which he or she had some prior instruction, if the student scores 70% on a criterion-referenced test for the applicable course." "A course must be considered completed and credit must be awarded if the student has demonstrated achievement by meeting the standard requirements of the course, including demonstrated proficiency in the subject matter, regardless of the time the student has received instruction in the course or the grade level at which proficiency was attained."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 28.025
Early graduation: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 26.003; 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.26
Proficiency-based credit: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 28.023; 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.24, 74.26
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.42 through .44, § 74.52 through .54, § 74.61 through .64; College admissions requirements: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 51.803-51.805

Utah
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. A personalized student education plan (SEP) or student education/occupation plan (SEOP) must be developed for each student. An SEOP is defined as a developmentally organized intervention process that includes (1) a written plan, updated annually for a grade 9-12 student's education and occupational preparation; (2) all state and local graduation requirements; (3) evidence of annual parental, student and school representative involvement; (4) attainment of approved workplace skill competencies, including job placement when appropriate; and (5) identification of postsecondary goals and approved sequence of courses. SEOP plans must be completed before a student begins grade 9. A student's career/technical education program is driven by his/her SEOP.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. A student who has completed or proven proficiency in required skills "may, with the approval of the student, the student's parent or guardian, and an authorized local school official, graduate at any time." Students are to notify the principal of their intent to graduate early "at the beginning of the ninth grade year or as soon thereafter as the intent is known." Utah encourages students to complete high school early through the Centennial Scholarship for Early Graduation, which gives a scholarship to students who complete high school before the end of grade 12.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Students may demonstrate competency to satisfy course requirements...." According to statute, "Any secondary public school student who has completed all required courses or demonstrated mastery of required skills and competencies may, with the approval of the student, the student's parent or guardian, and an authorized local school official, graduate at any time." Regulations define "Demonstrated competence" as "subject mastery as determined by school district standards and review. School district review may include such methods and documentation as: tests, interviews, peer evaluations, writing samples, reports or portfolios." Students may complete units of credit by demonstrated competence and/or assessment, "as determined by the school district or school" and/or "review of student work or projects consistent with school district or school procedures and criteria.... School districts or schools shall designate by written policy at least three methods by which students of the district may earn credit." The state board provides additional information about options for demonstrating proficiency via assessment in UTAH ADMIN. CODE R277-703-3 Effective with the Class of 2008, districts and the department of education will collaborate to develop course descriptions for required and elective courses, "with opportunity for public and parental participation in the development process." These descriptions must include "mastery criteria for the courses, and shall stress mastery of the course material and Core objectives and standards rather than completion of predetermined time allotments for courses."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Learning plan: UTAH CODE ANN. § 53A-1a-106(2)(b); UTAH ADMIN. CODE R277-462-1(I), -4, R277-518-1(A), R277-700-1(Q)
Early graduation: UTAH. ADMIN. CODE R277-703; UTAH CODE ANN. § 53A-15-101 and -102
Proficiency-based credit: UTAH ADMIN. CODE R277-700-7, 277-705-1 and -3, 703-3; UTAH CODE ANN. § 53A-15-102
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: UTAH ADMIN. CODE R277-700-6; College admissions requirements: Utah State Board of Regents R 461-3.2

Vermont
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Local boards must allow any high school student who has met all academic requirements for graduation to graduate in less than four years.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Effective June 2005, a student meets the requirements for graduation if, at the election of each secondary school board: (1) the student demonstrates that he or she has attained or exceeded the standards contained in the Framework or comparable standards as measured by results on performance based assessments, plus any additional requirements established by the school board; or (2) the student has successfully completed at least 20 Carnegie units, including at least the following courses of instruction aligned with the Framework or comparable standards: (A) four years of English language arts, (B) three years of science, (C) three years of mathematics, (D) three years of history and the social sciences, (E) one year of the arts, and (F) one and one-half years of physical education; and any additional requirements established by the school board that demonstrate that students have attained or exceeded the Framework or comparable standards or other requirements set by the board; or (3) any combination of 1 and 2 above that demonstrates that students have attained or exceeded the Framework or comparable standards."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 16, § 563
Proficiency-based credit: VT. CODE R. 2120.8.2.1
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: Vt. Code R. 2120.8.2.1; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

Virginia
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. The state board is required to "Establish a procedure to facilitate the acceleration of students that allows qualified students, with the recommendation of the division superintendent, without completing the 140-hour class, to obtain credit for such class upon demonstration of mastery of the course content and objectives. Having received credit for the course, the student shall be permitted to sit for the relevant Standards of Learning assessment and, upon receiving a passing score, shall earn a verified credit. Nothing in this section shall preclude relevant school division personnel from enforcing compulsory attendance in public schools...."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: VA. CODE ANN. § 22.1-253.13:4
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 8 VA. ADMIN. CODE § 20-131-50; College admissions requirements: VA. CODE ANN. § 23-9.6:1

Virgin Islands
Planning and Counseling Requirement
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements

Washington
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, eff. Class of 2008. All students must adopt a "high school and beyond plan," "an education plan for their high school experience, including what they expect to do the year following graduation."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "A district may not adopt any policy which requires enrollment for either (a) a minimum number of semesters or trimesters or (b) a minimum number of courses in a semester or trimester which exceeds the enrollment time or courses necessary for a student to meet established course, credit, and test requirements for high school graduation." Statute also requires school district plans to include "how accelerated learning plans are developed and implemented for participating students" and allows such plans to be developed "for achieving state high school graduation standards...."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. High school credit may mean "Satisfactory demonstration by a student of clearly identified competencies established pursuant to a process defined in written district policy. Districts are strongly advised to confirm with the higher education coordinating board that the award of competency-based high school credit meets the minimum college core admissions standards set by the higher education coordinating board for admission into a public, baccalaureate institution.... The state board of education shall notify the state board for community and technical colleges and the higher education coordinating board of any school or school district that awards high school credit" for demonstrated proficiency. In addition, local boards are required to "adopt written policies providing for the granting of high school graduation credit for alternative learning experiences, nonhigh school courses, work experience, and challenges. High school credits may be given for ... [c]redit based on competency testing, in lieu of enrollment or taking specific courses, may be granted by the district."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No. However, "Any middle school, junior high school, or high school using educational pathways shall ensure that all participating students will continue to have access to the courses and instruction necessary to meet admission requirements at baccalaureate institutions. Students shall be allowed to enter the educational pathway of their choice. Before accepting a student into an educational pathway, the school shall inform the student's parent of the pathway chosen, the opportunities available to the student through the pathway, and the career objectives the student will have exposure to while pursuing the pathway. Parents and students dissatisfied with the opportunities available through the selected educational pathway shall be provided with the opportunity to transfer the student to any other pathway provided in the school. Schools may not develop educational pathways that retain students in high school beyond the date they are eligible to graduate, and may not require students who transfer between pathways to complete pathway requirements beyond the date the student is eligible to graduate. Educational pathways may include, but are not limited to, programs such as work-based learning, school-to-work transition, tech prep, vocational-technical education, running start, and preparation for technical college, community college, or university education." The state board "strongly encourages districts to: ... Emphasize the integration of academic and vocational education in educational pathways...."
Sources Learning plan: WASH. ADMIN. CODE § 180-51-061
Early graduation: WASH. ADMIN. CODE § 180-51-020; WASH. REV. CODE. ANN. § 28A.165.025
Proficiency-based credit: WASH. ADMIN. CODE § 180-51-050, 180-51-110
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: WASH. ADMIN. CODE 180-51-060, § 28A.655.061; College admissions requirements: Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board Web site
Major: WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 28A.600.160; 180-51-003

West Virginia
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "An Individualized Student Transition Plan (hereinafter ISTP) covering grades 9-12 and the first year beyond graduation from high school is developed for every student in consultation with her/his parents/guardian and school counselor or advisor.
(a) a. During the 8th grade year, each student's ISTP plan is developed for grades 9 and 10. The ISTP is based upon previous career awareness, exploration activities, and a review of the student's ACT EXPLORE results. The 8th grade guidance/advisement program will focus on teaching students and their parents to read the ACT EXPLORE student reports so that they may understand how to use the information provided within the Educational Planning and Assessment System (hereinafter EPAS) reports to transition to the level of performance required to meet the student’s educational goals.
b. Each student, in consultation with his or her parents/guardian and school counselor or advisor, selects a broad career cluster for exploration in grades nine and ten and develops the ISTP based upon the choice of a career cluster. The student shall designate an educational pathway (professional or skilled) at this time. The student may amend his/her ISTP at the end of any semester.
c. For an eligible gifted student, a four-year education plan is developed during the 8th grade year by an IEP Team. The four-year education plan replaces the ISTP and includes the honors and Advanced Placement (hereinafter AP) and/or (International Baccalaureate (hereinafter IB) classes that must be provided for the student in grades 9-12.
d. For eligible students with disabilities the ISTP is developed during the 8th grade by an IEP Team.
e. The parent(s)/guardian and student each sign and receive a copy of the ISTP.
f. Students will designate a concentration by the end of their 10th grade year."
Notes/Citation: In addition, the state defines a "planned educational program" as "as an educational program that includes the state requirements for graduation as set forth in this document. The program places emphasis on preparation for college, advanced vocational programs, and/or employment.Students shall be encouraged to plan and follow a flexible, planned educational program and to accumulate units beyond the 21 required for graduation. The student's planned program shall be subject to periodic revision and designed to enhance the opportunity for success in chosen endeavors after graduation from high school."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Local boards must develop and implement policies defining "the compelling circumstances under which students may attend school for fewer than four full years and/or may be scheduled for courses for less than the full instructional day." Such policies must be approved by the state board of education.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Credit is to be awarded based upon either demonstrated mastery of the content standards and objectives" through course completion or "tested mastery of approved content standards." Local boards must "determine the level of mastery which constitutes successful completion of a course. Students demonstrating mastery of instructional grade level objectives in the subjects are to be provided the opportunity to advance to the next grade level objectives." "County boards of education may adopt tests based on but not limited to learning objectives which will allow a student to test out of specific required units or prerequisite electives. Any tests adopted must have approval of the West Virginia Department of Education. A student who tests out of an area of study is expected to complete 21 additional units in grades 9-12. The student's permanent record shall indicate completion of the area of study through testing. County boards of education may develop policies and procedures by which students can test out of required units or prerequisite electives."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No

Notes/Citation: Effective with the Class of 2008, the "professional pathway" diploma option will be aligned with college admission requirements in the state.

All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes. "Prior to the end of their 10th grade year, each student shall develop, after review of the student’s ACT PLAN results, and in consultation with her/his parent/guardian(s) and school counselor or advisor, the second phase of the ISTP [Individualized Student Transition Plan]. Each student shall select a high school concentration that will prepare the student for college, other post-secondary education, and gainful employment. The ISTP may be amended and/or the concentration changed at the end of any semester."
Notes/Citation: Prior to students selecting concentrations, opportunities for career decision making must be provided." "The certificates of proficiency shall include specific information regarding the graduate's skills, competence and readiness for employment or honors and advanced education and shall be granted, along with the diploma, to every eligible high school graduate. The certificate of proficiency shall include the program of study major completed by the student only for those students who have completed the required major courses, or higher level courses, advanced placement courses, college courses or other more rigorous substitutes related to the major, and the recommended electives." "[I]nformation on student attainment of special skills, honors, advanced education, exceptional performance and other outstanding accomplishments shall be included on the certificate of proficiency granted to eligible high school graduates along with the diploma...."
Sources Learning plan: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-42-5
Early graduation: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-30-3; W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-42-6
Proficiency-based credit: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-30-3
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-42-6; College admissions requirements: West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Procedural Rule, § 133-23-3
Pathway: W. VA. CODE ST. R. § 126-42-6; W. VA. CODE. ANN. § 18-2-6, 18-2E-8a, -8d

Wisconsin
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student who was enrolled in an alternative education program and who has not completed the state-specified unit requirements may receive a diploma if the local board determines that the student "has demonstrated a level of proficiency in the subjects" specified in statute "equivalent to that which he or she would have attained if he or she had" taken such courses.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: WIS. STAT. § 118.33
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: WIS. STAT. ANN. § 118.33, WIS. ADMIN. CODE § 18.03; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, University of Wisconsin System Regent Policy Document 72-11

Wyoming
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Graduation standards in English, math, science and social studies may be completed "by passing grades or by the successful performance on competency-based equivalency examinations...."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: WYO. STAT. ANN. § 21-2-304; WY Rules and Regulations EDU GEN Ch. 31 s 9
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: WYO. STAT. ANN. § 21-2-304, WY Rules and Regulations EDU GEN Ch. 31 s 9; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, University of Wyoming Web site

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