Standard High School Graduation Requirements

Standard High School Graduation Requirements


The information below describes state high school graduation requirements as defined by state statutes and regulations. These requirements should be understood to show minimum course requirements, in that local boards may adopt graduation requirements above and beyond those mandated by the state. Policies reflect courses to be completed and do not include exit exam requirements. This database indicates where state policy specifies courses that may or must be completed to earn subject area credit.

With the exception of Nebraska and New Jersey, required coursework is expressed in Carnegie units, with one unit reflecting one year of coursework. Units defined in Idaho and Indiana policy have been translated from half-year to full-year units to maintain consistency. Exceptions and other circumstances related to completing high school graduation course requirements are included in the "Technical Notes and Citations" field at the end of each state's report. Subject area fields with a --- indicate that the state does not set course requirements for that subject. Where the number of state-mandated units in specific subjects falls below the total number of state-mandated units, this difference is indicated in the "total units" field rather than the "electives" field to reflect local districts' option to increase unit requirements in subject areas.

This information was gathered in January to August 2005 and is updated as new policies are enacted.

Last update: March 23, 2007

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


Connecticut

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4
Eff. Class of 2018: 4

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2018: Must incl. composition. In addition, students must complete 1 unit in a "humanities elective", which may be an English course.

Math units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2018: 4, incl. Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II or probability and statistics

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2018: In addition, students must complete 1 unit "in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics elective", which may be a math course.

Social studies units (Std.) 3 (see notes)
Eff. Class of 2018: 3 (see notes)

Notes/Citation: Pre-Class of 2018: Must incl. at least .5 unit on civics and American government. Eff. Class of 2018: Must incl. 1 unit American history and .5 unit civics and American government. In addition, students must complete 1 unit in a "humanities elective", which may be a social studies course.
Science units (Std.) 2
Eff. Class of 2018: 3, incl. at least 1 unit each in life science and physical science

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2018: In addition, students must complete 1 unit "in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics elective", which may be a science course.

P.E./Health units (Std.) 1
Eff. Class of 2018: 1.5

Notes/Citation: Pre-Class of 2018: 1 unit p.e. Eff. Class of 2018: 1 unit p.e. and .5 unit health and safety education

Arts (Std.) See notes
Eff. Class of 2018: 1

Notes/Citation: Pre-Class of 2018: 1 unit in arts or vocational education. Eff. Class of 2018: 1 unit fine arts. In addition, students must complete 1 unit in a "humanities elective", which may be an arts course.

Foreign language (Std.) 0
Eff. Class of 2018: 2

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2018: This may be fulfilled by a course completed in grades 6-8, through online coursework, or through privately-offered instruction, as long as the student passes an exam prescribed by the commissioner of education.

Electives units (Std.) 0
Other units (Std.) 1 (in arts or vocational education). See notes
Eff. Class of 2018: 2 credits in "career and life skills electives"

Notes/Citation: Local board may offer .5 unit of community service which may quality for high school graduation credit under specified circumstances. Eff. Class of 2018, students must complete 1 unit "in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics elective". Examples of "career and life skills electives" specified in legislation include career and technical education, English as a second language, community service, personal finance, public speaking, adn nutrition and physical activity.
TOTAL # units (Std.) 20
Eff. Class of 2018: 25

Notes/Citation: Pre-Class of 2018: 14 state-determined units and 6 district-determined requirements or electives. Eff. Class of 2018: 23.5 state-determined units and 1.5 district determined requirements or electives.

Other diploma options State does not offer honors/college prep or technical diploma option, but does provide a certificate of completion for students who finish a Connecticut career certificate program. State has policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) Eff. Class of 2018, students must also complete a 1-credit senior demonstration project or its equivalent, as approved by the state board of education.
CONN. GEN. STAT. § 10-221a
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

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