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.


Michigan

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: 4
Math units (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: 4, incl. Algebra I, II, geometry
Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2011: 4th unit chosen from trigonometry, statistics, precalculus, calculus, applied math, accounting, business math or retake of Algebra II. All students must take 1 math course during senior year of high school. Per parental request and counselor approval, student may complete "personal curriculum" with modified math requirements, but only after student has completed 2.5 units math and if student completes 3.5 units math before graduation, including 1 unit during senior year of high school.
Social studies units (Std.) .5 (see notes)
Eff. Class of 2011: 3
Notes/Citation: Pre-2011: Students must complete .5 unit civics instruction, which must include "the form and functions of the federal, state, and local governments and shall stress the rights and responsibilities of citizens." Eff. Class of 2011: 1 U.S. history and geography, 1 world history and geography, .5 economics, and civics course. "Personal curriculum" may include modified social studies requirements only if student has completed 2 units social studies, including civics course and modification requires student to complete additional unit English, math, science or foreign language.
Science units (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: 3 lab, incl. biology and chemistry or physics

Notes/Citation: 4th unit science strongly encouraged but not required

P.E./Health units (Std.) See notes
Eff. Class of 2011: 1
Notes/Citation: Pre- and eff. 2011: Every public school student "who is physically fit and capable of doing so shall take the course in physical education." Eff. Class of 2011: 1 unit health/p.e. This requirement may be modified as part of "personal curriculum" if student completes add'l unit English, math, science or foreign language.
Arts (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: See notes

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2011: 1 unit visual, performing or applied arts. This requirement may be modified as part of "personal curriculum" if student completes add'l unit English, math, science or foreign language.

Foreign language (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2016: 2
Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2016: American sign language defined as foreign language. May be completed by course work or "other learning experiences" in grades K-12 equivalent to 2 units foreign language, and may be completed wholly or partially through online course work.
Electives units (Std.) --
Other units (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: See notes

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2011: 1 unit visual, performing or applied arts. This requirement may be modified as part of "personal curriculum" if student completes add'l unit English, math, science or foreign language.

TOTAL # units (Std.) --
Eff. Class of 2011: 16
Eff. Class of 2016: 18
Other diploma options State does not offer differentiated diploma pathways. State has policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) Pre-2011: High school graduation requirements set by local boards. Eff. Class of 2011: The new graduation requirements are referred to as the Michigan merit standard. A parent may request that their child complete modified graduation requirements, although the English and science requirements may not be modified, and math requirements may be modified only according to specific parameters. All students must complete an online course or learning experience. The superintendent of public instruction may designate up to 15 high schools as "specialty high schools." Specialty high schools must meet specified criteria, including that a significant reading and writing component is incorporated throughout the curriculum and the school "uses a specialized, innovative, and rigorous curriculum in such areas as performing arts, foreign language, extensive use of internships, or other learning innovations that conform to pioneering innovations among other leading national or international high schools." If a speciality high school, subsequent to identification as such, fails to meet specified standards, the high school will lose special designation. A district unable to meet a curricular requirement for students entering grade 9 in 2007 may apply to the department for permission to phase in 1 or more requirements.
MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 380.1157b, 380.1166, 380.1278, 380.1278a, 380.1278b, 380.1279, 380.1279b, 380.1279e, 380.1502, 388.1704a, 388.1907
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

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