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.


South Dakota

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4

Notes/Citation: Must include 1.5 units writing; 1.5 units literature, including .5 unit American literature; and .5 unit speech. Eff. Class of 2010: Same as existing requirements, both for Standard and Advanced diploma.

Math units (Std.) 3, incl. 1 unit Algebra I or higher.
Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced program: 3, incl. Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry. Standard: 3, incl. Algebra I.

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2010: All students must complete Advanced high school program unless excused by parent/guardian and school counselor or school administrator, in which case the Standard high school program requirements must be fulfilled.

Social studies units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced program: 3; Standard: same as Advanced program

Notes/Citation: Pre-2010: Must include 1 unit U.S. history; .5 unit U.S. government; .5 unit geography. Eff. Class of 2010: For both diplomas: Requirements same as existing plus .5 unit world history.

Science units (Std.) 2 units lab science
Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced program: 3 units lab science, incl. biology and chemistry or physics. Standard: 2 units lab science
P.E./Health units (Std.) 0
Eff. Class of 2010: .5

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2010: .5 unit unit health or physical education, both for Advanced and Standard programs.

Arts (Std.) 1

Notes/Citation: Pre- and post-2010: 1 unit fine arts.

Foreign language (Std.) 0
Eff. Class of 2010: See notes

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced and Standard programs: Students must choose 2 units, with any combination of world language, computer studies, approved career and technical education courses, or additional math or science courses.

Electives units (Std.) 8.5
Eff. Class of 2010: 6 or 5 (see notes)

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced and Standard programs require 5 and 6 units electives, respectively.

Other units (Std.) See notes

Notes/Citation: .5 unit laboratory computer studies. Eff. Class of 2010: Advanced program and Standard program: .5 unit economics or personal finance. 2 units "required offerings" – students select any combination of world language, computer studies, approved career and technical education courses, or additional math or science courses.
TOTAL # units (Std.) 22
Eff. Class of 2010: 22

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2010: 22 units required for both Advanced and Standard diploma.

Other diploma options State will offer honors/college prep curriculum option effective with the Class of 2010. State does not offer technical diploma option or proficiency-based credit option.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) Eff. Class of 2010: All students must complete the Advanced graduation requirements unless excused by a process set forth in statute. The "Advanced" diploma is referred to as "recommended" in statute; the "Standard" diploma is referred to as "basic" in statute. Student transcripts reflect if a student completed the Advanced high school program. "Both programs shall include a rigorous high school curriculum..."
S.D. ADMIN. R. 24:43:01:01, 24:43:11:01 through 24:43:11:06; S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-33-19, § 13-1-12.1, 13-33-4
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

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