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Series 602.4AR - Requirements for Graduation

Adopted: April 1978
Revised: February 2016

1. High School Credit Requirements

1.1 Students must satisfactorily complete 66 credits of course work at the high school level, grades 9-12 inclusively, to be eligible for high school graduation, as specified below. (Details of these requirements are published in high school registration guides.)

1.1.1 Language Arts – four years (12 credits);

1.1.2 Social Studies (encompassing U.S. history, geography, world history, economics and government/citizenship) – four years (12 credits);

1.1.3 Science (including one year of biology; one year of chemistry or physics, and one year of a science elective) – three years (nine credits);

1.1.4 Mathematics (including an algebra II credit or its equivalent) – three years (nine credits), and an algebra I course by the end of 8th grade.

1.1.5 Other – 24 credits, including required courses in the arts, health, safety education and physical education. (No more than 12 credits of instrumental and/or vocal music may be applied toward fulfillment of the graduation requirements.)

1.1.5.1 Art – one course (one credit);

1.1.5.2 Health – two courses (two credits);

1.1.5.3 Safety Education – one course (one credit);

1.1.5.3.1 Students will receive a waiver for Safety Education if they present the school with documentation that they have received CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification and a driver’s permit or license.

1.1.5.3.2 Students will receive a waiver and credit for Safety Education if they present the school with documentation that they have received CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification and a driver’s permit or license, and follow the “credit by assessment process” described in section 1.2.4 below.

1.1.5.4 Physical Education – four courses (four credits), and

1.1.5.5 The School Board strongly encourages all students to enroll in a course on family life education.

1.2 Course Credit by Assessment – Students may receive credit for one or more required or elective courses through an assessment process.

1.2.1 A student may not attempt to receive credit by assessment for a course if:

1.2.1.1 The student has previously attempted to receive credit by assessment for that course;

1.2.1.2 The student has been previously enrolled in that course, or

1.2.1.3 The student does not maintain his or her full-time status in the school.

1.2.2 A student who wants to receive credit by assessment for sequential courses must do so in sequence.

1.2.3 A student who wants to receive credit by assessment for a course which has a prerequisite must first satisfactorily complete or receive credit by assessment for the prerequisite course.

1.2.4 To receive credit by assessment for a course, a student must go through the following process:

1.2.4.1 Discuss the request with a counselor;

1.2.4.2 Complete Procedure 602.4P, Course Credit by Assessment: Application for Testing Out of a Course, and turn it in to the high school counseling office at least one full trimester (or quarter) before the beginning of the course, and

1.2.4.3 Satisfactorily complete the required assessment for the course within the specified time line.

1.2.5 When a student applies to receive credit by assessment for a particular course, the requirements for awarding the credit will be established. Once the credit requirements have been established for a particular course, those same requirements will be used if and when other students request credit by assessment for the same course.

2.    College and Career Readiness

2.1 Students in grades 11 and 12 must be offered an opportunity to participate in a nationally recognized college entrance exam on a school day.

2.2 Grade 11 special education students meeting certain criteria must be offered the opportunity to participate in the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS).  

3. Reporting and Notification to Parents, Guardians and Students

3.1 Graduation Requirements – No later than 30 working days after the date a student enters grade 9 or transfers into the district during or after grade 9, the district will provide the student and his or her parents or guardians with written notice on the following:

3.1.1 Graduation requirements;

3.1.2 Exploration and planning activities for career interest or postsecondary education;

3.1.2 Monitoring student’s development of and growth in career and college readiness, and

3.1.3 The opportunity for students to participate in a nationally recognized college entrance exam on a school day.

3.2 Assessment Results – No later than 90 days after a student takes a college entrance exam, the district will provide the student and his or her parent or guardian with written notice of the college entrance exam results.

4. Recordkeeping - The district will keep a record on each student that includes the college entrance exam taken and the results. Individual student progress will be reported on the record as follows:

4.1.1 For a student who takes a college entrance exam under standard conditions or with an accommodation, and

4.1.2 For a student who passes an MTAS with a modification established in an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 accommodation plan (504 Plan).

5. Students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or a Section 504 Accommodation Plan (504 Plan)

5.1 The child study or Section 504 team will address the graduation requirements for students with an IEP and/or a Section 504 accommodation plan beginning in grade 9, in accordance with Minnesota Statute 120B.024, Graduation requirements; course credits.

5.2 A student with an IEP or a Section 504 accommodation plan will be granted a high school diploma that is identical to the diploma granted other students once he or she satisfactorily completes the following items, as specified in his or her IEP or Section 504 accommodation plan developed by the IEP or Section 504 team:

5.2.1 Those classes that regular education students need to attain a high school diploma that are appropriate and attainable by the student with an IEP or Section 504 accommodation plan, and

5.2.4 Meets the individualized requirements for graduation outlined in the IEP or 504 plan.

5.3 Students with an IEP will receive credit for special education instruction. Credit substitution will be specified in the IEP.

6. English Learners (EL)

6.1 Generally speaking, students enrolled in EL may receive a regular English credit for one EL course per term. Students earn elective credit for other EL courses taken during that term. This practice encourages more proficient English learners to earn at least part of their English requirement through non-EL English courses.

6.2 Exceptions are made based on the English proficiency of the learner; for example, students arriving as non-English speakers in grade 8 or later, may earn more than one English credit per term, possibly meeting all of their English requirement through EL courses. Exceptions are made at the discretion of EL and counseling staff.

7. Work Experience Students

7.1 Students in grades 11 and 12 enrolled in work experience programs will receive one credit per trimester or quarter for successful completion of the seminar. Students receive a maximum of two credits per trimester or quarter for work during school hours spent in an on-the-job training program.

7.2 Students enrolled in work experience programs must meet all graduation requirements for their grade level. Students enrolled in a work experience program must take no less than three required subjects each trimester or quarter (exclusive of seminar). This does not include elective credits.

8. Summer School – A maximum of four credits per year earned in District 196 summer school may be used to meet the graduation requirements.

9. Transfer Students – A student who transfers into District 196 will be expected to meet graduation requirements beginning with the date of entrance.

9.1 Course Credits – All passed course credits earned at previously attended public schools will be accepted by District 196 as part of the student’s requirement to successfully complete 66 credits, as described in section 1, above.

9.1.1 District 196 will attempt to determine the content of courses, programs and other educational experiences to credit the student as fully as possible for previous learning. This determination may include asking the student or the sending institution to verify the content of completed courses and programs when it is not clear from the transcript or other             documentation.

9.2 Nonpublic and Home School Course Credits – When a nonpublic or home school student transfers to District 196, credits will be evaluated by the principal or designee.

9.2.1 If the nonpublic and home schools are accredited by a Minnesota-recognized accrediting agency, the district will:

9.2.1.1 Accept all credits certified on the transcript;

9.2.1.2 Equate all transferred curriculum and/or course content with District 196 curriculum and/or course content;

9.2.1.3 Accept all letter grades;

9.2.1.4 Accept all standardized testing that fulfills the District 196 requirements for graduation;

9.2.1.5 Compute class rank and grade point average from the student’s transcript, and

9.2.1.6 Require the student to be enrolled in District 196 during the last two quarters/trimesters of his/her senior year in order to receive a District 196 diploma.

9.2.2 If the nonpublic and home schools are not accredited by a Minnesota-recognized accrediting agency, the district will:

9.2.2.1 Review the transcript and attempt to equate all transferred curriculum and/or course content with District 196 curriculum and/or course content;

9.2.2.2 Accept all standardized testing that fulfills the District 196 requirements for graduation;

9.2.2.3 Compute class rank and grade point average only if letter grades have been awarded, and

9.2.2.4 Require the student to be enrolled in District 196 during his/her entire senior year in order to receive a District 196 diploma.

9.2.2.5 Satisfactory documentation of curriculum and/or course content may be required before credit and letter grades will be awarded.

10.   Other Credits

10.1 Correspondence – Elective credits earned through accredited correspondence courses are acceptable when prior arrangements and approval have been granted by the high school principal. Make-up credit will be allowed for seniors who need credit for spring graduation.

10.2 Study Abroad – Credits earned by students studying abroad (e.g., American Field Service [AFS] students) will be evaluated by the high school principal and may be approved and applied to meet graduation requirements.

10.3 Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program – Credits earned through PSEO are acceptable when prior arrangements have been made and approval has been granted by the high school principal.

10.4 ABE (Adult Basic Education) Diploma Program – Credits may be earned from the District 196 ABE Diploma Program by adults aged 21 and over and by students aged 16 to 20 who are eligible under the Minnesota Education Options Program Law. Students receive a diploma from a District 196 high school.

10.4.1 When contacted by a candidate for the program, information about credit needs will be exchanged between the student’s original high school and the ABE Diploma Program. ABE Diploma Program staff will send the appropriate high school principal a student information form, including a request for the following information:

10.4.1.1 Confirmation of support of the student's enrollment in the ABE Diploma Program;

10.4.1.2 Description of credits and basic skills tests needed by the student to complete graduation requirements, and

10.4.1.3 The student’s health record.

10.4.2 For students aged 16 to 20, the counselor at the identified District 196 high school will assess the student’s individual learning plan from the ABE Diploma Program after each seven credits earned by the student.

10.4.3 With approval from the appropriate District 196 high school principal, students may earn credits from the ABE Diploma Program under dual attendance by continuing full-time attendance at their original high school and seeking additional credits in the ABE Diploma Program during flexible study times.

10.4.4 ABE Diploma Program students must adhere to ABE policies regarding attendance, credit and graduation standards requirements, and District 196 policies on student behavior.

11. Graduation Incentives Program – A person may attend a district school, the District 196 Area Learning Center or the ABE Diploma Program as long as he or she meets certain specific requirements. For more information, refer to Administrative Regulation 502.4.2AR, Student Transfers: State Graduation Incentives Program.

References: 

  • Minnesota State Board of Education Rules 3500.3100, Issuance of General Education Development (GED) Diploma
  • Minnesota Statute 120B.02, Educational expectations for Minnesota’s students 
  • Minnesota Statute 120B.021, Required academic standards    
  • Minnesota Statute 120B.024, Graduation requirements; course credits
  • Minnesota Statute 120B.125, Planning for students’ successful transition to post-secondary education and employment
  • Minnesota Statute 120A.24, subd.2, Availability of documentation
  • Minnesota Statute 120B.30, Statewide testing and reporting system
  • Minnesota Statute 123B.445, Minnesota Nonpublic Education Council
  • Minnesota Statute 124D.68, Graduation incentives program                       

Regulation/602.4AR/2-16-16