A high school diploma is a North American academic school leaving qualification awarded upon high school graduation. The high school diploma is typically studied for over the course of four years, from Grade 9 to Grade 12. The diploma is typically awarded by the school in accordance with the requirements of the local state or provincial government. Requirements for earning the diploma vary by jurisdiction, and there may be different requirements for different streams or levels of high school graduation. Typically they include a combination of selected coursework meeting specified criteria for a particular stream and acceptable passing grades earned on the state exit examination.
A United States high school diploma usually refers to the satisfactory completion of grade schooling including kindergarten through the 12th grade and is then issued by the school district and the high school after a student's graduation.
In California, students are required to take, and successfully complete the following minimum requirements to earn a high school diploma: 4 years of English, 2 years of Math including Algebra I, 3 years of History/Social Studies including one year of U.S. history and geography; one year of world history, culture, and geography; one semester of American government and civics, and one semester of economics, 2 years of science including biological and physical sciences, 1 year of either visual and performing arts, foreign language, or career technical education, 2 years of Physical Education, and Beginning in 2005–06, all students must pass the California High School Exit Examination prior to graduation, which is normally first administered in the 10th grade. Most schools' individual graduation requirements far outweigh the state's minimum standards. The California exit exam was suspended till 2018.
This information is taken from the California department of education.
In Illinois, students are required to take English, mathematics, science, social science, world language, fine arts, physical education, and elective classes meeting selected criteria as part of the program of study for the High School Diploma. Electives may include advanced courses, career and technical education (CTE), Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC), dual-enrollment, or additional classes in the required subjects that meet school board requirements. Driver's Education is required for all students. An additional requirement is a passing grade on the Prairie State Achievement Examination which is typically taken in Grade 11.
Accommodations are made for select students with unique needs. English Language Learner (ELL) students may substitute English as a Second Language for English to meet the graduation requirements. Students receiving special education services may complete modified requirements according to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
In New York State, the high school diploma awarded is known as the Regents Diploma, which is earned upon successful completion of the Regents Exams in the required subjects. Two levels are offered: the standard Regents Diploma and the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation. Both diplomas require 22 credits, including 4 credits in English, 4 credits in Social Studies, 3 credits in Math, 3 credits in Science, 0.5 credits in Health, 1 credit in Art or Music, and 2 credits in Physical Education; the Regents Diploma requires 1 credit of Secondary Language and 3.5 credits in Sequence Courses or Electives, while the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation requires 3 credits of Secondary Language and 1.5 credits in Sequence Courses or Electives.
The subjects for which passing grades on the Regents Exams are required for the Regents Diploma include Comprehensive English, any one Mathematics, Global History, US History, any one Science, and Language Other Than English (LOTE). The subjects for which passing grades on the Regents Exams are required for the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation are Comprehensive English, all three Mathematics, Global History, US History, one physical Science, one life Science, and Language Other Than English (LOTE). A passing score is 65 in each subject; the "With Honors" designation is added if the average score in all required exams is 90 or greater. A "Technical Endorsement" is given to students enrolled in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program who additionally complete an approved technical assessment, a work-based learning experience, and a work-skills employability profile.
In Texas, there are three programs offered for graduation: the Minimum High School Program (MHSP), the Recommended High School Program (RHSP), and the Advanced (Distinguished) High School Program (AHSP/DHSP). The Recommended and Distinguished programs are the streams typically chosen by most students, and are expected of students who are college-bound. Also required for graduation is successful completion with passing grades on the Exit Level examination of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which is typically taken in Grade 11. Multiple re-sits for the exam are available, in case of failure on a previous attempt.
Students in the Recommended and Distinguished programs must take four years of English, mathematics, science, and social studies classes as part of their program of study. Students in the Distinguished program must also take a minimum amount of advanced-level coursework, which could include Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes or university classes taken as dual-enrollment. Students in the Minimum program have less stringent requirements to complete their diploma than students in the other diploma programs.
By Texas state law, completion of the Recommended or Distinguished programs or a program with an equivalent curriculum and level of rigor, along with suitable scores on the SAT or the ACT, is required for a student to be eligible to be considered for admission to a four-year public institution of higher education in Texas.
In Alabama, all students are required to earn 24 credits per year. The required are:English (4 credits), Math (4 credits), Science (4 credits), History (4 credits), PE (1 credit), Health (0.5 credits), Career Prep (1 credit), CTE/arts education/Foreign language (3 credits), Electives (2.5 credits).
General Education Development (GED)