Alabama High School Graduation Requirements
Alabama’s High School Diploma - Proposal
New research shows that students who take more rigorous courses are significantly more likely to succeed in postsecondary education and the workplace than other students. In order to provide
• In 2000, the Alabama State Board of Education approved the Alternate Adult High School Diploma as a graduation diploma option. In order to provide students who previously received this diploma with an opportunity to receive an Alabama High School Diploma, it is proposed that an additional endorsement, Credit-Based, be created for the Alabama High School Diploma. The proposed recommendation would eliminate the separate designation of Alternate Adult High School Diploma (GED-based). This would decrease the number of separate high school diplomas from three to two as follows:
1) Alabama High School Diploma with or without the following endorsements:
a) Advanced Academic Endorsement – Standard or Advanced Academic Endorsement and Advanced Career Technical Endorsement (dual endorsement) (students can opt out with parent signature or IEP).
b) Advanced Career Technical Endorsement
c) Career Technical Endorsement
d) Credit-Based Endorsement—General education students and students with disabilities will complete the required credits in the core curriculum for an Alabama diploma, earn one additional Career/Technical Education credit, take the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE) each time offered through the twelfth grade, and pass three of the five sections of the AHSGE. Two of the three sections passed must be reading and math.
• Beginning with the freshman class of 2009-2010,
required to complete one distance-learning course. An exception through the IEP
would be allowed.
• Additional support would be provided for LEAs allowing students to demonstrate
mastery of the technology education one-half credit requirement for graduation.
If adopted by the Alabama State Board of Education, under this proposal the Alabama High School Diploma with the Advanced Academic Endorsement would become the standard diploma. The Alabama High School Diploma with or without the Advanced Academic Endorsement will both continue to adhere to the requirements of the 4x4 curriculum that requires student to pass four credits of coursework in math, science, English language arts and social studies for each year of high school for a total of 16 total credits. Under the new proposal all students would also be required to take one distance-learning course (exception through IEP).
Let’s take a look at the first of the two differences between the Advanced Academic Endorsement option and all other endorsement options. The 4x4 curriculum requires four credits in math. The first two courses, Algebra I and Geometry, are required of all diploma options, Advanced or not. The Advanced Endorsement gets more rigorous in the next two credits. For the Advanced Endorsement, the remaining two math credits required by the 4x4 curriculum must include Algebra II and Trigonometry and one other credit in math that can be selected from a list of coursework. All other endorsements require the remaining two math credits, but in less rigorous coursework.
The second difference with the Advanced Academic Endorsement requires two credits of a foreign language in the same language. The foreign language requirement may be obtained through distance-learning courses.
With the addition of the foreign language requirements for the Advanced Academic Endorsement, students pursuing this option will only have 3.5 credits for electives as compared to 5.5 electives with a non-advanced endorsement. Advanced Placement courses (college level courses) and Honors courses will also suffice as meeting the more rigorous coursework required for the Advanced Academic Endorsement. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Honors courses are local options.
Implement Credit Recovery
• Credit recovery would provide course-specific, skill-based opportunities for students who have not mastered a specific part of a course. This would allow students to demonstrate competency on that segment of the course and receive course credit or earn promotion.
• LEAs would be required to develop program rules, regulations, and processes that meet State Department of Education (SDE) guidelines.
• Credit recovery study is based on deficiencies rather than a repeat of the entire course. This policy would encourage LEAs to provide remedial assistance to students as soon as possible following failure in specific competencies.
• The policy would provide students who might fail the entire course because of lack of knowledge of specific competencies with an opportunity to graduate from high school on time, thus keeping more of
• Effective date: Fall 2009 or earlier, upon approval.
Increase Academic Flexibility
• The Carnegie unit was developed in 1906 as a measure of the amount of time a student has studied a subject. In the past, a total of 140 hours in one subject—meeting four or five times a week for 40 to 60 minutes, for 36 to 40 weeks each year—earned the student one "unit" of high school credit. The current block scheduling option is also based on 140 hours of “seat time.”
• In-school and extra-school educational opportunities now available for students—online courses, for example—allow LEAs to provide students with a number of alternatives to “seat time” as a measure of learning. Participating LEAs may choose to use the 140-hour criteria or to offer students methods demonstrating mastery of course of study content standards other than the previously required 140 hours.
• Effective date: Fall 2009, or earlier upon approval.
The First Choice Brochure explains all of the above information in a brochure format: