FCPS requires a minimum of 25 credits to graduate. This includes the minimum 21 credits beyond the 8th grade that the Maryland State Board of Education requires and 4 additional credits that FCPS requires: 1 in math and 3 career pathway credits. Credit requirements are outlined in the chart to the right.
The Maryland State Department of Education requires state-level, end-of-course exams aimed at raising academic standards and preparing students to compete in the workplace and post-secondary education. These requirements were updated in the fall of 2016. Our state’s transition to new assessments in Algebra I and English 10 and a pending change to the state’s Biology assessment prompted the new requirements. The transition to the new graduation requirements may seem confusing because some requirements are no longer based on the year a student entered 9th grade and some of the assessments require passing scores that will increase incrementally over the next four years.
Despite recent changes, a student must still meet certain graduation assessment requirements in four content areas—Algebra 1, English 10, Government and Science. The following guidelines will assist in determining whether a student has met them.
English 10 and Algebra I
- Students who took the Algebra I or English 10 High School Assessment (HSA) exams or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams during the 2015-2016 school year or earlier have met the assessment graduation requirements by simply taking the assessment, regardless of the score earned.
- Students who are graduating in school years 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 and who are first-time test takers of English 10 or Algebra I in those school years must take the assessment but are exempt from obtaining a passing score or completing a bridge program in either content area.
- Students graduating after the 2017-2018 school year who take the English 10 or Algebra I PARCC exam for the first time this school year (2016-2017) will be required to pass the exams and meet an established cut score. The cut score for each student will correspond with the year they first take the English 10 or Algebra I exam as follows:
|Fine Arts (Music, Art, Drama)||1|
|Choose one of the following:|
|State-Approved Career and
|Electives from student’s career pathway** (including 1/2 credit in Personal Financial Literacy)||3|
*In the same language
** The FCPS High School Planning Guide lists career pathways, and the Course Offerings Guide has detailed course information.
***Math or a related approved course must be taken each year of high school.
- For SY 2016-2017, a score of 725;
- For SY 2017-2018, a score of 733;
- For SY 2018-2019, a score of 741;
- For SY 2019-2020, and beyond, score of 750
- To reiterate, for any student who must take a re-test in English 10 and/or Algebra I, the passing score on the re-test will be the passing score from the year in which the student first takes the assessment.
- Students who have passing scores on the old Algebra I or English 10 HSA exams may continue to use these scores (combined scores) to offset a lower failing score in Government.
- There is no current plan to allow students to use higher passing scores (combined scores) on PARCC English 10 or Algebra I to offset lower failing scores in Government.
The HSA in Biology was administered for the last time during the 2016-2017 school year. Students who took the course for the first time last year or students who had not yet passed biology were required to take the assessment during the last school year in order to meet graduation assessment requirements. Students met the requirement by simply taking the assessment, regardless of the score earned. Students who had passing scores on the HSA in Biology were permitted to continue to use the combined score option to offset a lower failing score in Government. Students were also able to use the Biology Bridge Program to meet graduation assessment requirements, provided they discussed this option with the school counselor.
Students who entered the 9th grade during or after the 2013-2014 school year are required to pass the HSA in Government with a 394 cut score.
Students who earned passing scores on any of the old HSA exams were permitted last year to continue to use the combined score options to offset a lower failing score in Government.
Students are permitted to use the Government Bridge Program to meet graduation assessment requirements. Maryland’s Bridge Program is an alternative for some students who are unable to pass the exams despite receiving additional support. Students should discuss this option with the school counselor.
Access the COMAR language directly here (Adobe PDF File, opens in new window)
If you have questions pertaining to your child’s graduation assessment requirements, please contact your child’s school counselor.
Students who excel are eligible for a number of FCPS and Maryland graduation honors. Find out more here (Adobe PDF File, opens in new window)