Graduation Information

Credit Requirements

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.

Assessment Requirements

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 2017. The state’s transition to new assessments in Algebra 1 and English 10, a change to the state’s Biology assessment, and the elimination of the incremental cut scores prompted the new requirements. Despite these recent changes, a student must still meet graduation assessment requirements in four content areas—Algebra 1, English 10, Government and Science.

The transition may seem confusing because requirements are different for each of the tests and are different depending on when a student took the assessment. The following guidelines will assist in determining whether a student has met each requirement, and new requirements are highlighted in bold below.

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 2017-2018 and who took English 10 or Algebra I for the first time during the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 school years must take the assessment but are exempt from obtaining a passing score or completing a bridge program in either content area.

Credit Requirements

Class Credits
English

4

Social Studies
3
Science 3
Mathematics 4***
Physical Education 1/2
Health 1/2
Fine Arts (Music, Art, Drama) 1
Technology Education 1
Choose one of the following:
Advanced Technology.
      + Electives
2
3
OR
World Language
      + Electives
2*
3
OR
State-Approved Career and 
       Technology Program
        + Elective
4
1
Electives from student’s career pathway** (including 1/2 credit in Personal Financial Literacy) 3
Total Credits 25
*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 any student taking the assessment who is in the 7th through 11th grade during the 2017-2018 school year, the cut score has been set at 725.
  • For any student taking the assessment who is in the 6th grade or below during the 2017-2018 school year, the cut score has been set at 750.
  • A PARCC combined score option is available for students who have taken Algebra 1 or English 10. Students may use a higher passing score on one assessment to offset a lower score on the other exam as long as the combined score is 1450 or higher.
  • There is no current plan to allow students to use passing scores on PARCC English 10 or Algebra I to offset lower failing scores in Government.
  • 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.
  • Students may use the Algebra 1 or English 10 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.

Biology

  • The HSA in Biology was last administered 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 2016-2017 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 earned passing scores on the HSA in Biology may continue to use the combined score option to offset a lower failing score in Government.

Government

  • 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 may continue to use the combined score options to offset a lower failing score in Government.
  • Students may 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.

If you have questions pertaining to your child’s graduation assessment requirements, please contact your child’s school counselor.

Graduation Honors

Students who excel are eligible for a number of FCPS and Maryland graduation honors. Find out more here.

Graduation dates are now located here.