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. The state is in transition to develop new exams in Algebra 1, English 10, and Science (Biology). Despite anticipated 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 exams, are different depending on when a student took the exam, and are different if the student received one or more assessment waivers. The following guidelines will assist in determining whether a student has met each requirement.

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.
  • For any student taking the new exams, the cut score has been set at 725.
  • A 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 English 10 or Algebra I to offset lower failing scores in Government.
  • Students who passed the Algebra 1 or English 10 course by August 2020 earned assessment waivers.
  • Current juniors or seniors may qualify for additional assessment waivers. Please contact your school for additional information.
  • 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.

Science

  • 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 take the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) in the 2017-2018, 2018–2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 school years, only need to participate in the assessment. The participation requirement may be extended to additional years pending the arrival of a new MISA (Biology) exam.
  •  Students who passed the Biology course by August 2020 earned an assessment waiver.

Government

  • Students are required to pass the HSA in Government with a cut score of 394.
  • Students who passed the Government course by August 2020 earned an assessment waiver.
  • 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.

More information may be found in the Maryland State Department of Education’s “Graduation Requirements for Public High Schools in Maryland.” If you have specific questions pertaining to your child’s graduation assessment requirements, please contact your child’s school counselor.

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.