Graduation Requirements

During the first two years of high schools, students should focus on building on the knowledge and skills they gained in previous grades. Every 9th and 10th grade student (beginning 2014-2015 and thereafter) will take core academic classes to work towards a diploma. Following the student’s 10th grade year, a student may choose to work toward a Jump Start TOPS Tech Pathway or pursue the TOPS University Pathway. Students may choose both pathways. Decisions are made with counseling and guidance, based on the student’s interests, capabilities, and ambitions. 

High School Planning Guidebook

    The graduation requirements for incoming freshmen from 2008-2009 through 2013-2014 can be found in section §2318 and §2319 within Bulletin 741.


    While most students with disabilities will follow either the TOPS University or the traditional Jump Start pathway to a diploma, certain students with disabilities will be eligible for alternate pathways to a diploma using the provisions of Act 833 (2014) or the due to their being assessed on LAA1.

    AP® Physics I and II Advisory

    At its meeting of June 21, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved changes to the TOPS University Diploma as it pertains to AP® Physics I and AP® Physics II such that a student can meet high school graduation requirements by taking either course and that each course will be given a full Carnegie Unit of credit.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED that this change does not apply to TOPS eligibility requirements. Students who chose to use AP® Physics I and AP®Physics II to fulfill their TOPS Core science requirements for a TOPS Opportunity, Performance or Honors award must take and earn credit for both AP® Physics I and AP®Physics II. Students completing and earning credit for both courses will receive 2 units of the required 4 units of science required for TOPS. If a student only takes one of these courses, he/she will not receive any credit towards the two units of science electives required for TOPS.

    View more information and options that satisfy science requirements for both the TOPS University diploma and the TOPS Core Curriculum here.

    Please email with questions.


    Planning for students with disabilities pursuing the traditional pathway is the same as planning for any other student pursuing traditional Jump Start pathway.


    Students eligible for an alternative pathway to a Jump Start diploma pathway must meet one of the following eligibility criteria: 

    1. Enter high school having not achieved at least a combination of basic/approaching basic on math and ELA in two of the three most recent years (6th, 7th, and 8th grades) or
    2. Do not achieve a score of Fair, Good, or Excellent after two attempts of the same EOC test.

    Planning for students on the Act 833 alternative pathway is very similar to planning for students on the traditional pathway. The key difference is the IEP team determines appropriate exit goals, credentials, and individual performance criteria for classroom and EOC assessments the student must meet in order to achieve the standard diploma requirements.


    Students who take the LAA 1 are eligible to pursue this alternative pathway to a diploma.

    Planning for students on the LAA 1 alternative pathway is very similar to planning for students on the traditional pathway. The key difference is the student has to meet an alternative set of requirements for the purposes of graduation.

    For more information on planning an effective high school experience for students eligible for alternative pathways to a high school diploma visit the students with disabilities library.


    Pupil Progression Plans are the policies and guidelines local school districts use to determine whether students will be promoted to the next grade, retained in the current grade, or advanced (or skipped) to higher grades. The Pupil Progression Plans also outline the criteria for high school graduation.

    Each Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to develop a Pupil Progression Plan for review. Each agency may have slightly different procedures related to retention, advancement, promotion, and graduation.

    As a result of the delayed release of the 2017-2018 Pupil Progression Plan template and related promotion policy updates, school systems may elect to:

    • Option 1: Retain the locally approved 2017-2018 Pupil Progression Plan through the 2018-2019 school year.
    • Option 2: Submit an addendum outlining any plan updates for the 2018-2019 school year. Addendums shall be submitted no later than August 31, 2018.

    Download the 2018-2019 Pupil Progression Election Form. Notification of election shall be submitted to no later than June 30, 2018.

    For more information, please email your request to


    Obtaining a HISET®, a high school equivalency credential, may be a viable option for an overage under-credited student based on their unique needs and individual circumstances. A HISET® can position an overage under-credited student for a career or continued education. The HISET Guidance document is intended to support school administrators and staff in evaluating and pursuing the option of a HISET program and credential for an overage under-credited student. Email with questions.