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Graduation Requirements


Students in grades 9 through 12 earn credits for graduation through completion of courses. Students must have a minimum of four credits for promotion to grade 10, ten credits for promotion to grade 11 and sixteen credits for promotion to grade 12.

Minimum Graduation Requirements

The minimum requirements for graduation from WCPS adhere to, but are not limited by, the standards established by the State of Maryland. To earn a WCPS Diploma, students must earn a minimum of twenty-four (24) credits:

English - 4 credits

Social Studies - 3 credits

  • 1 United States Studies II
  • 1 Local, State, and National Government
  • 1 World History

Mathematics - 4 credits

  • 1 Algebraic Concepts
  • 1 Geometric Concepts
  • 2 Additional Mathematics Credits

Science (lab based) - 3 credits

  • 1 Biology
  • 2 Additional Science Credits

Fine Arts - 1 credit

Technology Education - 1 credit

Physical Education - 1 credit

Health/Life Skills - 1 credit

Electives - 6 credits

Student Service Learning - 75 hours

Maryland High School Assessments (HSA) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) Assessments

The HSA and the Algebra I and English 10 PARCC Assessments are challenging tests that students must pass to earn a Maryland high school diploma. They measure student achievement of the state’s Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS), and Core Learning Goals (CLG), which are identified by the Maryland State Department of Education as the skills and knowledge necessary to show understanding of each course’s content and which are embedded in the Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) essential curriculum. The courses associated with the PARCC or HSA are typically taken during freshman and sophomore years. Some students take the PARCC Algebra I in Middle School.

High School Assessments

Students must meet the Maryland High School Assessment requirements:

  • Take the HSA or PARCC in English 10, Algebra I, Biology, and Government* 
  • Pass all tests   or
  • Earn a combined score equal to the total of the three passing scores   or
  • Earn a passing score on approved substitute tests   or 
  • Meet the HSA/PARCC requirements through successful completion of the Bridge Program

* All students entering 9th grade in 2013-2014 and beyond must include the Government HSA score.

Note: Passing scores for PARCC were set by MSDE in 2016; therefore, students taking the PARCC Algebra I and PARCC English 10 assessments in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years must participate in, but not pass, the assessments to meet the requirement.

Students should work with their school counselor to confirm that they have met all graduation assessment requirements.

Bridge Plan for Academic Validation Option

The Maryland State Department of Education recognizes that there will be some students who will struggle on the HSAs, even after they take the tests several times and take advantage of academic remediation. The Bridge Plan for Academic Validation is an alternative means to meeting the graduation requirements and is for students who have passed the PARCC or HSA-related course but have not yet passed the associated assessment after two or more attempts.  

The Alternative Maryland School Assessment (Alt-MSA) and the National Center for State Collaborative (NCSC)

Students participate in the Alt-MSA if, through the individualized educational program process, it has been determined that they meet specific eligibility criteria.  A portfolio for the Alt-MSA is constructed of artifacts (such as student work samples) that document the individual student mastery of the science objectives in grades 5, 8 and 10. The NCSC assessment will replace the Alt-MSA in English Language Arts and Math starting in the 2015-16 school year for grades 3-8 and 11. The NCSC assessment is an online computer-adaptive assessment that is given near the end of the school year.  

For more information, please review the Student Handbook under Documents on the right side of this page.