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Graduation Requirements: Part I

Graduation Requirements

As technological discoveries are developed and incorporated into the daily lives of public citizens, the work place and educational institutions become more competitive. To ensure that the graduates of Worcester County Public Schools will be adequately prepared, the basic requirements for graduation from a Worcester County high school have been designed to meet and in many instances exceed the minimum requirements as established by the Maryland State Department of Education.

To fully understand the graduation requirements of the various academic and career and technology programs, certain items need to be explained. These include unit of credit, grade value and course level value.

Unit of Credit

During the normal school year, each high school class will meet a minimum of 132 class hours. Once the student successfully meets the expectations of a class, the student receives one (1) unit of credit. It is the accumulation of these units of credit in the appropriate subjects/subject areas, and in the required number, that will determine which high school diploma and certificates the student receives.

Grade Value

Letter grades are assigned on a percentage basis. Both the percentage and letter grades will appear on the student's grade card each marking term. Each letter grade carries an additional numerical value. These values are:

Grade          Grade Value
A                  4
B                  3
C                  2
D                  1
F                  0

These grade values are utilized in conjunction with the course level value to make determinations of the student's academic achievement.

Course Levels

Each course in the curriculum of the Worcester County high schools has been assigned a course level value. This value is an indicator of the degree of difficulty the student may encounter. The student and his or her parents may wish to consult these values in their selection of courses. The course level value will appear on each student's report cards. The levels are defined as:

Level 1: Basic
Courses are usually remedial or non-credit.
Course Value: 0

Level 2: Tech Pre/College Prep
Courses are of high academic difficulty.
Course Value: +1

Level 3: Tech Prep/College Prep
Courses are challenging
Course Value: +1

Level 4: Advanced College Placement
Only courses where advanced college placement credit may be earned
Course Value: +2

Academic Significance

The academic significance of a completed course of study may be determined by multiplying the numerical value of the grade by the value of the course level. For example, a student receiving the letter grade of A (value 4) in a Level 4 Advanced Placement course (+2) would earn the academic significant value of 6 (4 + 2).

Worcester County high schools utilize the academic significance in determining grade point average, scholastic standing, academic recognition and admission to the National Honor Society.

Note: An "F" grade will receive no credit before or after weighing.

Promotion Policy

Beginning at grade 9, promotion is based upon the accumulation of units of credit in appropriate subjects and in sufficient numbers to meet requirements established by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Board of Education of Worcester County. Promotion from grade to grade becomes simply a matter of homeroom placement since the student may be enrolled in subjects normally offered at several different grade levels.

By mid-year or as soon as possible thereafter, the school will notify the parent(s)/guardians(s) by letter of any student who may be considered for retention.

A conference will be scheduled for the parent(s), teacher(s), counselor and psychologist (if warranted) to discuss the student's educational progress. During the conference a specific management plan will be developed which may include expectations of the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the student as well as the professional staff. Subsequent contacts will e maintained with the parent(s)/guardian(s) to discuss student placement for the next school year.

When a decision is made that a student should be retained, all available resources will be brought to bear to ensure success. This would include a detailed educational plan for the student with formal conferences held during the year of retention. The conferences will be held by the teachers, counselor, principal, psychologist (if warranted) and the parent(s)/guardian(s).

Maryland Diploma Program

For Worcester County Public School students, the awarding of a high school diploma should indicate the student's successful completion of the minimum requirements set forth by the Maryland State Board of Education and the Worcester County Board of Education. The diploma shall be interpreted to mean that the student has complied with the academic, social and attendance regulations of the school and has successfully completed required courses.

Students graduating from a Worcester County high school will be required to satisfy all the requirements of the State of Maryland plus those additional requirements of the Worcester County Board of Education as may be applicable.

Graduates may also qualify for the Worcester County Certificate of Merit. In addition, students who qualify will receive the Certificate of Technological Proficiency, describing the skills obtained while enrolled in a technology program. This certificate should help students understand the skills they possess when seeking employment and help employers assess the proficiencies attained by graduates seeking employment.

A Maryland High School Certificate is available only for handicapped students receiving special education services who are not able to meet the requirements described above.

Graduation Requirements

Students must satisfactorily complete four (4) years of approved study beyond the eighth grade, pass all competency tests, and complete the service learning requirement.

Specified minimum graduation requirements for students who entered the ninth grade in 1993-94 and thereafter are as follows:

Course           Credits

Fine Arts............1
Mathematics......3 (one with fundamental or advanced algebraic concepts and one with fundamental or advanced geometric concepts or topics)
Physical Ed......1/2
Social Studies...3 (U.S. History, World History, & Local,State, National Government)
Science.............3 (Earth, Life, a Physical Science or all Laboratory Experiences)
Choice of one of the following:
     - World Language or American Sign Language.....2 credits or
     - Advanced Technology..........................................2 or
     - Complete a State approved career
       and technology program..................................6 to 12
Meet Service Learning requirements
Meet State Assessment requirement

Service Learning Graduation Requirement

Worcester County has chosen an integrated program as the best way to ensure students will be able to participate in service opportunities.

The middle school program consists of grade-level projects based on themes. In-class activities, guest speakers, and field trips in the community help students to learn about service to others.

The 9th grade program is in the required social studies class and is correlated to the core learning goals in Government. Students are recognized for outstanding service to the community through Middle School Rising Stars, Presidential Service Awards and the Worcester Service Star programs.

Alternatives to Four Year Enrollment

In recognition of the fact that four year enrollment in a public high school may not serve the best interests of some students, the following alternatives are available:

1. Early College Admission Program
2. Early admission to an approved vocational, technical or other post-secondary program
3. General Educational Development (GED) Testing Program
4. Maryland Adult External High School Diploma Program

Senior Scheduling Alternatives

Seniors have two scheduling alternatives:

  1. Concurrent enrollment at Colleges/Universities/Other Schools. Seniors may, for part of the day, take college credit (not remedial) courses at neighboring colleges/ universities/ other schools in order to further their education.
  2. Early completion of Graduation Requirements and release from high school in January of the senior year. Students must meet all course work and other requirements in order to qualify for early admission to post-secondary education. Special provisions will be made for students during the senior year to encourage them to stay in high school.
Worcester County Certificate of Merit

Graduating students may qualify for the Worcester County Certificate of Merit. Requirements are as follows:

Course           Credits

English....................4 (Must be earned in Level 3 or 4 courses)
Social Studies.........4 (Must be earned in Level 3 or 4 courses)
Science...................4 (Must be earned in Level 3 or 4 courses and cmpletion of the Biomedical Science or Pre-Engineering program will be considered as meeting one of the Science credits.)
Mathematics...........4 (Must be earned in Level 3 or 4 courses)
World Language.....3 (Same language)
Electives.................6 (All Level 3)
Fine Arts.................1
Physical Ed.............1
Health/Family Life
Technology Ed........1

Students receiving this certificate may have no final course grade of F. Students must also have a 3.5 weighted GPA. This is a 28-credit requirement.