160-4-2-.48 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR
STUDENTS ENROLLING IN THE NINTH GRADE FOR THE FIRST TIME
IN THE 2008-09 SCHOOL YEAR AND SUBSEQUENT YEARS.
(1) PURPOSE. This rule specifies programs of study that shall be offered by
local boards of education for students enrolling in the ninth grade for the first time in
the 2008-2009 School Year and for subsequent years.
(a) Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Pathways – Three
elective units in a coherent sequence that includes rigorous content aligned with
industry-related standards leading to college and work readiness in a focused area of
(b) Core Courses - courses identified as “c” or “r” in Rule 160-4-2-.20 List of
State-Funded K-8 Subjects and 9-12 Courses.
(c) Elective Courses – any courses identified as “e” in Rule 160-4-2-.20 List of
State-Funded K-8 Subjects and 9-12 Courses that a student may select beyond the
core requirements to fulfill the unit requirements for graduation.
(d) Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) -- an alternate assessment based on
alternate achievement standards. The GAA is a portfolio assessment designed for
students with significant cognitive disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) whose IEP team has determined they are unable to reasonably
participate in the regular assessment program. The purpose of the GAA is to ensure
all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, are provided
access to the state curriculum and given the opportunity to demonstrate progress
toward achievement of the state standards.
(e) Required courses - specific courses identified as “r” in Rule 160-4-2-.20 List
of State-Funded K-8 Subjects and 9-12 Courses that each student in a program of
study shall pass to graduate from high school.
(f) Secondary School Credential - a document awarded to students at the
completion of the high school experience.
1. High School Diploma - the document awarded to students certifying that they
have satisfied attendance requirements, unit requirements and the state assessment
requirements as referenced in Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs - Student
2. High School Certificate - the document awarded to pupils who do not
complete all of the criteria for a diploma or who have not passed the state assessment
requirements as referenced in Rule 160-3-1-07 Testing Programs – Student
Assessment, but who have earned 23 units.
3. Special Education Diploma - the document awarded to students with
disabilities assigned to a special education program who have not met the state
assessment requirements referenced in Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs - Student
Assessment or who have not completed all of the requirements for a high school
diploma but who have nevertheless completed their Individualized Education
(g) Significant Cognitive Disabilities – students with significant intellectual
disabilities or intellectual disabilities concurrent with motor, sensory or
emotional/behavioral disabilities who require substantial adaptations and support to
access the general curriculum and require additional instruction focused on relevant
life skills and participate in the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA).
(h) Unit – one unit of credit awarded for a minimum of 150 clock hours of
instruction or 135 hours of instruction in an approved block schedule.
(i) Unit, Summer School – one unit of credit awarded for a minimum of 120
clock hours of instruction.
(a) Local boards of education shall provide secondary school curriculum and
instructional and support services that reflect the high school graduation and state
assessment requirements and assist all students in developing their unique potential to
function in society.
(b) Local boards of education shall require that
1. Students who enroll from another state meet the graduation requirements for
the graduating class they enter and the state assessment requirements as referenced in
Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs - Student Assessment.
2. Students who enroll in the ninth grade for the first time in the 2008-2009
school year and withdraw shall meet the graduation requirements specified in this rule
and the assessment requirements specified in Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs -
3. UNITS OF CREDIT.
(i) All state-supported high schools shall make available to all students the
required areas of study.
(ii) A course shall count only once for satisfying any unit of credit requirement
for graduation. See the following chart.
(iii) AREAS OF STUDY.
(I) English/Language Arts* 4
(II) Mathematics* 4**
(III) Science* 4
The 4th science unit may be used to meet both the science and elective requirement
(IV) Social Studies* 3
(V) CTAE and/or
Modern Language/Latin and/or
Fine Arts 3
(VI) Health and Physical Education* 1
(VII) Electives 4
TOTAL UNITS (MINIMUM) 23
*Required Courses and/or Core Courses
** Students entering ninth grade in 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 only, who earn credit in
Mathematics I and Mathematics II or GPS Algebra and GPS Geometry, along with 2 additional core
mathematics courses, will have satisfied the minimum mathematics requirements for high school
4. COURSE CREDIT.
(i) Unit credit shall be awarded only for courses that include concepts and skills
based on the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) or Common Core Georgia
Performance Standards (CCGPS) for grades 9-12 or those approved by the State
Board of Education. Unit credit may be awarded for courses offered in the middle
grades that meet 9-12 GPS or CCGPS requirements. The Individualized Education
Program (IEP), if applicable, shall specify whether core courses taken as part of an
IEP shall receive core unit credit.
(ii) No course credit may be awarded for courses in which instruction is based on
the GPS for grades K-8.
(iii) Completion of diploma requirements does not necessarily qualify students for
the HOPE Scholarship Program.
5. AREAS OF STUDY.
(i) Courses that shall earn unit credit are listed in Rule 160-4-2-.20 List of State-
Funded K-8 Subjects and 9-12 Courses for Students Entering Ninth Grade in 2008
and Subsequent Years.
(ii) Any student may select any course listed in the course listing rule. The one
exception to this provision is where the letter "r" appears with course names. These
courses are required. They must be successfully completed and cannot be substituted
with any other course. Any course identified as "c" is a core course and may be
selected to count as one of the core unit requirements. A course identified as "e" is an
elective course that may be selected beyond the core requirements to fulfill the unit
(I) English Language Arts: Four units of credit in English language arts
shall be required of all students. A full unit of credit in American
Literature/Composition and a full unit of credit in Ninth-Grade Literature and
Composition shall be required. All courses that may satisfy the remaining
units of credit are identified with a "c." The Writing, Conventions, and
Listening, Speaking, and Viewing strands of the Georgia Performance
Standards shall be taught in sequence in grades 9-12. Literature modules may
be taught in any sequence in grades 10-12.
(II.) Mathematics: Four units of core credit in mathematics shall be required of all
students, including Mathematics I or GPS Algebra,or its equivalent and Mathematics
II or GPS Geometry, or its equivalent and Mathematics III or GPS Advanced
Algebra or its equivalent. Additional core courses needed to complete four credits in
mathematics must be chosen from the list of GPS/ CCGPS /AP/IB/dual enrollment
I. The mathematics requirements above apply to each student with a disability,
consistent with his or her Individualized Education Program. Students with
Disabilities who earn credit in Mathematics I or GPS Algebra and the associated
mathematics support course, and Mathematics II or GPS Geometry and the associated
mathematics support course, may upon determination through the Individualized
Education Program Team meet mathematics diploma requirements by completing
Mathematics III or GPS Advanced Algebra for a total of 3 mathematics core credits.
Successful completion of 3 core units of mathematics may not meet the mathematics
admission requirements for entrance into a University System of Georgia institution
or other post-secondary institution without additional coursework.
II. All students, including students with disabilities, who enter ninth grade in 2008-
2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011, only and who earn core credit in Mathematics I and
Mathematics II or GPS Algebra and GPS Geometry, along with 2 other core
mathematics courses, will have satisfied the minimum mathematics requirements for
high school graduation. Mathematics Support I, GPS Algebra Support I,
Mathematics Support II, GPS Geometry Support II, and Mathematics Support III, and
GPS Advanced Algebra Support III may be designated as elective or core courses for
students who entered ninth grade in 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011. Students
who complete Mathematics I and Mathematics II or GPS Algebra and GPS
Geometry, along with 2 other core mathematics courses, but who do not complete
Mathematics III or GPS Advanced Algebra, may not meet the mathematics admission
requirements for entrance into a University System of Georgia institution or other
post-secondary institutions without additional coursework.
(III) Science: Four units of credit in science shall be required of all students,
including one full unit of Biology; one unit of either Physical Science or Physics; one
unit of either Chemistry, Earth Systems, Environmental Science or an AP/IB course;
and one additional science unit. The fourth science unit may be used to meet both the
science and elective requirements. Any AP/IB science course may be substituted for
the appropriate courses listed above.
(IV) Social Sciences: Three units of credit shall be required in social studies. One
unit of credit shall be required in United States History. One unit of credit shall be
required in World History. One-half unit of American Government/Civics shall be
required. One-half unit of Economics shall be required.
(V) CTAE/Modern Language/Latin/Fine Arts: A total of three units of credit
shall be required from the following areas: CTAE and/or Modern Language/Latin
and/or Fine Arts. Students are encouraged to select courses in a focused area of
I. Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Pathways:
Students may earn three units of credit in a coherent sequence of CTAE courses
through a self-selected pathway leading to college readiness and a career readiness
certificate endorsed by related industries.
II. Modern Language/Latin: All students are encouraged to earn two units of
credit in the same modern language/Latin. Students planning to enter or transfer into
a University System of Georgia institution or other post-secondary institution must
take two units of the same modern language/Latin. Georgia Department of Technical
and Adult Education (DTAE) institutions (Technical College System of Georgia) do
not require modern language/Latin for admissions.
A. Students whose native language is not English may be considered to have met
the foreign language expectation by exercising the credit in lieu of enrollment option
if they are proficient in their native language. A formal examination is not necessary
if other evidence of proficiency is available.
B. American Sign Language may be taken to fulfill the modern language
III. Fine Arts: Electives may be selected from courses in fine arts.
(VI) Health and Physical Education: One unit of credit in health and physical
education is required. Students shall combine one-half or one-third units of credit of
Health (17.011), Health and Personal Fitness (36.051), or Advanced Personal Fitness
(36.061) to satisfy this requirement. Three (3) units of credit in JROTC (Junior
Reserve Officer Training Corps) may be used to satisfy this requirement under the
following conditions: 1) JROTC courses must include Comprehensive Health and
Physical Education Rule requirements in rule 160-4-2-.12 and 2) the local Board of
Education must approve the use of ROTC courses to satisfy the one required unit in
health and physical education.
6. REQUIRED PROCEDURES FOR AWARDING UNITS OF CREDIT.
(i) A unit of credit for graduation shall be awarded to students only for successful
completion of state-approved courses of study based on a minimum of 150 clockhours
of instruction provided during the regular school year, 135 clock-hours of
instruction in an approved block schedule during the regular school year, or a
minimum of 120 clock-hours of instruction in summer school.
7. STUDENTS WITH SIGNIFICANT COGNITIVE DISABILITIES.
(i) Students with significant cognitive disabilities may graduate and receive a
regular high school diploma when the student’s IEP team determines that the student
(I) completed an integrated curriculum based on the GPS that includes instruction
in Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Science and Social Studies as well as career
preparation, self determination, independent living and personal care to equal a
minimum of 23 units of instruction, and
(II) participated in the GAA during middle school and high school and earned a
proficient score on the high school GAA in Mathematics, English/Language Arts,
Science, and Social Studies, and
(III) reached the 22nd birthday OR has transitioned to an
employment/education/training setting in which the supports needed are provided by
an entity other than the local school system.
8. LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
(i) Local boards of education shall provide instructional, support and delivery
services. These services shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(I) A continuous guidance component beginning in middle school. The purposes
of the guidance component are to familiarize students with graduation requirements,
to help them identify the likely impact of individual career objectives on the program
of studies they plan to follow and to provide annual advisement sessions to report
progress and offer alternatives in meeting graduation requirements and career
(II) Record keeping and reporting services that document student progress toward
graduation and include information for the school, parents and students.
(III) Diagnostic and continuous evaluation services that measure individual student
progress in meeting competency expectations for graduation.
(IV) Instructional programs, curriculum and course guides and remedial
opportunities to assist each student in meeting graduation requirements.
(V) Appropriate curriculum and assessment procedures for students who have
been identified as having disabilities that prevent them from meeting the prescribed
competency performance requirements.
Authority O. C. G. A. § 20-2-131; 20-2-140; 20-2-142; 20-2-150(a); 20-2-151(a),
(b); 20-2-154(a); 20-2-160; 20-2-161.1; 20-2-161.2; 20-2-281(a), (c).
Adopted: July 21, 2011 Effective: August 11, 2011