Florida students entering their first year of high school in the 2007-2008 school year
may choose from the following graduation programs:
All of these graduation paths include opportunities to take rigorous academic courses designed to prepare students for their future academic and career choices. All students, regardless of graduation program, must still earn a specific grade point average on a 4.0 scale and achieve passing scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in order to graduate with a standard diploma. However, the two three-year programs are significantly different from the traditional 24-credit
This program requires students to take at least 24 credits in subject areas such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, and a physical education course to include the integration of health. Foreign language credit is not required for this program, although it is recommended for community college preparation and is required for admission to Florida’s state universities. This program offers students the chance to take eight elective credits- four credits in a major area of interest and four credits combined to allow for a second major area of interest, a minor area of interest, or elective courses. Major areas of interests will allow students to define their interests and use their high school experience to become better prepared for higher education and/or a career of their choosing.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is a rigorous pre-university course of study leading to internationally standardized tests. The program’s comprehensive two-year curriculum allows its graduates to fulfill requirements of many different nations’ education systems. Students completing IB courses and exams from the six subject groups are eligible for college credit. The award of credit is based on scores achieved on IB exams. Students can earn up to 30 postsecondary semester credits by participating in this program at the high school level. Approximately 45 Florida high schools participate in the IB program. Students in Florida’s public secondary schools who are enrolled in IB courses do not have to pay to take the exams. For information, visit www.ibo.org.
The Advanced International Certificate of Education Program is an international curriculum and examination program modeled on the British pre-college curriculum and “A-Level” exams. Florida’s public community colleges and universities provide college credit for successfully passed exams. Students in Florida’s public secondary schools who are enrolled in AICE courses do not have to pay to take the exams. For information, visit www.cie.org.uk and click on “Qualifications & Diplomas.”
This accelerated graduation program requires fewer credits than the traditional 24-credit program and does not require the student to select a major area of interest. It focuses more on academic courses, which means students take fewer elective courses. Unlike the traditional 24-credit program, the three-year college preparatory program requires students to earn two credits in a foreign language. Students must earn at least six of the 18 required credits in specified rigorous level courses and maintain a cumulative weighted grade point average of a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale with a weighted or non-weighted grade that earns at least a 3.0 or its equivalent in each of the 18 required credits for the college preparatory program. It also requires higher-level mathematics courses than does the 24-credit program and the three-year career preparatory program. The credits required by this program must satisfy the minimum standards for admission into Florida’s state universities.
This accelerated graduation program requires fewer credits than the traditional 24-credit program and does not require the student to select a major area of interest. It focuses more on academic courses, which means students take fewer elective courses. Unlike the 24-credit program, the three-year career preparatory program requires students to earn specific credits in a single vocational or career education program. It requires students to maintain a cumulative weighted grade point average of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale with a weighted or non-weighted grade that earns at least a 2.0 or its equivalent in each of the 18 required credits for the career preparatory program. The requirements of the program are designed to prepare students for entrance into a technical center or community college for career preparation or for entrance into the work force.
The three-year programs are designed for students who are clear about their future goals, who are mature enough to leave high school, and who are ready to pursue their goals beyond high school in an accelerated manner. To assist students and parents with this task, each school district shall provide each student in grades 6 through 9 and their parents with information concerning the three-year and four-year high school graduation options, including the respective curriculum requirements for those options, so that the students and their parents may select the program that best fits their needs. To select a three-year graduation program, students and their parents must meet with designated school personnel to receive an explanation of the requirements, advantages, and disadvantages of each program option.
Students must also receive the written consent of their parents. Students must select a graduation program prior to the end of ninth grade. Each student and his or her family should select the graduation program that will best prepare the student for his or her postsecondary education or career plan.
Studies show that students who complete a solid academic program in high school, including advanced courses, are more likely to be successful in college. Students in all graduation programs are encouraged to take advantage of advanced course offerings and acceleration programs such as dual enrollment, early admission, the Advanced Placement Program, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, the Advanced International Certificate of Education Program, and the Florida Virtual School. These programs are available to all qualified students, no matter which graduation program they choose. For information, contact your child’s school counselor.
Dual enrollment allows eligible high school students to enroll in postsecondary courses. They earn credit toward high school graduation and, at the same time, earn credit toward a college degree or technical certificate. All 28 public community colleges and some of the state universities in Florida participate in dual enrollment. Students are permitted to take dual enrollment courses on a part-time basis during school hours, after school, or during the summer term. Dual enrollment students do not have to pay registration, matriculation, or laboratory fees. In addition, text books for dual enrollment are provided to students free of charge.
Early admission is similar to dual enrollment, except that students enroll in college/university courses full-time. They earn credits simultaneously toward a college degree and a high school diploma.
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program is a nationwide program consisting of more than 30 college-level courses and exams offered at participating high schools. Subjects range from art to statistics. Students who earn a qualifying grade of three or higher on an AP exam can earn college credit or advanced placement or both, depending on the college or university. Students in Florida’s public secondary schools enrolled in AP courses do not have to pay to take the exams. www.collegeboard.com.
The International General Certificate of Secondary Education Program is an international curriculum and examination program designed for 14- to 16-year-olds. Students who obtain an IGCSE qualification from Cambridge are prepared for further academic success, including progression to the British pre-college curriculum “A-Level” study (AICE Program). Students in Florida’s public secondary schools who are enrolled in pre-AICE courses do not have to pay to take the exams. For information, visit www.cie.org.uk and click on “Qualifications and Diplomas,” then “IGCSE.”
The Florida Virtual School offers high-quality, online high school curricula, including Advanced Placement courses. Florida Virtual School can be a resource for students with limited access to AP classes. www.flvs.net.
Many school districts let high school students take courses through their adult education program. Credits earned may be applied to requirements for high school graduation, subject to the local school board’s policies. www.firn.edu.
Students with strong content background in a subject area can earn credit through an examination program administered by the college they attend. One such program is the College-Level Examination Program. Candidates for the CLEP are postsecondary students who have completed an AP course but did not take or earn a qualifying score on the AP exam. Other students who have taken several high school courses in one particular subject area may wish to take a CLEP exam when they begin selecting college courses. For more information on CLEP testing sites and dates, contact the admissions or registrar’s office at the postsecondary institution in your area or visit www.collegeboard.com.