Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 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.
(2) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Alternate Diploma - the document awarded to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who were assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards. While this diploma is standards-based and aligned with the state requirements for the regular high school diploma, it is not a regular high school diploma. Therefore, an alternate diploma does not terminate Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
(b) 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 student interest.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
(e) Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) - an alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards. The GAA is a standardized, task-based assessment with multiple access points designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) team has determined they are unable to meaningfully access the regular assessment program, even with maximum appropriate accommodations. The purpose of the GAA is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities are provided access to the state academic content standards and given the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the knowledge, concepts, and skills inherent in the standards.
(f) 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.
(g) 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 Assessment.
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 IEP.
(h) 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).
(i) 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.
(j) Unit, Summer School - one unit of credit awarded for a minimum of 120 clock hours of instruction.
(3) REQUIREMENTS.
(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 - Student Assessment.
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.

Units Required

(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 graduation.

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 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 requirements.
(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 designated courses.
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 interest.
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. Technical College System of Georgia institutions 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 requirements.
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 clock-hours 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 who entered the ninth grade for the first time prior to the 2020-2021 school year may graduate and receive a regular high school diploma when the student's IEP team determines that the student has:
(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
(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.
(ii) Students with significant cognitive disabilities who entered the ninth grade for the first time on or after the 2020-2021 school year may graduate and receive an alternate diploma when the student's IEP team determines that the student has:
(I) completed an integrated curriculum based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) 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
(III) 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 objectives.
(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.

Notes

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 160-4-2-.48
O.C.G.A. ยงยง 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).
Original Rule entitled "High School Graduation Requirements for Students Enrolling in the Ninth Grade for the First Time in the 2008-09 School Year and Subsequent Years" adopted. F. Sept. 13, 2007; eff. Oct. 3, 2007. Amended: F. Jul. 21, 2011; eff. Aug. 10, 2011. Amended: F. Feb. 20, 2020; eff. Mar. 11, 2020.

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