Earning Your High School Diploma - Texas

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From the early days, education has always been important to the lives of Texans. Texas students are expected to be the best they can be through rigorous curriculum, graduation requirements, and tough assessment tests. Read the following to learn what is required to attain a diploma.
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The quality of education in Texas has never been better. With 14.7 students for every teacher, the state is well below the national average of 15.9 students per teacher.

With the ever-improving curriculum, it is important for students to know what is required to get their diplomas. According to the state's Board of Education, the minimum requirements to graduate are as follows:

  • 4 credits English/language arts
  • 3 credits Mathematics
  • 2 Science credits
  • 2.5 credits Social Studies
  • .5 credit Economics
  • An Academic Elective
  • 1.5 credits Physical Education
  • .5 credit Health Education
  • .5 credit Speech
  • 1 Technology Applications credit

Those who want a greater challenge in order to prepare themselves for college can complete the Distinguished Achievement High School Program. The following are the requirements of the rigorous program:

  • 4 credits English/Language Arts
  • 3 credits Mathematics
  • 3 Science credits
  • 3.5 credits Social Studies
  • .5 credit Economics
  • 3 credits Foreign Language
  • 1.5 credits Physical Education
  • .5 credit Health Education
  • .5 credit Speech
  • 1 Technology Applications credit
  • 1 Fine Arts credit

To satisfy the Science requirement, students must take one course each in Integrated Physics and Chemistry, Chemistry (AP or IB), and Physics (Principles of Technology I, AP Physics, or IB Physics). In addition to taking these courses, students must complete original research projects, test data, and college academic courses with grades of 3.0 or higher.

For both curriculums, Technology Applications can come from various courses relating to four areas:

  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications
  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Business Education
  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Education/Industrial Technology Education
  • The completion of three credits consisting of state-approved career and technology courses.

No matter which curriculum a student chooses to take, each must complete the state's Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) during their junior year. This exam is multiple choice and short answer questions taken from four areas of study: English language arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Successful completion will allow the student to graduate. Those not passing each of the exams sections will have several opportunities for a retake. Similar to SATs, the material covered in TAKS are incorporated into day-to-day studies. Students who show proficiency in their subject courses should have no problems passing the exam.

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