Frequently Asked Questions about Earning a Virginia High School Diploma
- Standard / Verified Units of Credit
- Transfer Students
- What are the requirements for students who transfer into Virginia high schools from other states or private schools to earn a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma?
- May end-of-course assessments taken in other states be substituted for SOL tests in the awarding of verified credits?
Standard / Verified Units of Credit
What are "standard units of credit" and "verified units of credit"?
A standard unit of credit is awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes the objectives of the course and the equivalent of 140 clock hours of instruction. School divisions may have alternative policies that permit waivers of the 140 clock hour requirement.
A verified unit of credit is awarded for a course in which the student earns a standard unit of credit and achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test or a substitute assessment approved by the Board of Education. In certain instances, a school division may award verified credits for demonstrating mastery of course content on performance assessments in lieu of end-of-course SOL tests.
What are the requirements for students who transfer into Virginia high schools from other states or private schools to earn a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma?
Students entering a Virginia public high school for the first time at the beginning of or during the ninth grade are required to meet all of the same graduation requirements required of non-transfer students.
Students entering a Virginia public high school for the first time at the beginning of or during the tenth grade or later should refer to the tables on the Information for Transfer Students page to determine the applicable graduation requirements.
Students transferring after 20 instructional hours per course of their senior year shall be given every opportunity to earn a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma. If it is not possible for the student to meet the requirements for a Virginia Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma, arrangements should be made for the student's previous school to award the diploma. If these arrangements cannot be made, the school division can submit a waiver of the verified unit of credit requirements to the Virginia Department of Education. Your school counselor can tell you more about this waiver.
May end-of-course assessments taken in other states be substituted for SOL tests in the awarding of verified credits?
The Board of Education accepts content-based high school end-of-course tests administered as a part of another state's accountability system for the purpose of awarding verified credit to students who transfer to Virginia public schools. When students transfer to a Virginia public school from a state that requires such high school end-of-course tests, the local school division may automatically accept the student's passing score on the test and the corresponding course for the purposes of awarding verified credit.
When students transfer to a Virginia public school from a state that requires a comprehensive subject area examination as a prerequisite for graduation from high school, VDOE – at the request of the division superintendent — will review the examination to determine its suitability for use to award verified credit. In order for a test to be deemed suitable for use, the test must be approved as part of another state's accountability system and approved through the federal standards and assessment peer review process. Such requests shall be submitted by the division superintendent within 30 days of receipt of the student's record.
Are students who fail end-of-course tests permitted to retake the tests?
Students may retake end-of-course tests as often as a school division's testing schedule permits. Students who have a passed the course and score on the end-of-course Standards of Learning test within 25 points of passing or have extenuating circumstances may be eligible to retake a test before the next scheduled administration.
What happens if a student passes a course but fails the corresponding end-of-course test?
As mentioned above, students may retake tests needed to earn verified units of credit for graduation. Students who pass the course and score between 375-399 on a test are eligible for an expedited retake and may retake a test before the next scheduled test administration.
Students who after remediation fail a retake the test, but achieve a score of 375 or better, may be awarded a verified credit by their local school board, following a review of their class work and/or demonstration of their mastery of the content of the course. Verified credits awarded in this manner are given at the discretion of local school boards. Ask your school counselor for more information about locally awarded verified credits.
May tests of equal or greater rigor be substituted for SOL tests for the awarding of verified credits?
Yes. The Board of Education has approved a number of tests that students may take to earn verified credits toward graduation. The Board also has approved a schedule of career and technical examinations for licensure or certification that may be substituted for SOL tests to earn student-selected verified units of credit. Tests for licensure or certification that require the demonstration of knowledge and skills beyond what is associated with a single course may result in the awarding of two units of verified credit. Your school counselor and career and technical education teacher can provide more information about these examinations.