Graduation Requirements

Requirements for graduation from a Maryland Public High School are listed below. Students must earn a minimum of 26 credits in Grades 9 through 12 to receive a Maryland High School Diploma from Harford County Public Schools.

Subject Area
Specific Credit Requirements
English
4 credits
Mathematics*
4 credits, including
  • 1 in Algebra I
  • 1 in Geometry
Must be enrolled in a mathematics course in each year of high school (maximum of 4 years of attendance, unless in the 5th or 6th year a mathematics course is needed to meet a graduation requirement)
Science*
3 credits, including
  • 1 in Biology
Social Studies
3 credits, including
  • 1 in American Government
  • 1 in World History
  • 1 in U.S. History
Fine Arts
1 credit
Physical Education
1 credit
  • 0.5 credit must include Foundations of Fitness and Physical Activity
Health
0.5 credit
Technology
1 credit
  • Entering Class of 2014-2015 (Senior Class of 2018): Foundations of Technology
  • Entering Classes of 2015-16, 2017-2018, 2018-2019 (Senior Class of 2019, 2020, 2021): Foundations of Technology or AP Computer Science Principles
Career Pathway and Completer Program Requirements
4-6 credits
  • 4 credits in an approved Career & Technology Education (CTE) Career Completer Program
or
  • 4 credits in a Career Pathway Program + 2 World Language + University Systems of Maryland (USM) requirements (4 years of math including Algebra II or beyond in the senior year)
or
  • 4 credits in a Career Pathway Program + 2 Advanced Technology or 4 credits in the General Engineering Pathway
Electives
May vary according to program.
*Select the subject area to view the course sequence chart.

Student Service Requirement

There is a service learning component in the requirements for earning a Maryland High School Diploma. Student service learning activities are integrated into the existing HCPS curriculum for all subject areas in Grades 6-12. Students enrolled in Harford County Public Schools for three years beyond Grade 5 have met the state requirement for service learning.

The goals of the student service learning program are to promote a commitment to lifelong service, to develop responsible citizens, and to heighten the awareness of the needs of others and the global society in general. By infusing service education in the curriculum, students will acquire the knowledge and skills to appropriately serve others beyond their schooling years. Community service clubs and organizations are in full operation in each middle and high school to provide students with a wider range of service learning experiences.

High School Assessment Requirements

The Maryland State Board of Education determines and revises the graduation assessment requirements as needed. The current assessment requirements account for the transition of the Maryland High School Assessments (HSA) in English 10 and Algebra/Data Analysis to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments in English 10 and Algebra I and from the HSA Biology to the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA). The Maryland High School Assessment Government will continue to be administered as part of the graduation assessment requirements. Updates to the Student Education Planning Guide will be made as they become available and the latest revision of this document will be located on www.hcps.org with a revision date.

High School Assessments for Senior Class of 2018
(Entering Grade 9 in 2014-2015)

Students must complete the following to meet the High School Graduation Assessment requirements:

  • Participate in HSA or PARCC Algebra I*
  • Participate in HSA or PARCC English 10*
  • Pass HSA Government via the qualifying test of 394, a qualifying Bridge Project score, or a sufficient combined score (if applicable)
  • Participate in HSA Biology or MISA

For more information, please see the Graduation Assessment Requirements document at www.hcps.org.

High School Assessments for Senior Classes of 2019, 2020, or 2021
(Entering Grade 9 in 2015-2016, 2016-2017, or 2017-2018)

Students must complete the following to meet the High School Graduation Assessment requirements:

  • Meet the qualifying score for PARCC Algebra I*
  • Meet the qualifying score for English 10*
  • Pass HSA Government via a qualifying test of 394, a qualifying Bridge Project score, or a sufficient combined score (if applicable)
  • Participate in HSA Biology or MISA

*See Requirements for First-Time Test Takers chart for qualifying scores.

For more information, please see the Graduation Assessment Requirements document at www.hcps.org.

*Requirements for First-Time Test Takers
(except students graduating in 2018 as noted)
Assessment and Content
First Time Test Taker in 2014-2015 or 2015-2016
First Time Test Taker In 2016-2017
First Time Test Taker in 2017-2018
First Time Test Taker in 2018-2019
PARCC Algebra I
AND
PARCC English 10
Participate only
Achieve a passing score of 725
Achieve a passing score of 733
Achieve a passing score of 741
For all administrations beginning in SY 2016-2017, the required re-test passing score is the same score as the first-time taking score for each individual assessment.

College and Career Ready Designation

On May 16, 2013, Senate Bill 740 (SB 740) was passed by the General Assembly of Maryland into law. Also labeled the College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act, the law defines College and Career Readiness (CCR) and establishes the fiscal obligations for LEAs and their local community colleges with regard to dual enrollment.

Specifically, §7-205.1 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland (COMAR) states:

Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, all students shall be assessed using acceptable college placement cut scores no later than 11th grade to determine whether the student is ready for college-level, credit-bearing course work in English Language Arts, Literacy, and Mathematics…[and] the Department [Maryland State Department of Education], in collaboration with local school systems and public community colleges, shall develop and implement transition courses or other instructional opportunities to be delivered in the 12th grade to students who have not achieved college and career readiness by the end of the 11th grade. The implementation of transition courses or other instructional opportunities…shall include an assessment or reassessment of the student after completion of the course; and may not preclude or replace enrollment in a course otherwise required for graduation from high school.

The chart below indicates the assessment options used to achieve the college and career readiness designation. This information is accurate as of December 9, 2015 as is subject to change based upon MSDE mandates and Maryland legislative actions.

English Mathematics
English 10 and 11 PARCC 4+ Algebra II PARCC 4+
SAT 500+ SAT 500+
ACT 21+ ACT 21+
Accuplacer Rd 79+ Wr 6+ SS 90+ Accuplacer 110+
AP or IB English 3+ AP or IB Math 3+

Source: Senate Bill 740/MSDE; Information accurate as of 12/9/2016

Student Enrollment Options Program


Various enrollment options exist for students during their high school tenure. Guidelines established by the Maryland State Department of Education must be followed and are available in each high school counseling office.

In recognition that four-year enrollment in a public high school may not serve the best interest of some students, alternatives may be available if all other graduation requirements are met.

Harford County Public Schools offers students several enrollment options for earning a high school diploma (granted under the authority of COMAR 13A.03.02). These options include:

  1. Part-time Attendance
  2. Early College Admission
  3. Accelerated Graduation

Guidelines established by the Maryland State Department of Education must be followed and are available in each school counseling office.

Earning High School Credit Through College Programs

A high school student may use credits earned at post-secondary institutions to fulfill [the] certain Maryland State high school graduation requirements. This requires [with] prior approval from the student’s counselor, school principal, and the Superintendent of Schools or his or her designee [given] obtained through the Student Enrollment Option – [of] Part-time Early College Admission – Dual Transfer of Credit. The specific procedures followed are available in each high school counseling office.



College Credit Through High School Programs

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Based Courses

The Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and College Level Examination Programs provide students the opportunity to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. A variety of AP and CLEP Program courses are available in each of the high schools and students may demonstrate they have learned the equivalent of college level work by taking the appropriate AP or CLEP examination provided by the College Board organization. Many post-secondary institutions will award college credits or advanced standing upon successful completion of an assessment or portfolio, or a CLEP test. Not all AP or CLEP Program courses are available in every Harford County high school. The IB Diploma Program courses are only offered at Edgewood High School.

Articulated or Transcripted Credits

Selected two- and four-year colleges agreed to grant college credit to students completing certain programs of study while in high school. Programs are offered in Career and Technology Education including Business Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Trades and Industry.

Information regarding a particular course or program is available in every high school counseling department or from the Business Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Trades and Industry teachers. If a student has taken any courses in the identified program areas and plans to attend an area college, he or she may wish to check if his or her work qualifies for college credit.

AP, IB, Honors, and Identified Rigorous Approved Courses

In addition to Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) program courses, a variety of courses have been identified by principals and content supervisors and approved by the General Curriculum Committee to be of sufficient rigor and awarded weighted grades.

Information regarding these courses is available in every high school counseling office.


Weighted Grades for AP, IB, Honors, and Identified Rigorous Approved Courses

Grades Grade Points for Weighted Courses Grade Points for Non-Weighted Courses
A 5.0 4.0
B 4.0 3.0
C 3.0 2.0
D 1.0 1.0
E 0.0 0.0

AP, IB Courses, and Honors courses are noted as part of the course title. Other Identified Rigourous approved courses receiving a weighted grade point are noted with the letter “W” as the fifth character of the course number. (See example.)


Special Education Services

Special Education services are offered at all high schools to meet the needs of Harford County Public School students with disabilities. Courses with varying levels of support are available depending upon the individual needs of the student. Decisions regarding appropriate levels of support are made by the IEP Team and are based upon a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Transition services are also provided and are tailored to enhance progress toward post-secondary outcomes. In addition to academic support, a student with disabilities may also be eligible for support in the areas of communication, social interaction, behavior management and other related services; eligibility determinations are made by the student's IEP Team. For specific questions regarding your child's services and course selection, please contact the school counseling office.

Maryland High School Certificate

The Maryland High School Certificate is awarded only to students with disabilities who have been determined to be eligible to participate in the alternate assessment process or have demonstrated an inability to meet the requirements for a diploma. The student must also meet one of the following standards:

  1. The student is enrolled in an education program for at least four years beyond Grade 8, or its age equivalent, and is determined by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Committee, with the agreement of the parents of the student with a disability, to have developed appropriate skills for the individual to enter the world of work, act responsibly as a citizen, and enjoy a fulfilling life. “World of work” may include gainful employment, post-secondary education and training, supported employment, and other services integrated in the community; OR
  2. The student has been enrolled in an education program for four years beyond Grade 8, or its age equivalent, and has reached age 21.


Six-Year Education Plan




Career Cluster/Pathways:

Activities to Consider

Tests Recommended:  


Required Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 Credits Years 13 & 14
English (4) English English English English
Mathematics (4) Math Math Math Math
Science (3) Science Science Science
Social Studies (3) American Government World History U.S. History
Fine Arts (1) Fine Arts
Phys. Ed. (1) Physical Education (0.5)
Health (0.5) Health (0.5)
Technology Requirement (1) Foundations of Tech or
AP Computer Science Principles
Career Pathway and
Completer Program
Requirements (4-6)*
Electives

Career Pathway and Completer Program Requirements:

4 credits in an approved CTE Career Completer Program
or
4 credits in a Career Pathway Program + 2 World Languages + USM requirements (4 years of math including Algebra II or beyond in the senior year)
or
4 credits in a Career Pathway Program + 2 Advanced Technology or 4 credits in the General Engineering Pathway


Completer Programs

Advanced Technology Courses
Career and Technology Education (CTE) Completer Sequence
University System of
Maryland Entrance Program

Advanced technology education courses provide opportunities for the in-depth study of technology. The pattern of course work must include two credits in Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) approved advanced technology courses and two elective mathematics, science, and/or technology credits.

Advanced Technology Courses

  • Technological Design

  • Advanced Design Applications

  • Advanced Technological Applications

This is an MSDE-approved sequence of four occupational course credits in a planned, sequential program of study that integrates academic, technical, and workplace readiness skills.


Career and Technology
Completer Programs

  • All technical program sequences associated with Harford Technical High School and North Harford High School

  • Biomedical Sciences

  • Business Education
    • Academy of Finance
    • Accounting and Finance
    • Business Management
    • Computer Programming
    • Marketing

  • Career Research and Development

  • Family and Consumer Sciences
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Food and Beverage Management
    • Teacher Academy of Maryland

  • Fire/Rescue EMT Cadet Program

  • Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

  • Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences

  • Pre-Engineering

This program includes a pattern of coursework which meets the entrance requirements for the University System of Maryland (USM). It must include a two-credit sequence of world languages and two elective credits.

  • English (4)
  • Social Studies (3)
  • Mathematics (4)
    4 years of math including Algebra II or beyond in the senior year.
  • Science (3)
    In at least two different areas, with at least two lab experiences
  • *World Languages (2)
    French, German or Spanish
  • Academic Electives (6)
    Students should choose electives based upon their intended course study, special interest, and personal needs.

The University System of Maryland includes the following institutions:

  • Bowie State University
  • Coppin State College
  • Frostburg State University
  • Salisbury University
  • Towson University
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

*Some USM institutions will substitute the world language requirement with two credits of Advanced Technology (Students should check their school).

Regulations and Procedures for the Organization and Administration of Athletic Programs

  • The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Program, under the authorization of the Maryland State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools, has established regulations governing athletic programs for students in the public secondary schools of Maryland.

  • The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association supervises the athletic programs in the public secondary schools of the state. All of the public high schools in Harford County are members of the association and are governed by its actions.

  • Local school systems may supplement the state rules governing their athletic programs with more restrictive ones. Less restrictive rules may not be adopted.

  • The Harford County Board of Education has established policies and guidelines regarding the program of interscholastic athletics.

  • Conditional to participating in interscholastic activities in HCPS, students must meet the Harford County Board of Education residency and eligibility policies.

Additional Information

ACT/SAT Preparation

The ACT/SAT preparation course is designed to help students acquire skills to prepare to take the ACT, SAT, or any college or career readiness assessment. Students will have the opportunity to review basic English and mathematics skills through participating in content-specific lessons tailored to their instructional needs. Additionally, students will have the opportunity engage in real-time experiences that mirror the various college or career readiness assessments through a variety of learning platforms to practice acquired skills. Upon successful completion, students will possess the tools and strategies necessary to complete any college or career readiness assessment to the best of their ability. Prerequisite courses of Algebra I, Geometry, and English 10 are recommended.

Alternative Education

A program of alternative education is provided at the Center for Education Opportunity. Secondary school students who have long-term suspensions from school are eligible to enroll in the alternative education program and will receive credit for satisfactorily completed work. In addition, secondary school students whose educational, emotional, financial, physical, or other needs are such that they cannot be met in the regular school program are eligible to apply for admission to the alternative program.

Career Research and Development

Career Research and Development is a Career and Technology Education (CTE) instructional program that prepares students with the academic, technical and workplace skills necessary to seek further education and employment in a career field of their interest upon graduation from high school. The program consists of two in-school courses, a portfolio development project, and a work-based learning experience. The workplace component is a mentored, on-the-job, work experience with a written, personalized, work-based learning agreement and plan.

ESOL Newcomer Center (Harford Technical High School)

The ESOL Newcomer Center at Harford Technical High School exists for the benefit of high school age English Language Learners (ELLs) whose primary language is one other than English and who are in need of sheltered English language instruction. As high school English Language Learners enroll in and/or matriculate to high school, they are enrolled in the ESOL Newcomer Center. The ESOL Newcomer Center offers tiered sheltered English language instruction in English, reading, social studies, mathematics, and science. For students enrolled at the ESOL Newcomer Center, it is highly likely that their high school experience could last longer than the traditional 4 year sequence of courses if they expect to earn a Maryland endorsed high school diploma. The English Language Learners are provided the opportunity to attend the ESOL Newcomer Center for up to 2 years, after which they are urged to enroll in their regular neighborhood high school or complete an application for a specific magnet program or signature program. For information on specific courses, contact the ESOL Newcomer Center.

John Archer School

John Archer School is the only public special education school serving students with disabilities in Harford County. The instructional program is tailored to meet individual student needs, based on individual education plan goals. Instructional areas may include communication, functional academics, behavior and social skills, personal management, decision making, community skills, recreation and leisure skills, and career vocational skills.

Maryland State Scholars

The Maryland State Scholars program is conducted by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education in partnership with state and local agencies. The program is part of a national “State Scholars” initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) in 24 states. The Maryland State Scholars course plan is designed to increase the number/percentage of students who complete rigorous coursework and are well prepared to succeed in college and the workplace. The course plan is designated a Maryland “rigorous course of study” with the U.S. Department of Education, which qualifies Pell-eligible students for Academic Competiveness and SMART Grants.

The Maryland State Scholars Course of Study (effective freshmen entering in 2012) within all Harford County high schools includes:

  • 4 credits in English
  • 4 credits of Math to include: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II*
  • 3 credits of Lab Science to include: Biology, Chemistry*, and Physics* (preferred). Rigorous lab science substitutions for Physics may be selected from the following list of courses: Bio-Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Forensic Science, AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, or AP Environmental Science.
  • 3 credits of Social Science to include: U.S. History, World History, and Government
  • 2 credits of the same World Language*

Students must attain a 3.0 overall GPA to qualify. The designation “Maryland State Scholar” will appear on the student’s final transcript.

*courses exceed State graduation requirements

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programs

The Harford County Public School System offers a variety of high school programs which integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics content through authentic, rigorous, transdisciplinary and collaborative learning activities. The goal of these programs is to empower students to complete/be successful in a technological society and global market place. STEM related programs are identified here.

Student Aide Program

In some schools, eligible seniors may select a one-period per day noncredit student aide assignment. Selection will be made by the sponsoring department, with permission of the principal. Student aides are not graded, and they do not receive credit.

Summer School

The Harford County Public School System provides some summer courses for remediation, original credit, and noncredit enrichment and/or remediation. Offerings are scheduled according to student registration, the availability and expertise of staff, and funding resources.

Student brochures, which list summer courses for that year, are issued each spring. Selecting an original or remedial credit course in the summer usually provides room in the student's schedule in the next school year for a desired course. Students must provide their own transportation. A tuition fee is charged.