There are certain curriculum requirements students need to fulfill if they are seeking to graduate high school in the state of Arkansas. However, many of these requirements are set to change in 2014 after the implementation of a new course work core.
The state of Arkansas requires that each student take at least four units of English studies in the four years of high school and half a credit in language arts studies, such as journalism, grammar or communications. Generally each English course covers at least one of Shakespeare's plays, graduated research papers (culminating in the senior research paper) and basic grammar required to place well on the ACT or SAT. These courses are mandatory for each semester of attendance and must be passed with 70 percent or higher. Advanced placement courses are also available for those students desiring to accelerate their college education. They are also required to complete half a unit of oral communications.
Courses in social studies, which include history, government and civics, are required as well. Students must complete three units or six semesters of study in one of each of these courses to graduate. Courses offered can be local Arkansas history, world history, U.S. history or sociology. These courses start in the ninth grade but do not have to be completed in sequence. Generally, economics and government are taken in the student's junior or senior year.
Mathematics and Science
Four units or eight semesters of mathematics must be completed to graduate in Arkansas, which includes a mandatory course of algebra and geometry. Each student must complete the coursework of algebra II in their junior or senior years. Optional courses to complete the requirements are Transitions to College Math, pre-calculus, trigonometry, statistics, computer math, algebra III or Advanced Placement math. Science courses to the equivilent of three units are required as well and include physical science, biology, chemistry and physics.
Other requirements to complete high school in Arkansas include half a unit each of physical education, health and safety and fine arts (dance, drama, music or art). Two units are required of foreign language, one unit of technology, and career focus courses that apply to the student's chosen field of study.
The standards will change with the implementation of Arkansas' Smart Core Courses in 2014. These courses are intended to raise educational standards in Arkansas and to better prepare the majority of college-bound graduates, many who will attend school within Arkansas at a state university. It includes four units of English, half a unit in oral communications, three natural sciences, four units of mathematics, three units of social studies and a half unit of economics, fine arts, health and safety, physical education and six units of career-focused electives. These changes were set in place in February 2010 and can be found by searching for Smart Core at the Arkansas state educational website.