A high school diploma is so much more than a piece of paper; it is the key to a brighter future because it will help open doors of opportunity for future success. Graduating high school is a major achievement, but one that must be properly earned through hard work and dedication. In the state of Louisiana, there are certain requirements high school students must meet in order to graduate. Students who do not meet these requirements are at risk of not graduating or graduating later than expected. A guidance counselor can help to determine if you are on the right course to graduate.

Minimum Course Requirements

In Louisiana, all high students must meet or exceed the minimum course requirements to be eligible for high school graduation. Students are required to have 24 total units of credits to graduate; the units of credit are earned by successfully completing English, Mathematics and Science courses. Five units of credit are also earned for the successful completion of Social Studies, Health Education and Physical Education courses. The state also requires at least eight units of electives. Failing to meet the course requirements will lead to a student being ineligible for high school graduation.

Graduate Exit Examination (GEE)

Successfully passing the Graduate Exit Examination (GEE) is also necessary to qualify for graduation from a Louisiana high school. The GEE measures a student's mastery of the state's content standards. A score of basic or higher on the GEE exam is necessary in order for students to graduate. The GEE assesses student knowledge of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Testing for the GEE begins in sophomore year. If a student fails to pass any portion, he is given opportunities to retest several times prior to graduation. Some students who are enrolled in remedial courses or who meet certain criteria are not required to pass the GEE to graduate. Students who do not have to pass the exam are notified prior to testing.

Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum vs. Louisiana Core Curriculum

In an effort to reduce the statewide dropout rate, the State Board of Education implemented the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum. The Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum includes 24 units of credits to graduate. Of those units, 21 are required courses. Following the curriculum became mandatory following the 2008-2009 school year. Students who feel they cannot meet the requirements of the Core 4 Curriculum can request to follow the Louisiana Core Curriculum instead. The Louisiana Core Curriculum only calls for 23 units of credits to graduate. Of those units, only 16 are required courses. Since the basic Core Curriculum is designed to help prepare students who are planning to go straight into the workforce rather than college after graduation, students need parental permission in order to switch from the Core 4 to the basic Core Curriculum.

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