The Mississippi State requirements for high school graduation are based on 24 credits, also known as units. The credits are divided into various categories including English, mathematics, sciences, social studies and other fields. Mississippi has not adopted a new education program since 1986, but in 2000, the State Department of Education adopted new graduation requirements. With the increased credit and exam requirements, Mississippi high schools are seeing a steady increase in college-bound graduates.
Mississippi high school students are required to pass a total of four credits of English language courses. These courses are sectioned among the four years of high school and are referred to as English I, II, III and IV.
The mathematics course requirement is also four credits and includes the courses Algebra I, Geometry and the choice of either Pre-Algebra, Algebra II or Transition to Algebra. Placement tests can be taken for accelerated students who wish to take courses such as Trigonometry and Calculus.
The basic science requirements include only three credits. Biology is required, after which students have the choice to take two of the following: Biology II, Chemistry, Anatomy and Human Physiology, Plant Science, Environmental Science, or Concepts of Agricultural Science Technology.
History, Geography and Economics
In the fields of history, geography and economics, three credits are also required. The one-credit courses of World History and U.S. History are required, along with the half-credit courses of Mississippi Studies, U.S. Government, Economics and World Geography.
Only one credit of computer science is required for graduation. Students have a choice between either Computer Applications, Keyboarding or Computer Discovery. The options for the one credit of computer science vary between Mississippi high schools. Some schools have more options than others, but all must have at least one credit available.
Only half a credit of health education is required for graduation. Usual health courses include Comprehensive Health, Individual Health and Family Health.
Electives make up eight and a half of the total required 24 credits. Of the eight and a half, one full credit must be in the fine arts. The other seven and a half can be any type of course the student decides to take, be it extra math, history, computer, health or science courses, foreign language, technology or arts courses. Photography, wood working, culinary arts, film study, creative writing, psychology and pottery all count as electives.
Subject Area Tests
Along with the additional credit requirements set in 2000, the Department of Education approved the requirement for state-wide standard examinations. All students must pass four different subject area exams in order to graduate. The subject areas include English, covering writing and conventions, Algebra, Biology and U.S. History.
Additional courses may be required by individual school districts. District school boards have the right to add, but not subtract, graduation requirements.