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High School Academics

High School Students - Earning Credit by Testing Out

The Georgia Department of Education allows students the option to test-out of high school End-of-Course assessment courses per provisions in State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1.15 (Awarding Units of Credit and Acceptance or Transfer Credit and/or Grades). This rule provides an opportunity for high-performing students to earn End-of-Course assessment course credit without taking the course.

Under the provisions of the rule, and guidelines published by the Georgia Department of Education, students who meet state and local eligibility criteria can take an End-of-Course assessment before enrolling in and taking the course, and if they score at the Distinguished Learner level on the assessment, they will be awarded credit for that course.

Course credit earned through testing out is reported as one unit of regular credit earned through course completion. No quality points or honors level of distinction will be applied for course credit earned through testing-out. The grade equivalent score provided on the End-of-Course score report will be entered as the grade for the course. This score will not calculate toward the student’s grade point average for the Hope Scholarship or towards class rank for honor graduate, valedictorian, or salutatorian.

Per state guidance, eligible students are provided only one opportunity per course to participate in the test-out option. A student may earn no more than three units of credit by demonstrating subject area competency in this fashion. Please see your child’s school counselor for more information. 

High School Eligibility for Academic & Athletic Activities

A student will have the first 14 calendar days after the close of the semester to complete work and change an incomplete grade. If a student with an incomplete grade has not passed three subjects the previous semester on block scheduling or five subjects the previous semester for traditional scheduling, the student will be ineligible. The student is ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities during these 14 days and cannot practice, play, or participate until he or she has passed three subjects. If three subjects have not been passed by the end of the 14 calendar days of the semester, he or she is ineligible for the entire semester. 

High School Eligibility for Participation in Competitive Interscholastic Activities

All students participating in competitive interscholastic activities, as defined by Georgia High School Association, must be on track for graduation and meet eligibility requirements. 

Eligibility is based on the subjects or units passed the previous term and being on track which is based on the accumulated units at the end of each school year. Summer school is considered part of the second semester. 

First-year students (entering ninth grade) are eligible academically. To be eligible to participate in interscholastic activities, a student must not have reached his or her 19th birthday prior to May 1, preceding the year of participation. 

If spring semester and summer school are being used to determine fall eligibility, then the semester averages and subjects passed will involve all subjects taken in spring semester and summer school. The course must be listed in the school course offering and credit must be applied toward graduation. Independent study course credit taken in summer school is not acceptable for gaining eligibility. In determining eligibility for students, summer school credits earned on non-accredited home study programs or non-accredited private schools are not recognized. Accreditation recognized under this rule shall be from either the Georgia Accrediting Commission or a national or regional accreditation agency. Eligibility is concerned with subjects or units passed the previous semester, and grades made in that semester. 

If a student has an incomplete, all work must be completed within the first 14 calendar days after the close of the semester. Students who are ineligible for extracurricular activities cannot participate in any competitive interscholastic activity. Ineligible students cannot practice or travel with the team or program even though the team or program will not be in operation until the next school year. 

Students must be present for one-half or more of the school day on the day of the activity in order to participate in that activity unless granted permission by the principal or his/her designee. 

To participate in extracurricular or interscholastic activities, the school system requires resident students, other than home study students, to be enrolled full-time during the semester of participation unless the student’s schedule approved by school officials during the registration process provides otherwise. Home study students must enroll in and attempt to complete one qualifying course as defined in state law for each semester of participation. Home study students must be fully registered, following the same process and providing the same required documentation as full-time students. 

All other academic eligibility requirements can be found in your school's athletic handbook, Georgia High School Association policy, or specific region policy. 

High School Year-End Awards

For grades 9, 10 and 11, the year-end honors award shall be based on a non-rounded average of 90 or above for all courses taken during the current school year. Principal honors shall be based on a non-rounded average of 95 or above for all courses taken during the current school year. The following shall apply: 

  1. Individual course grades weighted in accordance with the high school credit value of the course. 
  2. All transfer grades must have been received from a school accredited by Cognia or an equivalent accrediting institution. 
  3. Grades from dual-enrollment courses will be considered in calculations of the numerical averages based on the district’s conversion scale. 
  4. Grades from Advanced Placement courses shall receive a 10 percent bump when calculating yearly average for honors recognition purposes. 
  5. Grades from Honors (Non-Advanced Placement) courses shall receive a five-percent bump when calculating yearly average for recognition purposes. 
  6. For the purposes of calculating honors for recognition ceremonies, the grade for each course in-progress during that current year will be pulled during the last four weeks of the school year. Note: This may differ from the final grade awarded on the student’s transcript. 
  7. Credits earned in lieu of participation in a course shall not be included in the overall average. 
High School Honor Graduates

Honor graduate status shall be determined based on a non-rounded average of 90 or above for all courses taken for high school credit, including any high school credits earned in middle school. The following also apply: 

  1. For the purposes of calculating honors graduate status, the grade for each course in-progress during the graduation year shall be taken from the average as of the end of the third nine-weeks grading period. 
  2. Individual course grades weighted in accordance with the high school credit value of the course. 
  3. All transfer grades must have been received from a school accredited by Cognia or equivalent accrediting institution. 
  4. Grades from any completed dual-enrollment courses will be considered in calculations of the numerical averages based on the district’s conversion scale. In-progress dual-enrollment courses will not be considered. 
  5. Grades from Advanced Placement courses shall receive a 10 percent bump when calculating overall average for honor graduate purposes. 
  6. Grades from Honors (Non- Advanced Placement) courses shall receive a five percent bump when calculating overall average for honor graduate purposes. 
  7. Credits earned in lieu of participation in a course shall not be included in the overall average. 
  8. Students who do not graduate from high school within four regular academic years are not eligible for recognition as an honor graduate. 
  9. No residency requirements exist concerning the qualification of honor graduate.
High School Class Rank

Class rank shall be determined based on a student’s numeric grade average compared to all students in the graduating class. The criteria for determining numeric grade average shall be as follows: 

  1. Individual course grades weighted in accordance with the high school credit value of the course. 
  2. All transfer grades must have been received from a school accredited by Cognia or equivalent accrediting institution. 
  3. Grades from dual-enrollment courses will be considered in calculations of the numerical averages based on the district’s conversion scale. 
  4. Grades from Advanced Placement courses shall receive a 10 percent bump when calculating overall average for class rank. 
  5. Grades from Honors (Non-Advanced Placement) courses shall receive a five percent bump when calculating overall average for class rank. 
  6. Final class ranks will be determined based upon all completed courses taken for high school credit, including any high school credits earned in middle school. 
  7. Grades from any completed dual enrollment courses will be considered in calculations of the numerical averages based on the district's conversion scale. In-progress dual-enrollment courses will not be considered. 
  8. Credits earned in lieu of participation in a course shall not be included in the overall average. 
Valedictorian & Salutatorian Designations

 The valedictorian and salutatorian for each graduating class shall be those students pursuing a regular education diploma who have attained the highest academic averages for all courses. No student shall be entitled to be valedictorian or salutatorian who does not enroll at the respective high school during the first ten days of his or her senior year.

The valedictorian will be the student with the highest overall weighted average. The salutatorian will be the student with the second highest overall weighted average. 

The following will also apply: 

  1. For purposes of identifying the valedictorian and the salutatorian for respective classes, the averages shall be computed at the end of the first semester (second nine weeks) of the student’s senior year. 
  2. Individual course grades weighted in accordance with the high school credit value of the course. 
  3. All transfer grades must have been received from a school accredited by Cognia or equivalent accrediting institution. 
  4. Grades from dual-enrollment courses will be considered in calculations of the numerical averages based on the district’s conversion scale. 
  5. Grades from Advanced Placement courses shall receive a 10 percent bump when calculating overall average for honor graduate purposes. 
  6. Grades from Honors (Non-Advanced Placement) courses shall receive a five percent bump when calculating overall average for honor graduate purposes. 
  7. Credits earned in lieu of participating in a course shall not be included in the overall average. 
  8. Students who do not graduate from high school within four regular academic years are not eligible. 
  9. In the event of a tie for valedictorian or salutatorian, the student who has completed more Advanced Placement classes will be named valedictorian or salutatorian for reporting to the Georgia Student Finance Commission. If a tie continues, students’ scores on the Advanced Placement exams will be used to break the tie. 
HOPE Scholarship Program

The Helping Outstanding Students Educationally (HOPE) grant and scholarship programs assist graduating high school students who meet certain academic requirements for financial assistance to attend one of Georgia's public colleges, universities, technical institutes, or in some instances, private institutions. Courses taken in middle school are not used to calculate the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship grade point average. See your child’s school counselor or visit the Georgia Futures website for more information.