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Policy-Code-IKF

Graduation Requirements

Section I: Instructional Program

Policy Title: Graduation Requirements
Policy Code: IKF

Print Version (In PDF)

Graduation requirements for Tucson Unified School District are to be completed during grades nine to twelve with some courses offered for high school credit at the 8th grade level.

Graduation Requirements

A minimum number of units of credit are required for graduation by the Arizona State Board of Education. Listed below are the units that must be completed before a student may receive a high school diploma:

Subject Units Description
English 4.0
Math 4.0 Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II (or equivalent), and an additional course with significant math content as determined by the Governing Board

In lieu of one (1) credit of Algebra II or its equivalent course content a student may request a personal curriculum in mathematics following R7-2-302.03.

Pursuant to the prescribed graduation requirements adopted by the State Board of Education, the Governing Board may approve a rigorous computer science course that would fulfill a mathematics course required for graduation from high school. The Governing Board may only approve a rigorous computer science course if it includes significant mathematics content and the Governing Board determines the high school where the rigorous computer science course is offered has sufficient capacity, infrastructure, and qualified staff, including competent teachers of computer science.
Science 3.0 Biology by end of sophomore year. Three (3) credits of science in preparation for proficiency at the high school level on a state required test.
Social Studies 3.0 American Government, including civics and Arizona Government (.5), American History including Arizona History (1.0), World History and Geography (1.0), and Economics (.5) (shall include financial literacy and personal financial management).

Through the graduating class of 2025, the competency requirements for social studies shall include a requirement that, in order to graduate from high school or obtain a high school equivalency diploma, a pupil must correctly answer at least sixty (60) of the one hundred (100) questions listed on a test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Beginning with the graduating class of 2026, the competency requirements for social studies shall include a requirement that, in order to graduate from high school or obtain a high school equivalency diploma, a pupil must correctly answer at least seventy (70) of the one hundred (100) questions listed on a test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

The District shall document on the pupil's transcript only a pass or fail designation that the pupil has passed or failed the test. The Governing Board may determine the method and manner in which to administer a test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  A pupil who does not obtain a passing score on the test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test may retake the test until the pupil obtains a passing score.

A pupil in grade seven (7) or eight (8) may take the test described in this paragraph, and if the pupil correctly answers at least seventy (70) of the one hundred (100) questions on the test:
a) The district school or charter school shall document on the pupil's transcript only a pass or fail designation that the pupil has passed or failed the test required by this paragraph.
b) The pupil is not required to take the test required by this paragraph again in high school.
Fine Arts or Career, Technical and Vocational Education 1.0
Health 0.5
Physical Education 1.0 Alternative Method for Earning Physical Education Credit: Students who participate in physical sports or activities may, upon certification of completion of the required hours of instruction as set forth in Exhibit IKF-E, opt to complete an assessment, a written test aligned with Arizona State Standards for physical education. If the assessment is successfully completed, the student will earn one Physical Education Credit.
Electives 6.5
Total Credits 23
 

Regular Education

Graduation requirements as determined by the Arizona State Board of Education (R7-2-302.02) and the District Governing Board may be met as follows:

  1. By successful completion of subject area course requirements.
  2. By mastery of the standards adopted by the State Board of Education and other competency requirements for the subject as determined by the Governing Board in accord with A.A.C. R7-2-302.02 and rules established by the Superintendent.
  3. By earning credits through correspondence courses (limited to one [1] in each of the four [4] major subject areas) and/or by passing appropriate courses at the college or university level if the courses are determined to meet standards and criteria established by the Board and in accord with A.R.S. 15-701.01.
  4. An out-of-state transfer student is not required to pass the competency test to graduate if the student has successfully passed a statewide assessment test on state adopted standards that are substantially equivalent to the State Board Adopted Academic Standards.

Other Requirements

Four full years of attendance are required; however, a student may accelerate their educational program and graduate without four (4) complete years with the approval of the principal or designee.

All high school students must take a full load of academic courses, 6 or more depending on school schedules. A full load of academic courses may be taken at any TUSD high school which may include, but not limited to:

•       JTED programs

•       Pima or other higher education courses

•       Distance Learning

•       Correspondence course

•       Work experience

•       Internships

This requirement may be waived by the principal or designee on a case-by-case basis and the circumstances for each individual. A student must submit the form High School Student’s Request for a Reduced Schedule (Exhibit 1) to their primary school administrator to be considered.

Endorsements and Other School Embellishments

Students have a variety of career goals and TUSD responds to these needs for student achievement by providing alternative school programs. Satisfactory completion of these programs is recognized through additional endorsements.

Exceptional Education

Listed above, under "Regular Education," are the requirements that must be completed before a student may receive a high school diploma.  The following exceptions will apply:
  • One-course substitution from any required academic area may be considered. The maximum number of course substitutions allowed is four.
  • The alternative course that will serve as a substitution must contain comparable content material.
  • Consideration for course waiver will be limited to the following:
    • Physical Education is required with adaptations to the extent possible but may be waived for students receiving exceptional education who are physically, mentally, or emotionally unable to complete the requirements.

Completion of graduation requirements for exceptional education students who do not meet the required units of credit shall be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the exceptional education course of study and the individualized education program (“IEP”) of the student.  Graduation requirements established by the Governing Board may be met by a student as defined in A.R.S. 15-701.01 and A.A.C. R7-2-302.

Students who receive exceptional education shall not be required to achieve passing scores on the test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test under section 15-701.01 in order to graduate from high school unless the student is learning at a level appropriate for the student's grade level in a specific academic area and unless a passing score on the test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test under section 15-701.01 is specifically required in a specific academic area by the student's IEP as mutually agreed on by the student's parents and the student's IEP team or the student, if the student is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

Students who are physically, mentally, or emotionally incapable of completing or benefiting from the course of study prescribed by the Arizona Board of Education and Tucson Unified School District will be provided an alternative course of study developed by the multi-disciplinary conference/individual education plan committee and will satisfy an individualized graduation plan. Such students would receive a diploma upon completion of their individualized graduation plan.

Any student who is placed in exceptional education classes, grades nine (9) through twelve (12), is eligible to receive a high school diploma without meeting state competency requirements.

Transfer Students
High School credits earned in other schools and presented by transfer students toward graduation at TUSD shall be evaluated for approval by the high school principal. The principal may make exceptions to the specific graduations requirements provided that:

  • The student has done satisfactory work since the date of transfer;
  • The student has been unable to meet the specific requirements due to conditions beyond their control; and
  • The student would have graduated from the other school if they had not transferred.

All such exceptions to the established graduation requirements must be reported in writing to the superintendent.

Graduation Exercises Participation
In order to participate in graduation exercises and receive a diploma, a student must have successfully completed Arizona State and TUSD graduation requirements. The student must also have been enrolled in and successfully completed the last semester at the Tucson Unified School District high school where they are officially registered.

Exceptional Education students who have chronologically "aged out" of high school and will continue in a community-based education will also be allowed to participate in graduation exercises, but will not receive a diploma or certificate.

State Seal of Biliteracy
The School District may voluntarily participate in the state seal of biliteracy program by notifying the Superintendent of Public Instruction of such intention.  Schools will then identify the students who have met the requirements to be awarded the state seal of biliteracy, which shall be affixed to the diploma and noted on the transcript of each student who has met the requirements.

CPR Instruction and Training
School districts and charter schools shall provide public school students with one (1) or more training sessions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, through the use of psychomotor skills in an age-appropriate manner, during high school.

Adopted: May 11, 2004
Revised: January 18, 2005
Revised: August 9, 2005
Revised: February 28, 2006
Revised: July 24, 2007
Revised: February 14, 2008
Revised: March 11, 2008
Reviewed: December 9, 2008
Revised: January 12, 2010
Reviewed: August 8, 2012
Revised: January 17, 2013 [Cross Reference Correction Only]
Revised: December 9, 2014
Revised: November 29, 2022

Legal Ref:
A.R.S. 15-203 Powers and Duties
15-341 General powers and duties; immunity; delegation.
15-701.01 High school; graduation; requirements
15-741 Assessment of pupils
A.A.C. R7-2-302.04 Minimum Course of Study and Competency Requirements for Graduation from High School

Cross Ref: IGE - Curriculum Guides and Course Outlines
IKA - Grading/Assessment Systems