What word comes into your mind first when you think of high school? Perhaps you are thinking about the credit system. If you plan to spend your high school years in Pennsylvania, you might have asked yourself, “how many credits do you need to graduate high school in Pennsylvania?”
Before we dig deeper into this extensive process, you must remember that American states have varying academic systems and graduation policies. In the case of Pennsylvania, the law requires you to complete a total of 21 credits in your bid toward earning a high school diploma. Nonetheless, PA high school credit requirements are not the only qualifications you must fulfill.
The rest of the article bare all the necessary information to fully understand this state’s distinct policies, from revised Pennsylvania high school diploma requirements to credit requirements and everything in between. Read and learn about what you should do.
What is High School Credit?
High school credit is the number of units you must take up in every subject. It analyses your academic performance throughout high school to determine whether you can qualify for graduation. It means you must finish the mandatory high school graduation and credit requirements before pursuing a degree program in college.
High school credits correspond to the bearing of school subjects in terms of time allotment and meeting frequency. In like manner, you are no less of a student if your high school has fewer credit policies. Some states have lower credit requirements than others, but it does not make a state less quality than others.
The Carnegie unit is used in the credit system of most high schools in the United States, including Pennsylvania. According to this evaluation unit, you must complete a minimum of 120 class hours of individual subjects each year. This entails attending classes four or five times per week for 40 to 60 minutes per session, for a total of 36 to 40 weeks per year.
Moreover, 42 American states anchor their academic framework and course curriculum on the common core standards, which focus on developing language, arithmetic, science, speaking, and writing skills necessary for tertiary education.
High schools in Pennsylvania and other states will require you to take elective courses alongside general subjects like mathematics, English, and science to let you pursue your field of passion and interest.
The bottom line is high school credits are the units you need to take up in high school, which is an essential criterion for high school graduation and college application. Some colleges will require you to get a specific credit amount for a particular subject to be eligible for admission.
How Many Credits Should High School Students Earn in Pennsylvania?
Credits are some of the high school requirements by state. If you are studying in Pennsylvania, you must take up a minimum of 21 credits before you qualify for a graduation ceremony. Most Pennsylvania high schools follow the required credits by offering courses in English, mathematics, science, and other fundamental subjects plus your preferred electives.
Remember that some schools do not strictly follow the advised 21 credits. The 21 credits are just a minimum, depending on the school. For example, Ferndale Area School District requires you to have a total of 7 seven credits for math plus science, which is contrary to the suggestion of only six credits. Richland High School, located in Johnstown, mandates students to take up four credits of social studies instead of three and may require you to take five credits of math instead of 3.
Specifically, you need to earn five credits as a freshman to proceed to sophomore. In your second year, you must achieve a total of 10 credits to be accredited for third-year status. To become a senior, you must earn the most credit (16 units) in your junior year.
Nonetheless, these are only some requirements you must obtain before graduating from high school. Please continue reading to learn more about it in the following sections.
What Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in Pennsylvania?
Depending on the Local Education Agency, a total of 21 units or more must be fulfilled before graduation if you are studying high school in Pennsylvania. Some other schools usually offer four credits in math and science. Some even require more credits in social sciences than the usual credits of three.
Although there are required minimum credits in Pennsylvania, your Local Education Agency may impose a new credit requirement. To have a comprehensive view of the standard credit system in Pennsylvania, take a look at the units you need to enroll in.
- English – 4 credits
- Mathematics – 3 credits
- Science – 3 credits
- Social Studies – 3 credits
- Arts and Humanities – 2 credits
- Health or Physical Education – 1 credit
- Elective Courses – 5 credits.
You may pursue electives in business, world languages, visual arts, music, computer science, technology, test prep, etc. This link will route you through the list of specific subjects you can take. Check it out and consider the electives you need to pursue!
Another thing to consider is that not all electives are available in every school. Your desired course could not be open at your enrolled school. It would be best if you still considered the availability of an elective before deciding to take it.
What Exam Do Pennsylvania Students Need to Pass to Graduate?
Along with the PA high school credit requirements, there are some other significant requirements you must pass before graduating, and exit examinations are one of them. Pennsylvania students need to pass the Keystone exams to graduate. Hence, it would be best if you would prepare for it.
Keystone exams are assessment examinations that measure your knowledge in biology, literature, and algebra 1. Education agencies may also add some sections to the test, just like in 2020 when they added civics and government subjects.
The examination is scored on a scale of 1 being the lowest to 4 being the highest grade you may attain. The average passing score is 3. If you fail the test on your first try, do not be dismayed because you still have a second chance to pass it.
In cases where you failed the exam twice, there are extensive options that you may take up in place of it. You may instead pass the International Baccalaureate exams or Advanced Placement. However, it is a very process and may cost you some dollars.
It is essential to prepare for the test so you will pass it on your first try. Note that students with disabilities are exempted from taking it.
3 Pennsylvania High School Graduation Requirements
Similar to any other school in different states, there are requirements that you need to pass before you are qualified for graduation. The list below is the things you need to prepare for if you are planning to study high school in Pennsylvania or if you are a high school senior.
Keystone exams assess your preparedness and aptitude in algebra, literature, and biology to pursue college. Hence, you must take this test and have an advanced or proficient remark. Keystone composite scores may also be required per local agencies.
The standard credit requirement is 21; your Local Education Agency may also impose more credits for other subjects. For example, other schools may have higher math, social studies, and science credits than the usual three credits. If you want to graduate, then follow the advised credit.
Aside from the credit requirements and Keystone exam, you may as well pass alternate exams like SAT, PSAT, or ACT. Some schools may require you to take it, but it is not mandatory. At the end of the day, you need to submit the results of standardized to colleges, so you better take them.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Credits to Graduate High School in Pennsylvania?
Graduating from high school is your doorstep to bigger chances in college. Before setting your eyes on the future, take everything you can do in the present such as passing the credit requirement. Going back, how many credits to graduate high school in Pennsylvania?
It depends on the school, but usually, it is 21 credits. The best thing you can do is take the electives seriously because it is structured in a way that responds to your interest. Instead of worrying about the amount of time you need to invest, make the experience worthwhile. Join extracurricular activities and take electives that will help you in the future.
Want to see how many credits it takes to graduate from high school in other states?