American Diploma Project

and the

Tennessee Diploma Project


The American Diploma Project was created in 1996 by the National Governors Association and business leaders to help states raise academic standards in order to better prepare young people for postsecondary education, work and citizenship.

Currently in 30 States across the U.S., the American Diploma Project has four specific actions:

1. Align standards and assessments with the knowledge and skills required beyond high school.

2. Require all high school students to take challenging courses that actually prepare them for life after high school.

3. Build college and work-ready measures into statewide accountability systems

4. Hold schools accountable for graduating students who are college and/or workforce ready, and hold postsecondary accountable for students’ success once enrolled.

The Tennessee Diploma Project is led by the Tennessee Alignment Committee, a panel of state and local government officials ,and business, postsecondary and K-12 leaders from across the state.

The ADP network gives our state a blueprint for making our standards more rigorous and our graduation requirements more in line with demands of college and work.

The Tennessee Department of Education passed new graduation standards on January 25, 2008 to become effective at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.


Tennessee High School Graduation Requirements
Effective beginning with the ninth grade class entering high school during the 2009-2010 school year

English—4 credits

· English I    1 credit

· English II   1 credit

· English III  1 credit *

· English IV  1 credit *



Math—4 credits (students must take a math each year)

· Algebra I   1 credit

· Geometry  1 credit

· Algebra II   1 credit

· Upper level Math 1 credit

- Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry

- STEM Math (Pre-calculus, Calculus, or Statistics



Social Studies—3.5 credits

· World History or World Geography   1 credit

· U.S. History   1 credit

· Economics   .5 credit

· Government   .5 credit

· Personal Finance   .5 credit

Science—3 credits

· Biology 1 credit

· Chemistry or Physics 1 credit

· Another lab science  1 credit


*AP and dual-credit classes may be substituted


P.E. and Wellness—1.5 credits

· Wellness   1   credit

· Physical Education    .5 credit

May be met by substituting an equivalent time of physical activity in other areas including but not limited to marching band, JROTC, cheerleading, interscholastic athletics and school sponsored intramural athletics.


Fine Art, Foreign Language, and Elective Focus

· Fine Art 1 credit

· Foreign Language 2 credits

· Elective Focus 3 credits

- Students completing a CTE elective focus must complete three units in the same CTE program area or state approved program of study.

- Science and math, humanities, fine arts, or AP/IB

- Other areas approved by local Board of Education

- The Fine Art and Foreign Language requirements may be waived for students who are sure they are not going to attend a University and be replaced with courses designed to enhance and expand the elective focus.

Other changes:

· End of course exams will be given in English I, II, and III, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, U.S. History, Biology I, Chemistry and Physics.  The end-of-of-course exams will count as 25% of the     student’s final grade and will replace Gateway  exams.

· The student will not be required to pass any one examination, but instead the students will need to achieve a passing score for the course average in accordance with the State Board of Education’s uniform grading policy.

· Students will develop one focused program of study preparing them for postsecondary study.  While all students may not enter postsecondary training immediately following high school, they must be prepared for lifelong learning. The focused plan of study will be developed with the student, parent/guardian(s), and faculty advisor or guidance counselor.

· During the eighth grade year, the EXPLORE test will be given to students to assess ACT readiness benchmarks.

· During the tenth grade year, the PLAN test will be given to students to assess ACT readiness benchmarks.

· All students will take the ACT during the eleventh grade year.

· The local Board of Education may require a capstone project such as, but not limited to, a senior project,   virtual enterprise, internship, externship, work-based learning, service learning , or community service project.


Preparing for the Workforce

The Tennessee Diploma Project asked CEO’s from across the state to gather information regarding observations and expectations of high school graduates’ skills and knowledge.  The CEOs stated that graduates needed:

· Stronger math and science skills, but especially need to have mastered basic math

· Stronger communication skills, including both verbal skills and written skills

· To be able to work in teams to solve real work problems

· To be able to think, apply, and use what they know

· To have a strong work ethic; be at work regularly and be on time


What Parents Can Do

· Reinforce the importance of getting to school on time and not cutting class.

· Talk with your child’s teachers about how you can help your child succeed.

· Make academics the top priority for your child.

· Expect the best from your child and seek help if your child is struggling in a class.