Graduation Requirements

High school graduation requirements for the School District of Philadelphia are listed and explained below. This page also offers various resources to help along the way.

Own Your Pathway to Graduation

No matter your child’s age, it is never too early to know what your child needs to graduate high school, and to start creating a graduation plan. And with new graduation pathways that give you more options and flexibility, your pathway to graduation is exactly that – YOURS.

Requirements Overview

What does my student need to do to graduate (graduation requirements)?

Per Act 158, School District of Philadelphia high school students must now meet three requirements in order to graduate ready for success in college, career and life:

1.  Earn 23.5 credits in key content area

    • 4 in English
    • 3 in Mathematics
    • 3 in Science
    • 3 in Social Studies
    • 1 in African American History
    • 2 in World Language
    • 2 in Arts and Humanities
    • 1 in Physical Education
    • 0.5 in Health
    • 4 in electives – One elective must be a college preparatory Mathematics or Science course, an IB course, an AP course, or a terminal CTE course. Schools or programs may predetermine specific subject area elective credits.

2.  Successfully complete a Multidisciplinary Project or a Service Learning Project

3.  Meet the criteria for one of five Pathways to Graduation outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Find detailed information about each pathway in the next section.

    • Pathway 1: Keystone Proficiency
    • Pathway 2: Keystone Composite
    • Pathway 3: Career & Technical Education Concentrator
    • Pathway 4: Alternative Assessment
    • Pathway 5: Evidence-Based Pathways

In addition to the above three requirements:

  • If your child is in a Dual Enrollment Program, they must attend all classes and satisfactorily complete all dual enrollment courses.
  • if your child is in a Career & Technical Education Program, they will also need satisfactorily complete the program and attain all required credits.
    • Additional credits are included in their academic program

What can I do to support my child’s graduation success?

  1. Know and understand the graduation requirements. Use the requirements to create a graduation plan in partnership with your child.
  2. Support your child’s regular attendance in school. Students who attend school consistently are more likely to read on grade level and graduate on time. If your facing challenges that will impact your child’s attendance, contact your child’s principals and teachers to let them know. For additional support, contact the Office of Attendance & Truancy — attendanceandtruancy@philasd.org or 215-400-4830 (option 1).
  3. Sign up for Parent Portal and check your account often. Parent Portal is the best way to monitor your child’s progress, grades, attendance and more. It’s also the best way to receive updates from the District. Don’t have a Parent Portal account yet? Sign up here.
  4. Attend report card conferences. Take advantage of conferences and other opportunities to engage with your child’s teachers and have deeper conversations about your child’s progress. The next conferences are February 1-3, 2023. Check with your child’s school for more details.
  5. Explore academic and enrichment opportunities available at or through your child’s school or throughout the District. Then, talk with your child about opportunities to enhance their learning and find activities aligned to their areas of interest and need, including: tutoring options, credit recovery programs, extra-curricular programs, summer programs, and other resources. Remember to consider resources and opportunities for English Language Learners and students with Individualized Education Plans.
  6. Ask your questions! If you have questions about your child’s progress, reach out to the school’s main office directly and request a conference.

What is Act 158?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has introduced statewide Pathways to Graduation — expanded high school graduation requirements that are currently planned to go into effect beginning this 2022-2023 school year.

This means that in addition to the 23.5 credits and service learning project previously required to graduate, high school students graduating from a Pennsylvania high school starting this school year must meet additional requirements through one of five pathways designed to illustrate their college, career and community readiness.

Each of the five pathways offers a different combination of options that can serve to fulfill the additional graduation requirements.


Act 158 Letter to Parents, October 2022:

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What are the key content areas required to meet the credit requirements?

Earn 23.5 credits in these key content areas:

  • 4 in English
  • 3 in Mathematics
  • 3 in Science
  • 3 in Social Studies
  • 1 in African American History
  • 2 in World Language
  • 2 in Arts and Humanities
  • 1 in Physical Education
  • 0.5 in Health
  • 4 in electives – One elective must be a college preparatory Mathematics or Science course, an IB course, an AP course, or a terminal CTE course. Schools or programs may predetermine specific subject area elective credits.

Download the Graduation Checklist to keep track of progress.
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Download the Family Guide
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Five Pathways to Graduation

Students must meet the criteria for one of five Pathways to Graduation outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Read more about each pathway below or download the Pennsylvania Department of Education Graduations Pathways Visual.

Download the PA Graduations Pathways in your language
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Pathway 1: Keystone Proficiency

  • Score proficient or advanced on each Keystone Exam – Algebra I, Literature, and Biology.

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

Pathway 2: Keystone Composite

  • a student must have taken all three Keystone Exams, earning a score of proficient or advanced on at least one Keystone,

AND

  • score basic on the remaining Keystones AND receive a minimum composite score of 4452 among all three subjects.

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

Pathway 3: Career & Technical Education Concentrator

To qualify for the Pathway III the student must be a CTE Concentrator

  • Pass at least 50% of a CTE program in which they are enrolled

AND do at least one of the following:

  • Earn an aligned industry certification
  • Demonstrate high likelihood of success on industry based competency assessment (NOCTI or NIMS)
  • Take the NOCTI pretest or final exam for those programs without a NOCTI option.

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

AND 

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

Pathway 4: Alternative Assessment

Do ONE of the following:

  • Attain an established score on an alternate assessment for each subject where the student did not score proficiency AP(3), IB(4), ACT(21), PSAT(970), SAT (1010), WorkKeys(Gold), ASVAB (31)
  • Successfully complete a concurrent course (dual-enrollment) for each Keystone a student did not score proficient
  • Successfully complete an approved pre-apprenticeship program
  • Be accepted into an accredited 4-year non-profit institution of higher education and have evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

AND

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

Pathway 5: Evidence-Based Pathways

At least one of the following:

  • Alternative assessment WorkKeys(Silver)*, AP(3), IB(3)*
  • Acceptance into an accredited other-than- 4-year non-profit institution of higher education and have evidence of the ability to enroll in college-level coursework*
  • Successful completion of a concurrent dual-enrollment
  • Successful completion of a postsecondary course*
  • Attainment of an Industry-recognized Credentials (Non-CTE students)*

Up to two of the following:

  • Attainment of Proficient or Advanced on more than one Keystone Exam
  • Service Learning project completion
  • Letter guaranteeing full time employment or military enlistment
  • Internship or Cooperative Education Program
  • Compliance with NCAA’s course for college-bound student athletes

Note: All students must meet local graduation requirements: credits/passing courses

AND 

Earn a passing grade in content area where student did not score proficient on Keystone exam

*These pieces of evidence are differ from other pathways

Graduation Pop-Up Events

Free giveaways. Information about graduation requirements.

  • Saturday, March 9 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA
  • Sunday, March 10 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Oregon Avenue, 330 W. Oregon Ave (24th St and Oregon Ave) Phila, PA
  • Saturday, March 16 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Fox Street, 3400 Fox St Unit A, Phila, PA
  • Sunday, March 17 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA
  • Saturday, March 23 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA
  • Sunday, March 24 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Parkside, 1575 North 52nd Street & Jefferson, Parkside, PA 19131
  • Saturday, April 6 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Cheltenham, 2471 W Cheltenham Ave Suite A, Wyncote, PA 19095
  • Sunday, April 7 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA
  • Saturday, April 13 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA
  • Sunday, April 14 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Oregon Avenue, 330 W. Oregon Ave (24th St and Oregon Ave) Phila, PA
  • Saturday, April 20 | noon – 3 p.m.
    ShopRite of Fox Street, 3400 Fox St Unit A, Phila, PA
  • Sunday, April 21 | noon – 4 p.m.
    The Fashion District/Gallery Place, 9th & Market Sts, Phila, PA

Academic Enrichment

These district-wide offerings are opportunities for students to explore and engage with core curriculum aimed to increase student readiness for college and career.

  • Virtual Tutoring – Virtual tutoring for all students in grades K-12. Reading and Mathematics support is offered to our elementary and middle school students.
    Students in high school can get help with Algebra 1 and 2, English 1, 2, 3, and 4, and Science. Click here for more information.
  • Test Prep Resource – This platform offers students help with the KEYSTONE, ACCUPLACER, ACT and SAT exams. Add these practice programs to your Imagine Edgenuity account by following these steps: Test Prep Resource Steps
  • Afterschool Enrichment  – After-school programming that incorporates compelling and stimulating experiences, combined with co-curricular opportunities including arts and athletics. Click here for more information.
  • Summer Programs – Summer learning programs are proven to maintain and advance students’ academic and social growth. All students entering grades K-12 are eligible and encouraged to participate! Click here for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs to meet the PA state graduation requirements?

All high school students in the state of Pennsylvania, including those planning to graduate from the School District of Philadelphia.

How and when will students be informed if they are or are not meeting the graduation requirements?

By the end of October, high schools will send letters to each sophomore, junior and senior (and their families) that explain the following:

  • credits attained to date;
  • the status of their service learning project;
  • which pathway represents the best opportunity to graduate on time;
    and
  • what else may be needed to successfully meet the expanded graduation requirements.

This could include tutoring, credit recovery programs, internships and work-based experiences within the school-year and during the summer.
Starting October 10, 2022, students and parents/guardians will be able to monitor their progress towards meeting the graduation pathways through their student and parental portals respectively, on an ongoing basis. Graduation readiness updates will be provided throughout the year via quarterly report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

How can students & families track graduation requirements?

Students and parents/guardians can monitor their progress towards meeting the graduation pathways through their student and parental portals respectively, on an ongoing basis. Graduation readiness updates will be provided throughout the year via quarterly report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

How can families and the public access school-level data related to all five graduation pathways?

Families will have access to their student’s information beginning the week of October 10th, 2022.

What else should families do to prepare?

Families and students are highly encouraged to attend parent/family-teacher conferences to discuss plans with your child’s teachers and counselors, and contact your child’s school directly with questions.

If tutoring, credit recovery programs or other supports within the school year and during the summer are suggested as part of your child’s graduation plan, please work with your child’s school to ensure your child is enrolled/registered for these programs and supports as needed.

When should students start to think about preparing to meet graduation requirements through alternative pathways?

Students and families should start thinking about and understanding graduation requirements as they are applying to high-schools (the School Selection process), and have an early plan for their pathway to graduation upon entering high school as freshmen. This way, students will also understand their pathway options after all three Keystones have been completed.

In addition, students and their families should also review the requirements and progress towards pathways at regular intervals throughout the student’s high school career.

What resources are in place to ensure students have the supports they need to graduate?

Currently, the District offers a variety of centralized and school-level support for students, and we are constantly developing and implementing additional resources. Please make sure to check in with your child’s school, and return to this website often to stay up to date with available resources.

 

Where can I find work-based learning opportunities to help meet alternative pathway requirements?

Current partnerships and opportunities for  work-based learning, service learning, colleges/trade schools, and more are listed on the District’s Post-Secondary Readiness Opportunity Hub. This list will be updated as new partnerships are secured.

Is there a certain score a CTE student must achieve on the NOCTI exam to qualify for Pathway 3?

CTE students must be a CTE Concentrator (completed 50% of the program hours, for the program in which they are enrolled) and exhibit likelihood to pass the NOCTI pretest for programs with a NOCTI option.

Which exams qualify a student for the Alternative Assessment Pathway (Pathway 4)?

AP (3)
IB (4)
PSAT 970+
SAT (1010)
ACT (21)
ASVAB (31)
ACT WorkKey (Gold Level)

How long do students have to attempt the Keystone-specific pathways?

Students should review their scores after each Keystone Exam is taken.

After all three Keystone Exams (end of 10th grade) are taken a student should begin working towards the completion of a non-Keystone score pathway.

A student who scores Basic or Below Basic may request to retake the assessment over the course of their time in high school.

Do seniors need to have a score of proficient or advanced on all three Keystone Exams (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology) to graduate in 2024?

Students do not need to score proficient or advanced on all three Keystone Exams. If proficiency is not met for all Keystone Exams a student should explore Pathways 2-5.

  • To graduate via Pathways 2 students must score a Proficient or Advanced score on at least one Keystone exam and a composite score of 4452.
  • To graduate via Pathways 3,4, or 5 students must pass the Keystone tested subject and provide other pieces of evidence.

What if a student opts out of Keystone Testing?

The student will be ineligible for Pathways 1 and 2. The student would strive to graduate via pathways 3, 4, or 5.

Is a student permitted or required to retake a Keystone Exam after receiving a Basic or Below Basic score?

Students are not required to retake Keystones where they did not score Proficient or Advanced, however retakes are encouraged for students who would like to retest. Schools will provide students with additional opportunities to retake Keystone Exams should they have a previous attempt that resulted in a Basic or Below Basic score.

If a student earns proficient and/or advanced scores on all keystones, are they eligible to graduate?

Students that earn proficient and/or advanced scores on the Keystones have satisfied Pathway 1. However, the students must also ensure they meet District-specific graduation requirements as well – completion of a service learning project and completion of 23.5 subject-specific credits.

What are the District-specific graduation requirements?

In addition to meeting the requirements of one of the five PDE pathways, District students must:

Complete a Service Learning Project, and
Earn 23.5 subject-specific credits (plus applicable CTE credits if the student is enrolled in a CTE program):

Course Credits
English 4
Mathematics 3
Science 3
Social Studies 3
African American History 1
World Language 2
Arts & Humanities 2
Health 0.5
Phys. Ed.

1
Electives *

4
Total 23.5

Whose responsibility is it to match students up with service learning, alternative assessments and internships?

When it comes to applying for and participating in service learning, internships and assessments, students are supported by counselors, teachers or other staff members in the school. Specific questions should be directed to those school-based staff members.

How does this affect students with disabilities or special needs?

If a student with a disability is unable to satisfy pathway requirements but satisfactorily completes a special education program, they will be granted a diploma under Title 22 §4.24.

Are graduation requirement waivers available for students?

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education (PSBE) is identifying circumstances for which pathway-specific graduation requirements may be waived for certain students in the graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025. The District is working with PSBE to clarify these circumstances. Please know that waivers will likely only be applicable for a very limited number of students.

Video Gallery

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Contact Us

For support and information specific to your student’s graduation progress,  please contact your child’s school, beginning with the school’s Main Office. Request a conference with school staff (school leaders, Climate Managers, teachers, Special Education Compliance Monitors and counselors).

For general graduation requirements and Pathways to Graduation questions and support:

gradreq@philasd.org; 215-400-6108

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