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Lifelong Learning
Moorhead Area Public Schools Graduation Policy
Type: School Board Policy
Code: 640
Adopted Date: 7/30/1985
Revised Date(s): 02/11/2008, 06/14/2010, 11/12/2013, 12/11/2017, 06/25/2018, 06/13/2019
Reviewed Date(s): 04/01/1990, 04/14/1994, 06/08/1998, 05/09/2005, 04/10/2006, 02/11/2008, 06/14/2010, 11/12/2013, 12/11/2017, 06/25/2018


The purpose of this policy is to set forth requirements for graduation from Moorhead Area Public Schools.


Moorhead High School is a comprehensive high school. Diplomas are awarded to all graduates who meet the requirements established by the Moorhead School Board and the Minnesota Department of Education.

It is the policy of the Moorhead Area Public Schools that all students entering grade 9 in the 2012-13 school year and earlier must satisfactorily complete all credit requirements, all state and local academic standards and successfully pass graduation examinations as established by the School Board in order to graduate.

For students entering grade 9 in the 2013-2014 school year and later, the school district’s policy is that students must demonstrate, as determined by the school district, their satisfactory completion of the credit requirements and their understanding of academic standards on a nationally normed college entrance exam.  The school district must adopt graduation requirements that meet or exceed state graduation requirements established in law or rule. (Please refer to Administrative Procedure 640.1: Middle and High School Completion.)


A. “Academic standard” means: (1) a statewide adopted expectation for student learning in the content areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, or the arts, or (2) a locally adopted expectation for student learning in health, career and technical education, or world languages.

B. “Credit” means a student's successful completion of an academic year of study or a student's mastery of the applicable subject matter, as determined by the school district.

C. "Section 504 Accommodation" means the defined appropriate accommodations or modifications that must be made in the school environment to address the needs of an individual student with disabilities.

D. "Individualized Education Program," or "IEP," means a written statement developed for a student eligible by law for special education and services.

E. "Limited English Proficient" or ”EL” students means an individual whose first language is not English and whose test performance may be negatively impacted by lack of English language proficiency.

F. “GRAD” means the graduation-required assessment for diploma that measures the reading, writing, and mathematics proficiency of high school students. 


The assistant superintendent of learning and accountability shall be named the district assessment coordinator. Said person shall be in charge of all test procedures and shall bring recommendations to the School Board annually for approval.


For students enrolled in grade 8 in the 2012-2013 school year and later, students’ state graduation requirements, based on a longitudinal, systematic approach to student education and career planning, assessment, instructional support, and evaluation, include the following:

A. encouragement to participate in a nationally normed college entrance exam in grade 11 or grade 12; 

B. achievement and career and college readiness tests in mathematics, reading, and writing.  The tests must have a continuum of empirically derived, clearly defined benchmarks focused on students’ attainment of knowledge and skills so that students, their parents, and teachers know how well students must perform to have a reasonable chance to succeed in a career or college without the need for postsecondary remediation.  In addition, the tests must ensure that the foundational knowledge and skills for students’ successful performance in postsecondary employment or education and articulated series of possible targeted interventions are clearly identified and satisfy Minnesota’s postsecondary admission requirements.  To the extent available, the tests should:

1. monitor students’ continuous development of and growth in requisite knowledge and skills; analyze students’ progress and performance levels, identifying students’ academic strengths and diagnosing areas where students require curriculum or instructional adjustments, targeted interventions, or remediation; and

2. based on analysis of students’ progress and performance data, determine students’ learning and instructional needs and the instructional tools and best practices that support academic rigor for the student; and

C. consistent with this paragraph and Minn. Stat. 120B.125, age-appropriate exploration and planning activities and career assessments to encourage students to identify personally relevant career interests and aptitudes and help students and their families develop a regularly reexamined transition plan for postsecondary education or employment without need for postsecondary remediation.

D. Based on appropriate state guidelines, students with an IEP may satisfy state graduation requirements by achieving an individual score on the state-identified alternative assessments.

E. Students meeting the state graduation requirements under this section must receive targeted, relevant, academically rigorous, and resourced instruction which may include a targeted instruction and intervention plan focused on improving the student’s knowledge and skills in core subjects so that the student has a reasonable chance to succeed in a career or college without need for postsecondary remediation.

F. Students meeting the state graduation requirements under this section and who are students in grade 11 or 12 and who are  identified as academically ready for a career or college must be actively encouraged by the school district to participate in courses and programs awarding college credit to high school students.  Students are not required to achieve a specified score or level of proficiency on an assessment under this subdivision to graduate from high school.

G. A student's progress toward career and college readiness must be recorded on the student's high school transcript. 


Students beginning 9th grade in the 2011-2012 and 2012-13 school years must successfully complete, as determined by the school district, the following high school level credits for graduation:

A. Four credits of language arts;

B. Three credits of mathematics, encompassing at least algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability sufficient to satisfy the academic standard.

C. Students in the graduation class of 2015 and beyond must complete an algebra I credit by the end of 8th grade sufficient to satisfy all of the 8th grade standards in mathematics; 

 D. Three credits of science, including at least: (a) one credit in biology; (b) one chemistry or physics credit or a career and technical education credit that meets standards underlying the chemistry, physics, or biology credit or a combination of those standards approved by the school district;  and (c) one elective credit of science. 613-7 The combination of credits must be sufficient to satisfy (i) all of the academic standards in either chemistry or physics and (ii) all other academic standards in science;

E. Three and one-half credits of social studies, encompassing at least United States history, geography, government and citizenship, world history, and economics, or three credits of social studies, encompassing at least United States history, geography, government and citizenship, and world history, and one-half credit of economics taught in a school’s social studies, agriculture education, or business department; sufficient to satisfy all of the academic standards in social studies;

F. One credit in the arts; sufficient to satisfy all of the state or local academic standards in the arts;

G. One credit Moorhead Area Public School District Standards, Fitness

H. .5 credit Moorhead Area Public School District Standards, Wellness

 I. .5 credit 9th grade Explore Class

J. A minimum of  9.5 elective credits.

K. Credit equivalencies

1. A one-half credit of economics taught in a school’s agriculture education or business department may fulfill a one-half credit in social studies under Paragraph E., above, if the credit is sufficient to satisfy all of the academic standards in economics.

2. An agriculture science or career and technical education credit may fulfill the elective science credit required under Paragraph D., above, if the credit meets the state physical science, life science, earth and space science, chemistry, or physics academic standards or a combination of these academic standards as approved by the school district. An agriculture or career and technical education credit may fulfill the credit in chemistry or physics required under Paragraph D., above, if the credit meets the state chemistry or physics academic standards as approved by the school district. A student must satisfy either all of the chemistry or physics academic standards prior to graduation. An agriculture science or career and technical education credit may not fulfill the required biology credit under Paragraph D., above.

3. A career and technical education credit may fulfill a mathematics or arts credit requirement under Paragraph B. or Paragraph F., above.

4. A computer science credit may fulfill a mathematics credit requirement under Paragraph B., above, if the credit meets state academic standards in mathematics.

5. A Project Lead the Way credit may fulfill a science or mathematics or science credit requirement under Paragraph B. or Paragraph D., above, if the credit meets the state academic standards in science or mathematics or science. 


A. All students must demonstrate their understanding of the following academic standards:

1. Moorhead Area Public School District Standards, Health (K-12);

2. Moorhead Area Public School District Standards, Vocational and Technical Education (K-12); and

3. Moorhead Area Public School District, World Languages (K-12).

B. Academic standards in health, world languages, and vocational and technical education will be reviewed on a periodic basis as a part of the curriculum review cycle. 

C. All students must satisfactorily complete the following required Graduation Standards in accordance with the standards developed by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE):

1. Minnesota Academic Standards, Language Arts K-12;

2. Minnesota Academic Standards, Mathematics K-12;

3. Minnesota Academic Standards, Science K-12;

4. Minnesota Academic Standards, Social Studies K-12; and

5. Minnesota Academic Standards, Arts K-12.

6. Minnesota Academic Standards, Physical Education K-12. 

D. The academic standards for language arts, mathematics, and science apply to all students except the very few students with extreme cognitive or physical impairments for whom an IEP team has determined that the required academic standards are inappropriate.  An IEP team that makes this determination must establish alternative standards.


Students may be considered for early graduation, as provided for within Minn. Stat. 120B.07 upon meeting the following conditions:

1. All course or standards and credit requirements must be met.

2. The building administrator or designee shall conduct an interview with the student and parent(s)/guardian(s), familiarize the parties with opportunities available in post-secondary education, and arrive at a timely decision.

3. The building administrator's decision shall be in writing and may be subject to review by the Superintendent and School Board.


Students must attend Moorhead Area Public Schools for one semester immediately before graduation to be considered for special honors. All students must meet state and district requirements for graduation. An exemption to the district requirements of the 9th grade Explore Class may be made for student transfers during or after his/her freshman year. For purposes of placement and credit toward graduation requirements, students in grades 9-12 enrolling in Moorhead High School after a semester or more of attending a school other than Moorhead Area Public Schools must complete necessary forms and organize and submit documentation regarding the work which was completed and for which district credit is requested.

Documents should include:

1. Course descriptions and number of credits being requested.

2. Detail about the hours of instruction for each course for which credit is sought. Such hours should be equivalent to or greater than the number which would have occurred in the school district for the same or similar courses.

3. Evidence that the student sufficiently mastered the curriculum, including such items as standardized test results, subject tests, papers, and other examples of work.

The school district will review official transcripts from all schools. The district will determine the amount of credit awarded and/or the grades recorded on the district transcript. Grades may include pass, fail or letter grades. 


Legal References:
Minn. Stat. 120B.02 (Educational Expectations for Minnesota's Students)
Minn. Stat. 120B.018 (Definitions)
Minn. Stat. 120B.07 (Early Graduation)
Minn. Stat. 120B.11 (School District Process)
Minn. Stat. 120B.021 (Required Academic Standards)
Minn. Stat. 120B.023 (Benchmarks)
Minn. Stat. 120B.024 (Graduation Requirements; Course Credits)
Minn. Stat. 120B.30 (Statewide Testing and Reporting System)
Minn. Stat. 120B.125 (Planning for Students' Successful Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment; Involuntary Career Tracking Prohibited)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.0640-3501.0655 (Academic Standards for Language Arts)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.0700-3501.0745 (Academic Standards for Mathematics)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.0800-3501.0815 (Academic Standards for the Arts)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.0900-3501.0955 (Academic Standards in Science)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.1000-3501.1190 (Graduation-Required Assessment for Diploma) (repealed Minn. L. 2013, Ch. 116, Art. 2, 22)
Minn. Rules Parts 3501.1300-3501.1345 (Academic Standards for Social Studies)
Minn. Rules Part 3505.1150, Subpart 1, Item B (2012) (Awarding Science, Mathematics, or Arts Credits through Career and Technical Education)
20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq. (Every Student Succeeds Act)
Cross References:
Moorhead School Board Policy 104: Mission Statement
Moorhead School Board Policy 660: Moorhead Area Public School State Mandated Testing Plan and Procedure
Moorhead School Board Policy 601: Curriculum and Instruction Goals of Moorhead Area Public Schools
Moorhead School Board Policy 231: Instruction and Curriculum Advisory Committee
Moorhead School Board Policy 620: Selection of Textbooks and Instructional Materials
Moorhead School Board Policy 650: School District System Accountability
Moorhead School Board Policy 653: Credit for Learning of Minnesota Graduation Standards
Moorhead School Board Policy 656: GRAD Testing, Accommodations, Modifications, and Exemptions for IEPs, Section 504 Accommodations and LEP Students
MSBA/MASA Model Policy 613: Graduation Requirements