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General Education Information, Educational Instruction

Information for Everyone

Information for Secondary Students

All Florida Statutes cited on these pages are also available on the Florida Legislature website.

Information for Everyone

Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

The Next Generation Sunshine State Standards state what your child is expected to know at different grade levels. The standards are developed by the state, cover every academic subject, and are followed by every public school in Florida. Florida Statute 1003.41

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Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0

The FCAT 2.0, which measures student success with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, includes assessments in reading (grades 3-10), mathematics (grades 3-8), and science (grades 5 and 8) in the 2011-2012 school year. The FCAT 2.0 is traditionally administered in April, with results returned prior to the end of the school year. A separate writing test is given in grade 4, 8, and 10 in February. Florida Statute 1008.22.

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Required Instruction

Each district school board provides all courses required for high school graduation and appropriate instruction designed to ensure that students meet the Sunshine State Standards in the following subject areas: reading and other language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign languages, health and physical education, and the arts. Members of the instructional staff of the public schools teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction. Florida Statute 1003.42

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Maximum Class Size

A constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in November 2003 requires class size restriction to be in place by the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. School districts are required under state law to gradually implement class-size reduction standards. The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for pre-kindergarten through grade 3 may not exceed 18 students. The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 4 through 8 may not exceed 22 students. The maximum number of students assigned to each teacher who is teaching core-curricula courses in public school classrooms for grades 9 through 12 may not exceed 25 students. Florida Statute 1003.03

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Report Cards; End-of-the-Year Status

Report cards are sent home every nine weeks. Schools that differ from this schedule will notify parents when to expect report cards. Report cards are intended to provide information about your child’s progress in school, including grades, behavior and attendance. Grades reflect a teacher’s assessment of your child’s classroom performance, and may include tests, projects, classroom assignments, homework and classroom observations in determining the grades for your child.

A teacher also may indicate on the report card that a conference is needed, some schools arrange for a parent conference to review the report card. Midway through the grading period, many districts send home a progress report so that the student and parents have an idea of how the student is performing. Although parents and students receive numerous reports from the school and teacher, the best information on your child’s progress, work habits, socialization skills, strengths and weaknesses comes from a conference with the teacher.

Students, who demonstrate mastery of the appropriate grade level curriculum by the end of the school year and have met additional school board requirements, if applicable, will be promoted to the next grade. Each student’s progression from one grade to the next must be determined by proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies and science. Parents are notified in writing when it is determined that students are performing below district standards for grade level, and before any decisions are made. Retention decisions are normally made at the end of the school year. Florida Statute 1003.33

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Kindergarten Eligibility

To be eligible for kindergarten children must attain the age of 5 years on or before September 1 of the school year. A student that transfers from an out-of-state school and who does not meet regular age requirements for admission to Florida public schools may be admitted if the student meets the age requirements for the public schools from which he or she is transferring, and if the transfer of the student’s academic credit is acceptable under the rules of the local school board. Compact Rules: Chapter 300 Transfer of Education Records and Enrollment (PDF)

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Information for Secondary Students

High School Graduation   

General Requirements for High School Graduation

To insure understanding of complete graduation requirements, families are encouraged to contact the school district. Florida Statute 1003.428

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High School Graduation Requirements for Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Transfer Students

Students who enter a Florida public school at the eleventh or twelfth grade from out of state or from a foreign country shall not be required to spend additional time in a Florida public school in order to meet the high school course requirements if the student has met all requirements of the school district, state, or country from which he or she is transferring. Transferring students who are not proficient in English should receive immediate and intensive instruction in English language acquisition.

However, to receive a standard high school diploma, a transfer student must earn a 2.0 grade point average and pass the Grade 10 FCAT 2.0. Students who have met all requirements for the standard high school diploma except for passage of the Grade 10 FCAT 2.0 by the end of grade 12 must be provided the following learning opportunities:

  • Participation in an accelerated high school equivalency diploma preparation program during the summer.
  • Upon receipt of a certificate of completion, be allowed to take the College Placement Test and be admitted to remedial or credit courses at a state community college, as appropriate.
  • Participation in an adult general education program for such time as the student requires mastering English, reading, mathematics, or any other subject required for high school graduation. Students attending adult basic, adult secondary, or vocational-preparatory instruction are exempt from any requirement for the payment of tuition and fees, including lab fees. A student attending an adult general education program shall have the opportunity to take the grade 10 FCAT an unlimited number of times in order to receive a standard high school diploma. Florida Statute 1003.433

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High School Equivalency Diploma Program

The Florida Department of Education awards high school equivalency diplomas to candidates who meet the performance standards prescribed by the State Board of Education. Each district school board administers the high school equivalency diploma examinations and the subject area examinations to all candidates pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education.

A candidate for a high school equivalency diploma must be at least 18 years of age on the date of the examination. In extraordinary circumstances, specified in district school board rules, a candidate may take the examination after reaching the age of 16.

Each district school board and area community college have developed a plan for the provision of advanced instruction for those students who attain satisfactory performance on the high school equivalency examination or the subject area examinations or who demonstrate through other means a readiness to engage in postsecondary-level academic work. All high school equivalency diplomas issued by the Florida Department of Education shall have equal status with other high school diplomas for all state purposes, including admission to any state university or community college. Florida Statute 1003.435 Compact Rule SEC 4.101 Graduation (PDF)

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Important Links

Academic Advisement

Students receive academic advisement from school counselors upon entrance into a Florida public high school. Official transcripts are reviewed upon arrival from previous school and are used for reference during the course selection process. Assessment data is used to help identify a student’s academic strengths and career interests such as statewide assessment tests, PSAT, PLAN, SAT and ACT. Academic advisement is ongoing and students may be advised via individual, small group, and/or classroom guidance.

School counselors are available at all middle and high schools to assist students and parents with academic, career and postsecondary education planning. Counselors are able to answer questions related to course schedules, testing, colleges, scholarships and financial aid, vocational programs and career choices. Services such as individual and group counseling are also available through most high school Guidance Departments.

Florida Trend publishes an annual magazine specifically written for Florida students — Florida Trend’s NEXT: Your Future After High School in Florida. In the magazine and on the website, students will find information they need about job opportunities in Florida’s major industries, scholarships, financial aid and more.

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Florida Virtual Campus

The Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) provides a variety of online services for students from Florida's public high schools, colleges, and universities. FLVC's academic advising services make it easy for high school students to prepare for college or a career after graduation. Students can monitor their progress by running evaluations against their transcript information and the requirements for high school graduation, college and career readiness, and Bright Futures Scholarships. In addition, they can explore Florida's college and university offerings (both traditional and distance learning programs), learn about financial aid, and apply for admission. Dual enrolled high school students and those in accelerated education programs can even access online library resources used within Florida's colleges and universities. For more information, visit

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Career and Technical Education

Many school districts offer a wide range of career and technical programs. These programs offer a broad academic foundation, the experience of actually working in a professional working environment, and hands-on learning. Competencies needed in the workplace are introduced into the curriculum by focusing on basic skills, thinking skills, and personal qualities.

If your child chooses a career and technical program, they may receive college credit with the local community college. For additional information, consult the school counselor or career specialist at your child’s school. Florida Statute 1003.491

The Florida Department of Education's Office of Workforce Education provides programs and services to students that lead to success in the workplace and in postsecondary education.

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Middle and High School Grading System

The grading system and interpretation of letter grades used in public high schools is as follows:

  • Grade "A" equals 90 percent through 100 percent, has a grade point average value of 4, and is defined as "outstanding progress."
  • Grade "B" equals 80 percent through 89 percent, has a grade point average value of 3, and is defined as "above average progress."
  • Grade "C" equals 70 percent through 79 percent, has a grade point average value of 2, and is defined as "average progress."
  • Grade "D" equals 60 percent through 69 percent, has a grade point average value of 1, and is defined as "lowest acceptable progress."
  • Grade "F" equals zero percent through 59 percent, has a grade point average value of zero, and is defined as "failure."
  • Grade "I" equals zero percent, has a grade point average value of zero, and is defined as "incomplete."

For the purposes of class ranking, district school boards may exercise a weighted grading system. Florida Statute 1003.437

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Definition of “Credit"

For the purposes of meeting the requirements for high school graduation, one full credit means a minimum of 135 hours of bona fide instruction in a designated course of study that contains student performance standards. In schools that have implemented block scheduling, one full credit means a minimum of 120 hours of bona fide instruction in a designated course of study that contains student performance standards. The hourly requirements for one-half credit are one-half the requirements specified above. Florida Statute 1003.436

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Extracurricular Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities, a student must maintain a 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the previous semester or a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required for required for graduation. SEC. 6.101 Eligibility for Enrollment (PDF)

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