Earning Your District of Columbia High School Diploma!

Earning a high school diploma can be a student's first step to starting a new career or advancing his or her education. The District of Columbia offers several alternatives for students who didn't earn their high school diplomas through the traditional high school system.

Earning a High School Diploma in the District of Columbia

District of Columbia students who didn't earn their high school diplomas can participate in the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) or earn their General Educational Development (GED) credential. The District of Columbia also offers English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes.

High School Graduation Requirements

The District of Columbia requires its high school students to earn at least 24 credits in order to graduate. These are broken down into four credits of social studies, four credits of science, four credits of English, four credits of mathematics, two credits of world languages, 1.5 credits of health and physical education, half a credit of music and half a credit of art. Additionally, at least two credits must be earned in approved college or career prep courses, and students must complete 200 hours of physical activity and 100 hours of community service. More information about these requirements can be found through the District of Columbia Public Schools (dc.gov).

National External Diploma Program

The NEDP program is a high school diploma equivalency program designed for adults and out-of-school youth. Instead of relying on coursework, participants use their life and professional skills to show their competency in 70 different areas. The NEDP is composed of both a diagnostic phase and an assessment phase. During the diagnostic phase, participants' skills are evaluated, and during the assessment phase, participants demonstrate academic, vocational and professional abilities through tests that might evaluate their knowledge and skills.

GED High School Equivalency Diploma

District of Columbia residents can also earn a District of Columbia High School Equivalency Credential by taking the GED test. The GED evaluates academic skills and knowledge according to the Common Core Standards established for high school graduates in school districts throughout most of the United States. GED candidates take four separate assessment tests that cover language arts, math, science and social studies. The tests, which are taken on computer and are available in English and Spanish, measure writing and problem-solving skills and an individual's ability to read, interpret and analyze different types of information presented in reading passages, charts, maps, diagrams and tables. Sample questions and practice tests are available on the GED website, GED.com. Adult education programs and centers that offer classes and support for people preparing for the GED can be found on the Office of the State Superintendent website at osse.dc.gov/afe.

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