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Earning Your Michigan High School Diploma
The state of Michigan requires all high school students meet the Michigan Merit Curriculum and pass the Michigan Merit Exam to earn a state high school diploma. Adult students must also meet these requirements if they were in the eighth grade during or after the 2005-2006 year school year.
Michigan Merit Curriculum
The Michigan Merit Curriculum requires four credits in mathematics, and students must complete one math-related credit during his or her final year of high school enrollment. Elective courses include pre-calculus, business math or math as part of career or technical training. In English, students must acquire four credits that are aligned with subject area expectations, which need to be approved by the State Board of Education. Classes in language arts that emphasize writing, speaking and research are needed. Students must also demonstrate critical thinking skills, including analyzing classic and contemporary literature and film.
In science, students must take three science credits that include biology, physics or chemistry. They must know about scientific inquiry and how science impacts society. In social studies, at least three credits are needed in topics such as world history, geography, U.S. history, economics or civics.
Students must complete two credits in a spoken or written language. A health and physical education requirement is also needed, along with one credit in online learning. Students must complete one credit in visual, performing and applied arts.
The Michigan Merit Exam
The state requires that students take the Michigan Merit Exam, a three-part exam that includes the ACT college entrance exam, job skills testing and subject assessments. Students with severe disabilities may take the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test. More details on the Michigan Merit Curriculum, the Merit exam and adult education are on the state website (michigan.gov).
Options for Adult Students
Adult students may have their high school transcripts reviewed at adult education centers throughout the state to determine if they must comply with the Merit Curriculum and take the accompanying exam. In addition to credits already earned, adult students may qualify for graduation credit if they've done equivalent work in trade school, completed college courses or obtained work or volunteer experience. There are more than 250 Adult Education Center sites statewide, and you may locate them through the Michigan Works Service Center website (michiganworks.org).