Become a High School Graduate Maryland: Program and School Info

In Maryland, individuals who haven't graduated from high school and don't wish to take the GED test have another chance to earn a high school diploma through the External Diploma Program (EDP). This program is designed for students who have life or work experiences that translate into academic skills.

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About the Maryland High School EDP

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Adult Learning's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning administers the External Diploma Program. The EDP allows adults to earn a high school diploma through demonstrating skills that are comparable to different academic areas. Adults may have learned these skills through life experience or work experience. The skills tested through the EDP include reading, social awareness, mathematics, writing, self awareness, aesthetic awareness, oral communication, scientific awareness, consumer awareness and critical thinking.

The EDP is not classroom based. All work is done at a self-guided pace and meetings are one-on-one with the student and EDP personnel.


To qualify for the EDP, a person must be at least 18 years old and not currently enrolled in high school. Students in the program must be able to work independently and keep themselves on track with the requirements of the program. It is also recommended that a student have some specific trade or ability that they have specialized in, such as construction or managing a home.

The EDP requires students to demonstrate academic and life skills through performing practical activities, such as reading from a newspaper, measuring the length of a board or writing a letter. Skills may also be proven through documentation, such as proof of work experience or training.

Completing the Program

To successfully complete the EDP, students must create a skills portfolio and complete evaluations by EDP advisors. The evaluations involve students performing activities that showcase their skills and knowledge. A student's portfolio and evaluation results must showcase 100% scored in 65 competency areas for the student to pass the program. Additionally, students are tested in one unique skills area related to their personal work and life experience. Once the EDP is completed, students are awarded a Maryland high school diploma from the State Board of Education.

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