College & Career Readiness

Most Virginia students earn either an Advanced Studies Diploma or a Standard Diploma.

To graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma, a student must earn at least 26 standard units of credit by passing required courses and electives and at least nine verified units of credit by passing Standards of Learning end-of-course assessments in English, mathematics, science and history. Students who entered the ninth grade in 2013-2014 and afterwards must also successfully complete one virtual course.

To graduate with a Standard Diploma, a student must earn at least 22 standard units of credit by passing required courses and electives, and earn at least six verified credits by passing end-of-course SOL tests or other assessments approved by the Board of Education. Students who entered the ninth grade in 2013-2014 and afterwards must earn a board-approved career and technical education credential to graduate and successfully complete one virtual course.

The Applied Studies Diploma and Modified Standard Diploma are available for certain students with disabilities. To reduce the likelihood of division-level pie charts being suppressed to protect student privacy, these diplomas are combined with Standard Diplomas in the pie chart as “Standard and Other Diplomas.” 

The Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate is based on four years of longitudinal student-level data and accounts for student mobility, changes in student enrollment, and local decisions on the promotion and retention of students. The formula also recognizes that some students with disabilities and English learners are allowed more than the standard four years to earn a diploma and are still counted as “on-time” graduates.

Graduates are defined as students who earn an Advanced Studies Diploma, Standard Diploma, Modified Standard Diploma, or Applied Studies Diploma. On-time graduates are students who earn one of these diplomas within four years of entering the ninth grade. Special education students and English learners who have plans in place that allow them more time to graduate are counted as on-time graduates or as non-graduates when they earn a diploma or otherwise exit high school.

Postsecondary enrollment reports show the number and percent of Virginia high school graduates who enrolled in an institution of higher education within sixteen months of graduating from high school. In keeping with federal reporting requirements, postsecondary enrollment reports only include students who earned an Advanced Studies Diploma, International Baccalaureate Diploma or Standard Diploma; students who earned other Virginia Board of Education-approved diplomas are not counted as graduates in the calculation. Reports are available at the state, division and school levels for all students and for student subgroups.

The data represent the best available estimates at this time of postsecondary enrollment. There is currently no definitive source of all postsecondary enrollment records by state, division or school. Virginia Department of Education and external researchers have determined that the best available estimates contained in the postsecondary enrollment reports are likely underestimates, but capture at least 88 percent of Virginia public high school graduates’ postsecondary enrollments.