New Law Enables 814 Former APS Students to Graduate High School

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has identified at least 814 former students who could soon become diploma recoveryhigh school graduates. Governor Nathan Deal signed a new law that allows APS students who did not earn a passing score on the Georgia High School Graduation Test or other graduation tests, to now be awarded their high school diploma—provided they completed all other requirements for graduation.  APS encourages those former students to come forward and complete a high school diploma Petition form in order to receive their high school diploma.

“This law will have positive, life changing opportunities for former students and their families,” said Dr. Kenya Gilliard, APS school counseling coordinator. “Having a high school diploma opens up job, education and career opportunities not otherwise available to non-graduates.”

The new law retroactively eliminates the Georgia High School Graduation Test as a requirement for students who took the test between 1994 (when the test was established) and the present. The State Board of Education eliminated the test as a requirement for graduation in 2011; however, that elimination did not extend to students who had already taken the test.

The law includes all subjects, forms and versions of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests:

  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies
  • Georgia High School Writing Test, and
  • Basic Skills Tests (Reading, Mathematics, and Writing)

In addition, this new law states that students are no longer required to earn a passing score on any graduation tests to earn a high school diploma. The law also contains additional details and requirements regarding the ability of students no longer enrolled to petition the local board of education for a diploma and a requirement for local school systems to advertise the availability of this opportunity for students whose sole reason for not receiving a high school diploma was due to not passing any part of the graduation tests.

Students no longer need to seek a waiver of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests or the Georgia Basic Skills Tests. Former APS students, who believe they qualify for a high school diploma from Atlanta Public Schools, should visit the Diploma Recovery page on the APS website to complete a high school diploma petition form in order to receive their high school degree. Under this law, there is no deadline to petition for a high school degree.

The classes of students whose records only exist on paper and microfiche will add to the district’s numbers, but APS has already identified 814 students who exited an APS high school with a Certificate of Performance since 1985. That means those students completed all of their course requirements, but failed one or more portions of the state graduation test.  The district is alerting those students via various communications channels including social media that they can request their diplomas.

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