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how many classes do you need to fail to get held back in american high schools?

xinglliangxinglliang Posts: 21Registered User New Member
edited July 2012 in High School Life
I was watching a TV show where one of the characters was in danger of being held back a year (10th grade) because he was failing 2 classes (Teen Wolf lol) and it got me interested in the issue of grade retention in general, specifically in the US.
I know the policy can be wildly different depending upon the district/city, not to mention outside of the US..

I was surprised because I remember back in high school - it seemed that if people failed a class or two they'd just have to repeat it in summer school or the next year. They wouldn't get held back completely. After all, in high school you have individual classes unlike in elementary school. You might flunk several classes but then have A's in other ones, it wouldn't make sense for them to force you to repeat classes you received A's in as well. Not to mention the standards for graduating from American high schools are SO low (if I'm not wrong, you only need to pass Algebra 1 to graduate...)

Does anyone know the general policy for American high schools?

I used to think that for a student to be held back in high school, they'd have to be failing most or all of their core classes (math, science, english, history) or have really poor attendance (even though honestly I know a lot of people who graduated who ditched class an insane amount of times).
Post edited by xinglliang on

Replies to: how many classes do you need to fail to get held back in american high schools?

  • PSU85MOMPSU85MOM Posts: 97Registered User Junior Member
    Many districts have a credit policy. This quote is from my kids high school handbook. At this school you most people can earn 8 credits in one year. Some kids take study halls reducing the number of credits earned. This particular high school offers band during homeroom which enables a student to earn 9 credits in each year of high school. Each district has its own policy. Summer school is not offered here at the high school level. You can earn credits online but there is a cost involved with doing that so it is not an option for everyone.

    "Promotion will occur at the end of the year when the student has successfully completed a minimum of four (4) credits to become a sophomore, twelve (12) credits to become a junior and twenty (20) credits to become a senior."
  • SansSerifSansSerif Posts: 692Registered User Member
    At my daughter's high school, you take individual classes during the summer to make up for a failing grade. And the standards for graduation include Algebra 2 and Geometry, Biology and Chemistry, 3 years of social studies/history, 4 years of English, 2 years of a foreign language and a certain amount of electives. (can't remember exact number)
  • ElleyaElleya Posts: 796Registered User Junior Member
    I was about to say each school is different, but yes, it's a credit system.

    At my school, you need 27.5 credits each year to maintain class standing. Each schedule has 35 credits (+1 for mandatory homeroom makes 36), or 34.5 if you have study hall.

    So basically, for each year, by the end of the year you have to earn at least 27.5 credits. To not do that you have to fail 2 major classes (5 credits, math and stuff), or any combination that makes it less than 27.5. If you fail but have above a 50 you can make it up in summer school (F is 59 or lower), otherwise you have to retake it the next year. So you can fail one big class and not be held back, but more is a problem. There are a lot of early intervention classes so I don't personally know anyone (full disclosure: I know almost everyone, small school) who has had to make up a class, no matter how god-awful they did (I know a kid who passed Bio with a solid 60).
  • jonnathanjonnathan Posts: 400Registered User Member
    It's different for each year at my school.
    We take 8 classes a year, and as a freshman you need to pass 6/8 classes for promotion. As a sophomore, you need 13/16 credits, 20/24 for junior, and to graduate you need 28/32 credits.
  • 1Rachel941Rachel94 Posts: 2,116Registered User Senior Member
    You just can't graduate if you don't pass a class that's required to. You don't get held back. You can retake a class as much as you need to graduate
  • 1Rachel941Rachel94 Posts: 2,116Registered User Senior Member
    ETA: You're required to take 4 years of math (they can be the simplest classes too), 4 years of English, 8 elective credits, 1 year of world history, 1 year of USH, 1/2 year of econ, 1/2 year of gov't, 3 years of science and one has to be biology and the one has to be one of the following: integrated science, chemistry, or physics. Foreign language isn't required. An elective is considered anything outside of the basic requirements (so if you have 4 or more science credits, you have 3 science credits and 1 or more elective credits).
  • xinglliangxinglliang Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    "(I know a kid who passed Bio with a solid 60)."

    In all the schools I've been to, you needed at least a C- to go onto the next level (and of course colleges will only accept C- for credit in terms of determining eligibility in A-G courses), so you had lots of kids retaking math and science classes (LOL) to get at least a C. My senior class had about 500 people.

    But I guess for high school purposes alone, a D is passing? I'm not sure now lol

    But yeah, it seems that even if you fail some classes, it only matters if they're required for graduation.

    I found a basic summary of the California high school graduation requirements (although apparently local districts have variations in their policy...):

    High School Graduation Requirements - CalEdFacts (CA Dept of Education)

    "High School Graduation Requirements

    To receive a high school diploma, students must fulfill state and district graduation requirements. State-mandated graduation course requirements (the state minimums) follow:

    Three years of English
    Two years of mathematics (including Algebra I)
    Three years of social science (including U.S. history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; one semester of American government; and one semester of economics)
    Two years of science (including biology and physical science)
    Two years of physical education
    One year of foreign language or visual and performing arts
    Students who successfully complete Algebra I in middle school must still complete a minimum of two years of mathematics in high school. Recognizing that these 13 years of preparation are state minimum requirements, local school boards often set local graduation requirements that exceed the state-mandated requirements. Beginning in the 2005–06 school year, students must pass the California High School Exit Examination to receive a high school diploma. (Please refer to the Testing section for information on this requirement and two methods of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent: the California High School Proficiency Examination and the General Educational Development test.)"
  • goodnoodlegoodnoodle Posts: 1,523Registered User Senior Member
    At my school you can fail 3 classes throughout highschool and graduate. If you fail a class you just retake it next year. You can get additional credits from sports or band
  • xinglliangxinglliang Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    When you guys say failing you're not referring to D's, right? I'm now kind of confused whether a D is considered failing or not by high school standards alone
  • 1Rachel941Rachel94 Posts: 2,116Registered User Senior Member
    Failing is an F. While a D is considered passing, you have to have a 2.0 to graduate.
  • ElleyaElleya Posts: 796Registered User Junior Member
    @xing; before I began looking at college requirements, I thought a C- minimum was crazy. But no, failure means F, or below 59, and that's how it's always been to me. That's why I get annoyed when people tell me "omg I failed," when they didn't get anywheres near an F, because clearly, you passed.
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