Graduation Plans

The state of Texas has adopted three graduation plans for students that outline the requirements for receiving a Texas high school diploma.  In order to graduate from high school, a student must complete all of the requirements and pass all courses as regulated under a plan.  After graduation, a seal indicating the plan under which the student graduates will be affixed to the transcript.

For more information from the state, feel free to visit TEA’s (Texas Education Agency) State Graduation Requirements.

Also, with the passing of House Bill 5, a student can opt to graduate on the Foundation Plan, created by House Bill 5.  Please contact Mr. Barnett for further details.

The main two college-preparatory plans are:


The governing board of directors encourages and expects every student at Chaparral Star Academy to graduate under the DAP.   The Distinguished Graduation Plan (DAP) is the plan that Star adopts as its default graduation plan.  It is the best state-defined plan with coursework that truly prepares a student for college.  College entrance requirements often mandate the courses included in the DAP, especially those whose strong academics often gain the university recognition.  However, when looking at what a college expects from a student, it’s easy to just look at the requirements, but more difficult to see the idea behind the plan.  The skills, study habits, perseverance and feeling of accomplishment gained from the DAP prepares a student for the rigor and expectations of college.  Whereas a student may earn a B in a course on the DAP, it is the lessons they learned while taking the course that truly prepares them for college life.


The Recommended Plan (RHSP) is the plan under which all students in the state are expected to graduate.  It contains what most universities feel is a minimum standard for prerequisite knowledge for entering freshman.  The main differences between the RHSP and the DAP are: (1) the sequence of math courses (2) number of years of foreign language and (3) the sequence of science courses.  Although at Chaparral Star Academy, the first two are the main differences.

Benefits of the Recommended and Distinguished Programs (from this source)

The state recommends that students enroll in the Recommended or Distinguished programs if at all possible. That’s because there are potential benefits and opportunities that are available only under the more rigorous programs. For this reason, the state requires schools to provide parents with a letter outlining these benefits before their child is allowed to take courses under the Minimum plan.

As stated in the Parent/Guardian Notification of Benefits of the Recommended High School Program for Graduation, benefits of graduating under the RHSP or DAP include:
  • College readiness. Many colleges and universities minimally require the RHSP for admission. In addition, students ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class from an accredited Texas public high school are eligible for automatic admission to most Texas public universities if they have completed the RHSP or the DAP.
  • Recognition. The Recommended High School Program seal will be affixed to the Academic Achievement Record (AAR), or transcript, of students graduating under the RHSP.
  • Test results. Research suggests that students who take additional English, math, social studies, and science courses make higher scores on the SAT® or ACT® college entrance exams. The RHSP requires four credits in each of these core courses.
  • Program participation. The Early High School Graduation Scholarship Program provides tuition and fee assistance to students completing grades 9–12 early or with a significant number of college hours. The Texas Scholars program allows students who participate and graduate to be eligible for Graduation Honors and to compete for certain scholarships. (Students graduating under the minimum plan are not eligible for these scholarship programs.)


Along with any of the graduation plans, students are required to earn a Level II: Satisfactory Performance on each of 5 End-of-Course (EOC) exams – Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II and US History.  Students who earn high school credit through correspondence course or dual enrollment at Austin Community College are still required to pass the corresponding EOC.  However, students who earn high school credit through credit-by-exam are exempt from taking the respective EOC.  Transfer students who took any of the 5 courses at a private school are also exempt from taking the respective EOC given that the private school credit is accredited and accepted by CSA.

Score levels are printed on a student’s transcript, his/her graduation plan and copies are always available for pickup in the front office with advance notice.

Students can also use results on other certified assessments to substitute for the graduation requirement.  However, the student must take the approved replacement assessment before he/she has attempted the course and/or EOC.  In other words, a student cannot opt out of taking the EOC for a future substitute assessment.  The EOC Substitute Assessment Standards Chart details which assessments (and respective scores) can replace the EOC graduation requirement.


According to TAC Chapter 74 Rule 74.38, in order to graduate and receive a high school diploma, a student must receive mandatory CPR training.  Typically, CSA delivers this training annually to 7th graders during PE class and on a specific date for all seniors who have yet to fulfill this requirement.  A student can be exempted from receiving this instruction when the student provides proof of receiving similar CPR instruction from an outside source.

If you are interested in how Chaparral Star Academy aligns its courses with the graduation plans, please refer to CSA Courses vs Graduation Plans.


Mr. Barnett keeps a graduation plan for all high school students.  For an example of the Distinguished Graduation Program for students starting high school in 2011, please look here.