Transfer Students and Graduation Requirements
In the State of Ohio, each student must meet a set of requirements to earn a high school diploma. In general, students transferring into an Ohio public school are required to comply with existing Ohio law and meet Ohio graduation requirements to earn a high school diploma. Transfer students include students who were previously homeschooled in Ohio or another state and students who attended an:
- Out-of-state school,
- Ohio chartered nonpublic school, or
- Ohio non-chartered, nonpublic school.
All students, including transfer students, in the classes of 2023 and beyond must demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired by meeting the following three requirements on their pathway to graduation:
- Course Completion: Earn the required credits to complete the curriculum requirements of the school from which they are graduating,
- Competency Demonstration: Demonstrate competency on Algebra I and English Language Arts II end-of-course assessments or demonstrate competency through an alternative demonstration, and
- Readiness Demonstration: Earn two diploma seals, one of which must be a state-defined seal.
In some cases, flexibility may be provided to transfer students. More details on potential flexibility in some cases are outlined in this document.
Earning Credits and Curriculum Requirements
Ohio law outlines the course requirements all students must complete to earn a high school diploma. Ohio students must earn a minimum of 20 course units in specified subject areas. Districts and schools may have requirements that exceed the state minimums outlined below.
|General Course Requirements
| English language arts
| Physical education
| Social studies
Students must receive instruction in economics and financial literacy* (in high school) and complete at least two semesters of fine arts** (during grades 7-12).
*Recently passed Senate Bill 1 now requires students in the class of 2026 and beyond to earn ½ credit of financial literacy. More information on this will be forthcoming.
**Fine arts may not be required for students in a career-tech program unless it is a component of local course requirements.
Students transferring into Ohio schools will share their previous high school transcripts with the school in which they are enrolling. In this case, the school receiving the student will typically make determinations on how previously earned credits align to the credits currently offered at that school. The Ohio Department of Education can assist in this process, but determinations of awarding transfer credit are always at the discretion of the school accepting and awarding the credit.
Students must earn a “competency” score of 684 on the Algebra I and English Language Arts II end-of-course tests. Students who do not earn competency scores on the first attempt must be offered appropriate remediation and supports and retake the test at least once. In lieu of attaining competency scores on the state tests, students can use alternative ways to demonstrate competency once they have attempted the assessments at least twice.
Transfer students who transfer in grade 12 and fail to obtain the competency score in Algebra I or English Language Arts II end-of-course assessments are exempt from having to retake that exam prior to using alternative demonstrations of competency covered in Ohio Revised Code section 3313.618(B)(1). Students who have earned remediation-free scores on the ACT or SAT and are transferring into a chartered nonpublic school are not required to take the Algebra I and ELA II end-of-course tests. All other transfer students are required to meet the competency score or retake the assessment at least once prior to using an alternative method to demonstrate competency.
For students transferring into Ohio, no system currently is in place to align Ohio end-of-course test scores with those offered by other states. Students who are transferring into Ohio from another state or country will be required to at least attempt to demonstrate competency on the Algebra I and English Language Arts II end-of-course assessments. In addition, students must take Ohio end-of-course tests for any courses with an aligned end-of-course test that they take once here in Ohio. Two examples follow:
- Transfer Student A: A senior moving into Ohio who already completed all courses that align to Ohio’s tested subjects would only need to attempt each of the Algebra I and English Language Arts II tests once to become eligible to use an alternative demonstration of competency. The student may take the other end-of-course tests for the purpose of potentially earning other diploma seals but are not required to do so.
- Transfer Student B: A sophomore transferring into Ohio who already completed biology, Algebra I and American history in another state would be required to take the Algebra I end-of-course test but not required to take the biology or American history tests. Because this student is not a senior, the requirement to retake the Algebra I and English Language Arts II tests if the competency score is not earned remains prior to accessing an alternative demonstration of competency. The student may take the other end-of-course tests for the purpose of potentially earning other diploma seals but are not required to do so. This student would still need to take tests for the remaining tested subjects not yet completed once enrolled here in Ohio.
Earning State Diploma Seals
Science Seal – State Defined
State diploma seals help students develop a variety of critical skills that are valuable to their transition into post-high school life. Transfer students must earn at least two diploma seals, one of which must be a state-defined seal. State law specifically identifies flexibility for transfer students for the Science, Citizenship and Technology seals. Other seals do not have specific flexibilities, but considerations can be made when these students transfer to Ohio high schools. The 12 diploma seals and corresponding flexibilities for transfer students are as follows:
Transfer students who obtained a grade of “B” or higher in biology while enrolled in the prior district or school may use those grades to satisfy the requirements and earn the state defined Science Seal.
Citizenship Seal – State Defined
- Other considerations for these students may include Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate coursework taken in a previous state or school. If a student earned the required score on those tests prior to transferring, the score may be used as a demonstration of readiness for this seal.
Transfer students who obtained a grade of “B” or higher in American history and American government courses while enrolled in the prior district or school may use those grades to satisfy the requirements and earn the state defined Citizenship Seal.
- Other considerations for these students may include Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate coursework taken in a previous state or school. If a student earned the required score on those tests prior to transferring, they may use that score as a demonstration of readiness for this seal.
Technology Seal – State Defined
Transfer students who obtained a grade of “B” or higher in an applicable technology course while enrolled in the prior district or school may use those grades to satisfy the requirements and earn the state defined Technology Seal.
Military Enlistment Seal – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the Military Enlistment Seal. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students. Students with completed JROTC experience while enrolled at the prior district or school may apply that experience toward the required two years of JROTC experience necessary to earn this seal. Additionally, students who committed to military enlistment prior to transferring may use this commitment as a demonstration of readiness for earning this seal.
Industry-Recognized Credential Seal – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the Industry-Recognized Credential Seal. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students. If a student earned industry-recognized credentials prior to transferring, a student must provide proof of those previously earned credentials and the school may accept those, in part or in whole, as part of a student’s demonstration of readiness for this seal.
- Note: If a student earned industry-recognized credentials independently from a school, the school may report the credential as earned by the student but should not indicate in reporting that they paid for the credential.
OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students. Students may use prior experience in high school to qualify for the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal, even if that experience was outside of Ohio or occurred while they were enrolled at another school. The transfer student must provide proper documentation from the previous mentors in order to apply the experience toward earning this seal.
State Seal of Biliteracy – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students.
College-Ready Seal – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the College-Ready Seal. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students. Students may use a score from an ACT or SAT taken while enrolled in a prior district or school or even taken outside of Ohio to satisfy the requirements for this seal.
Honors Diploma Seal – State Defined
Transfer students must satisfy all requirements needed to earn the Honors Diploma Seal. No specific flexibilities exist for transfer students. Many demonstrations that were completed in prior states or schools may be used to earn an honors diploma seal. Some, but not all, of these demonstrations include:
- Completion of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other coursework;
- ACT or SAT scores; or
- Previous work/portfolio experience.
If a transfer student has met the requirements to earn an Ohio honors diploma, they have met the requirement to earn this seal.
Locally Defined Seals
Ohio law requires districts and schools to develop guidelines for at least one of the locally defined diploma seals. Within those guidelines, districts and schools must include a method to provide a transfer student a proportional amount of credit for any progress completed at a prior district or school towards earning a locally defined diploma seal. This flexibility also applies to students transferring from one public district to another. For example, a student working to complete the Community Service seal at a district in Cincinnati who transfers to a school in Springfield should, to the extent feasible, be awarded proportional credit in accordance with the district’s or school’s guidelines, for the experience and work toward that seal completed prior to transferring. The three locally-defined seals are:
- Community Service Seal,
- Student Engagement Seal, and
- Fine and Performing Arts Seal.
Questions and Answers
1. When students transfer to an Ohio school from out of state or from a school that does not offer Ohio’s state tests, which tests do they need to take?
A district or school must administer Ohio’s state tests to an out-of-state or home schooled transfer student who enrolls in an Ohio course for which there is an end-of-course test. This applies even if the student already has satisfied the competency and seal requirements. The minimum tests for students who transfer to Ohio in the class of 2023 and beyond are the Algebra I and English Language Arts II assessments. Students also must take tests associated with any courses they take while enrolled in Ohio.
2. Are there special considerations for students from military families?Three special considerations may apply to students from a military family who transfer to an Ohio public school district:
- Students may receive a course waiver from their local school district for similar courses previously completed or receive an alternative plan to graduate on-time if a waiver is denied.
- Previous end-of-course exams, national achievement tests or alternative achievement tests shall be accepted by the Ohio district or school.
- Alternative provisions shall apply to seniors who transfer before or during their senior year.
3. How will out-of-state or homeschool transfer student test scores impact the district report card grade?
Ohio’s statewide accountability system treats transfer students like any other Ohio student. If they otherwise meet Ohio’s accountability rules (such as meeting the Full Academic Year), their scores will be included in all appropriate accountability calculations. This includes situations where the student has satisfied the graduation requirements but is taking a course for which there is a state test. It also includes cases where the student is taking the English Language Arts II and Geometry/Integrated Math II state tests to earn the five points required for the 18 point pathway to graduation as outlined here, or, for the class of 2023 and beyond, the English Language Arts II and Algebra/Integrated Math I tests to demonstrate competency.
Last Modified: 11/27/2023 10:46:16 AM