Local schools are waiting to see how many students could receive a diploma, thanks to a new law.
A law signed April 14 means students are no longer required to pass a high school exit exam to receive a diploma, effective with rising seniors. But the change also applies retroactively to the class of 1990. Students who completed all other coursework but didn’t pass the exit exam received a certificate but not a diploma, their transcripts marked “did not graduate.”
“This disproportionately affected a large number of students,” said Sheila Quinn, assistant superintendent for curriculum and administrative services for Clover School District.
Quinn outlined district plans for serving past students at last month’s school board meeting. While official transcripts will note the student didn’t graduate with his or her class, the date when the student requests the diploma will, pending approval, be the listed graduation date.
Clover schools saw seven diploma requests the first two weeks. Former students can fill out an online request under “requesting records” on the home page at clover.k12.sc.us/. Expect a turnaround of three to four weeks. A photo ID is required.
“There’s not a lot of work on their part,” Quinn said.
A request prompts a transcript pull, which is sent to the registrar and verified. Dating to 1990, staff may have to work back “two databases ago,” Quinn said. The district must, by law, keep the option open to former students through the end of 2015.
“We’d be breaking the law to issue a diploma after that time,” Quinn said.
Applications then go to the district and the school board approves those meeting the criteria. Along with the online listings, the district has a question and answer section on the new law to help students who may be impacted.
Students should check with the district where they attended high school to see what process that district has for reviewing transcripts and issuing the new diplomas.