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Ensuring College and Career Readiness for All Texas Students

Ensuring College and Career Readiness for All Texas Students

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recognizes that no matter what path students take after graduation, whether they attend college, pursue a career, or enlist in the military, it’s crucial for them to learn the correct skills in school that will help them lead successful adult lives. Now that the first round of Texas students on the newest graduation path, the Foundation High School Program (Foundation HSP), are graduating this year, let’s dive into the TEA Graduation Toolkit to see what these requirements are and what paths students had have to choose from to become college and career ready.

The Foundation High School Program

In 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature established the Foundation HSP, which was later implemented in the 2014–15 school year. This program includes a basic foundation of requirements that need to be met in order to graduate and endorsements which can be earned in addition to those requirements. The Foundation HSP requires each student to earn 22 credits, including four English credits, three math credits, three science credits, three social studies credits, two language credits, one physical education credit, one fine arts credit, and five elective credits. Student must also demonstrate proficiency in speech.


Endorsements are a great way for students to focus on a specific skill or interest, which in turn, could help them in deciding upon a college or career path. Unless students have a signed form saying that they can omit an endorsement from their graduation plan, all students are required to pick at least one, but they can add more if they’d like.

Endorsement options include STEM, business and industry, public services, arts and humanities, and multi-disciplinary studies. Endorsements require four credits in both math and science (as opposed to three) and two additional elective credits. Each endorsement focuses on an interest or skill and consists of courses related to the subject.

Distinguished Level of Achievement

For students who may want to make themselves a more competitive candidate in postsecondary education or the workforce, the Distinguished Level of Achievement is a great option. The graduation toolkit mentions that choosing this route will allow students to compete for top 10 percent automatic admissions to Texas public universities and put them first in line to get help with college tuition and fees. In addition to all of these benefits, students who take this path will likely be more prepared for the level of work they take on after high school.

The Distinguished Level of Achievement will help students determine their future options a little better and will help students have a more comfortable transition to adult life. It requires four math credits, including Algebra II; four science credits; and completion of an endorsement.

Performance Acknowledgments

It’s possible for students to earn acknowledgments on their transcripts if they show an outstanding performance in areas like dual credit courses, AP® or IB® programs, or PSAT®, ACT Aspire®, SAT®, or ACT® exams. Students who are more focused on a career path can earn an additional acknowledgment by obtaining a state, national, or international business certification, or industry certification while they are in high school.

By implementing the Foundation HSP with these endorsement options, Texas is ensuring that every student graduates with basic academic knowledge and with skills that highlight their interests, which will help them live successful adult lives.

Partnership with Edmentum

To continue providing growing opportunities for the Foundation HSP graduation path and options for every student’s interests, consider a partnership with Edmentum.

Edmentum can support this graduation pathway by providing hundreds of quality courses to choose from, including CTE, AP, and even exam prep for ACT, SAT, and TSI assessments.

Interested in forming a partnership? Learn more about our digital curriculum and virtual learning options—including all of the available courses we offer in the state of Texas!