Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Golden State Seal Merit Diploma Eligibility

Current eligibility requirements for the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma (GSSMD).

Eligibility Requirements for the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma
Until Replaced

Local educational agencies (LEAs) are responsible for maintaining appropriate records in order to identify graduating students who meet the eligibility requirements for the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma (GSSMD) (California Education Code Section 51454). To be eligible for the GSSMD, students must be eligible to receive a high school diploma and have demonstrated the mastery of the curriculum in at least six subject matter areas as follows:

  1. English language arts–students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ (or numerical equivalent) or above in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine, ten, or eleven
    2. An achievement level of “Standard Met” for the high school Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment
  1. Mathematics–students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ (or numeric equivalent) or above in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine, ten, or eleven
    2. An achievement level of “Standard Met” for the high school Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment
  1. Science–students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ (or numeric equivalent) or above in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine, ten, or eleven
    2. A qualifying score that demonstrates mastery of the subject as determined by the LEA for an examination produced by a private provider or the LEA

  2. U.S. history–students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B (or numerical equivalent) or above upon completion of the required U.S. history course
    2. A qualifying score that demonstrates mastery of the subject as determined by the LEA for an examination produced by a private provider or the LEA
  1. Two other subject matter areas: Students may choose from any of the following:
    1. Any additional qualifying grade or score listed above earned for the subjects of ELA, mathematics, science, or U.S. history not already used to meet eligibility
    2. A grade of B (or numerical equivalent) or above upon the completion of high school courses in other subjects
    3. A qualifying score that demonstrates mastery of other subjects, as determined by the LEA, for an examination produced by a private provider or the LEA

Note: The previously eligible California Standards Tests (CSTs) have been removed from the list to eliminate confusion. The class of 2017 would not have taken any of the approved CSTs in the last administration of those tests in 2013. The CST for Science taken in grade ten was never approved for use toward GSSMD eligibility.

Questions:   Alicia Aguirre | gssmd@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9438
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 30, 2017
Related Content
  • Golden State Seal Merit Diploma
    To be eligible for the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma, students must be receiving a high school diploma from their district and have earned designated results on six qualifying examinations.
Recently Posted in Testing
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 206 (added 18-May-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, May 17, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 205 (added 10-May-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, May 10, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 204 (added 09-May-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, May 3, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 203 (added 27-Apr-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, April 26, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 202 (added 20-Apr-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, April 20, 2017.