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Golden State Seal Merit Diploma Eligibility

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

Local educational agencies (LEAs) are responsible for maintaining appropriate records in order to identify graduating seniors 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 (1) must be eligible to receive a high school diploma; and (2) must have demonstrated the mastery of the curriculum in at least six subject areas, as follows:

  1. English language arts/literacy (ELA)—students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ or above (or numerical equivalent) in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine or ten or eleven
    2. An achievement level of “Standard Met” or above for the high school Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment
  2. Mathematics—students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ or above (or numeric equivalent) in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine or ten or eleven
    2. An achievement level of “Standard Met” or above for the high school Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment
  3. Science—students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B+ or above (or numeric equivalent) in a single course (each semester) completed in grade nine or 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
  4. U.S. history—students must have earned one of any of the following:
    1. A grade of B or above (or numerical equivalent) upon completion of the required U.S. history course (each semester)
    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
  5. Two additional subject areas—students may choose from any of the following:
    1. Any additional qualifying grade or score listed above, earned for the subject of ELA, mathematics, science, or U.S. history not already used to meet eligibility
    2. A grade of B or above (or numerical equivalent) 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. The class of 2018 would not have taken any of the approved CSTs in the last administration of those tests, which was in 2013. The CST for Science, previously taken in grade ten, was never approved for use toward GSSMD eligibility.
Questions:   Alicia Aguirre | gssmd@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9449
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 12, 2018
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    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.
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