Adult Secondary Programs
Adult secondary programs provide adults with the opportunity to earn a high school credential. Adult secondary programs are located in school divisions and funded through a combination of state grants and local funds. Many, but not all school divisions, provide program services.
Three programs are offered in Virginia to serve this need.
- Adult High School Diploma
- External Diploma Program (EDP)
- General Achievement Diploma (GAD)
Adult High School Diploma
The Adult High School Diploma program enables an adult no longer enrolled in public education to complete the required courses/activities to earn an Adult High School diploma, with the local high school scheduling classes and determining course requirements in accordance with standards established by the state.
External Diploma Program (EDP)
The External Diploma Program (EDP) is a program developed for adults, age 21 and older, who have not had recent schooling or test-taking experience, but who now have acquired high school level academic skills in other than curriculum-based programs. It is an adult, applied-performance, competency-based assessment program that awards an adult high school diploma to skilled adults who have acquired many of their high school level abilities in a series of simulations that parallel job and life situations. They are evaluated according to established performance criteria. It is an assessment program and not an instructional program. In addition, students are awarded an Adult High School diploma rather than an equivalency certificate.
- Diagnostic Phase: The applicant receives a series of evaluations of the adult's basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as entry-level job skills. The applicant then receives an analysis, which shows the skills that need to be improved upon, together with a list of community resources from which to acquire instruction or training. In addition, the applicant may pursue other means of self-education based on the applicant's needs. Upon completion of this process, the applicant will then be reassessed.
- Assessment Phase: During this phase, the applicant demonstrates 65 competencies through a simulation of varied realistic tasks. In addition, the applicant will demonstrate an individualized competency by verifying occupational skills. Upon demonstrated 100 % mastery of these and the 65 competencies the Adult High School diploma is awarded through a local school board.
For more information about the national program, please visit the home of the National External Diploma Program.
General Achievement Diploma (GAD)
The General Achievement Diploma (GAD) is intended to provide a diploma option for high school dropouts and individuals who exit high school without a diploma. This diploma is intended for individuals who are at least 18 years of age and not enrolled in public school or not otherwise meeting the compulsory school attendance requirements set forth in the Code of Virginia.
The requirements for the GAD include prescribed standard units of credit and a passing score on the General Educational Development (GED) examination. Standard credits required for the GAD may be earned in a variety of educational settings.
- Public school
- Community college or other institution of higher education
- Adult high school program
- Correspondence, distance learning, and online courses
The GAD is not meant to be a "first option" for high school students. Diploma candidates may be individuals who are of age to enroll in a public school whether they choose to enroll or not; or individuals who because of their age are not eligible to enroll in a public school.
Grants & Funding
For information on the grant application process, see Grants & Funding
Effective Date for the Regulations Governing Adult High School Programs, December 2005.
Superintendent's Memo (Informational) No. 233, Dec. 9, 2005. Also Guidelines (PDF)
Transmittal of "Statement of Administrative Impact and Project Costs of Implementation" for the Proposed Revisions to the Regulations Governing Adult High School Programs, May 2005.
Superintendent's Memo (Informational) No. 098, May 6, 2005. Also Attachment (PDF)