Certificate of attendance

Certificate of attendance

In the United States and Canada, a certificate of attendance is a certificate given to students who complete the K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) program but do not meet the requirements for the high school diploma or the modified diploma.

Students who complete 12th grade but do not obtain enough credits, do not complete all core courses, do not pass required testing or do not meet the goals outlined in their individualized program will still be acknowledged in the graduation ceremony; they will walk across the stage in cap and gown, and will look like a graduate. Instead of receiving a diploma, however, they will receive a certificate of attendance. Some students are encouraged to return to school for either a full year or more (and then to graduate whenever they finish) to make up their credits, pass required testing or meet their goals, and finally obtain a regular or modified diploma. Some alternative programs allow students to finish in half year provided that they meet certain requirements.

Some schools do not allow these students to participate in the graduation ceremony. This is controversial as some students feel that the social benefits of graduation are important.[citation needed]


  • Jacob, Brian A.; "Getting Tough? The Impact of High School Graduation Exams"; Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis; v. 23, n. 2, pp. 99–121 (Summer 2001)
  • Cameron, S. V. & Heckman, J. J., "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents"; Journal of Labor Economics; v. 11, n. 1, pt. 1, p. 1-? (1993)

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