As part of the Foundation Graduation Plan, Texas middle schoolers are required to declare an endorsement that will influence their path of study in high school. Because this can be a confusing topic for students and families, we’re here with up-to-date information on everything you need to know about the five endorsements in Texas.
What is an endorsement?
An endorsement is simply a set of courses that allows a student to dig into an area of interest to them. It’s similar to a college major, allowing the student to learn more about a particular subject area.
The options are:
- Arts and Humanities
- Business and Industry
- Multidisciplinary Studies
- Public Service
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
When a student chooses an endorsement, they are required to complete a certain number of courses to earn credit toward it. Often, these courses will be counted as electives for the purpose of graduation requirements. A student’s counselor or adviser will be most helpful in determining what courses a student needs to take in order to fulfill this requirement. Finally, if a student’s interests change, they can always notify their counselor and make a change! See the MapMyGrad FAQs.
Does a student have to select an endorsement?
Students must select an endorsement, in writing, upon entering their freshman year. However, they can always change their endorsement. A student, with the written approval of a parent or guardian, may elect to graduate without an endorsement after their sophomore year. Before taking this route, it is critical that the student, parents or guardians, counselor or adviser, and teachers discuss the consequences of this graduation plan. Graduating without an endorsement may limit the student’s ability to continue their education after high school.
How do students know which endorsement is best for them?
Many interest inventories are available to help students decide what might work for them! Ultimately, it is best for the student to discuss their options with their parents or guardians, teachers, and counselor or adviser. Keep in mind that a student can earn more than one endorsement. Things to consider: What is the student interested in? What job do they want to be prepared for? Do they want to go to college? Do they want to take advantage of the Texas Top 10% Automatic Admission policy?
When do students choose an endorsement, and can they change their minds?
Students must select an endorsement upon entering ninth grade, but they can always change their endorsement by talking to their counselor. Of course, as the student progresses through high school it may become harder to earn a different endorsement due to the limited amount of time that remains and the fact that classes often have prerequisites. Students have until the end of their sophomore year to decide not to earn an endorsement. If at that time they choose to graduate without an endorsement, they will need permission from their parent or guardian and will have to speak with their counselor or adviser.
I’m concerned that my small district cannot offer endorsements. What endorsements should a district be able to offer?
Without altering the courses that a school district is currently required by the state Board of Education to offer, a district should be able to offer at least three of the five endorsements:
- Multidisciplinary Studies – all districts are required to offer at least four courses in each foundation subject area, to include English IV, Chemistry, and/or Physics.
- Business and Industry – this endorsement requires districts to offer a coherent sequences of courses from at least three career and technical education career clusters.
- STEM – this endorsement requires districts to offer at least six science courses.