Graduation Recognitions

Graduate with Honors

Tennessee graduates who earn at or above the college readiness benchmark scores on the ACT (or SAT equivalent scores) will graduate with Honors. The readiness scores are:

SubjectACT Score


Graduate with Distinction

Tennessee graduates who maintain a B average (GPA of 3.0 or higher) and complete an additional approved credential will graduate with Distinction. Approved credentials include:

  • National and/or state recognized industry certification

  • Tennessee Governor's School

  • All-State musical organization

  • Earn statewide recognition or award at a skill- or knowledge-based state tournament, convention, or competition hosted by a statewide student organization, and/or qualify for national recognition by a national student organization

  • National Merit Finalist or Semifinalist

  • A composite score of 31 or higher on the ACT

  • A score of 3 or higher on two AP exams

  • 12 or more semester hours of post-secondary credit



Tennessee Tri-Star Scholar

A student who earns a composite score of nineteen (19) or higher on the ACT, or an equivalent score on the SAT, and earns a capstone industry certification as promoted by the Department of Education, shall be recognized as a Tennessee Tri-Star Scholar upon graduation from high school.



Tennessee Seal of Biliteracy

Students who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English will be awarded with the Tennessee Seal of Biliteracy. Students receiving this recognition shall meet the following criteria:

  • Complete all English language arts (ELA) requirements for graduation with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher in those classes; and

  • Demonstrate English proficiency through one (1) of the following:

    • Score at the on-track or mastered level on each ELA end-of-course assessment taken;

    • Score three (3) or higher on an Advanced Placement English Language or English Literature exam;

    • Score 22 or higher on the ACT Reading subtest or 480 or higher on the SAT evidence-based reading and writing subtest; or

    • Score 4.5 or higher on the WIDA Access, if the student is an English learner; and

  • Demonstrate proficiency in a world language through one (1) of the following:

    • Score Intermediate-Mid or higher in all three (3) communication modes (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) on a world language proficiency assessment recognized by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) or comparable assessment; or

    • Score three (3) or higher on an Advanced Placement world language exam.



Work Ethic Distinction

The "Work Ethic Distinction" is a workforce readiness credential that can be earned by high school seniors in participating counties. Students who earn the Work Ethic Distinction will be given preference for job interviews at partnering employers if they meet all other qualifications of the job posting.

Participating students will receive a list of Work Ethic Distinction Standards which includes 13 achievement categories. Each achievement category has one, two, or three subcategories that are assigned a point value. Students who sign up for the Work Ethic Distinction must complete enough of the goals set out in the achievement categories to score 32 points in order to receive the Distinction. Work Ethic Distinction information can be found here.