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English Requirements – FAQ

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Your Diploma Guide indicates that 15 hours of public speaking must be completed between 7th and 12th grades.  However, your Guide also states that within the 4 credits of English that must be taken between 9th and 12th grades, Grammar, Literature, Public Speaking, etc., must be taken.  Does this mean that public speaking must have the 15 hours PLUS additional hours or entries in the high school English program?

No.  The only public speaking requirement is for 15 hours between 7th and 12th grades, and at least one public performance.  You must obtain the Evaluator’s signature on the Annual Summary Form each year to document the hours for the public speaking requirement.

MDHSA recommends that, beginning in 7th grade, the parent and Evaluator begin using the Annual Summary Form (or other similar document) to help keep track of not only the public speaking hours, but also all of the Minimum Courses studied between 7th and 8th grade.

What constitutes 15 hours of public speaking?

The requirements for public speaking include preparation, presentation, instruction, writing, presenting, and any other helpful topic to assist the student in becoming comfortable and fluid in giving an oral presentation, plus at least one public performance.

These public speaking hours may be part of an English course for a particular year(s).  A public speaking course may also be taken and used to fulfill the English credit requirement for a specific year(s).

In order for the Evaluator to accurately report the number of hours that the student has completed for public speaking, there should be some type of documentation that records the task and time that was spent earning those hours.

  For example:

  • Day xx – gather ideas and topics to highlight in speech – ¾ hour
  • Day xx – watch video of historic speeches – 1.5 hours
  • Day xx – prepare outline and rough draft – 1 hour
  • Day xx – read article on alleviating nervousness – .5 hour
  • Day xx – practicing, refining the speech before family – .5 hour
  • Day xx – reading about public speaking in a literature, English text, or other work – 1 hour
  • Etc.

Is singing / performing in our church choir considered “Public Speaking?”

No.  Singing and choir participation is not considered public speaking.  Performing in choir is considered an “Arts and Humanities” course.

How can my student earn the 10-page writing requirement?

A page of composition is approximately 250 words.  The pages may be one paper or several partial-page papers, or any combination, and may be in any subject.

Compositions may be in the form of book reports, essays, creative writings, stories, research papers, textbook section summaries, literature or composition assignments, or answers to questions in paragraph format.  A student does not need to complete 10 pages for each year that he was in public or private high school. It is recommended, but not required, that all students learn how to do research papers or multiple page stories or articles.

Please note:  if the student is using writing from other subjects (for example, History) to reach the 10 page requirement, the time spent writing the paper cannot count as both English AND History.  (This is considered “double-dipping.”)  The logged entry / time spent writing the paper is EITHER English OR History.

If my student has more than 10 pages of writing for a year, can the remaining pages be applied to a following year’s 10-page requirement?

No.  Writing should improve as the student grows, matures, and refines their thinking and writing skills.

MDHSA does not discriminate against families on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin.

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