Being Successful in High School

Take an active part in mapping out and carefully planning your high school courses for a successful high school career. High school planning helps students track and plan their high school courses so that it aligns with their academic and career goals through course offerings, planning guides, and graduation requirements.

Independence High Student Enrollment: Approximately 1,600 Students

HONOR ROLL: Independence High announces the Honor rolls at the end of each marking period. The standards for this achievement are calculated based on grades earned during the marking period.
Principal’s Honor Roll: 4.0 or higher quarter GPA with all grades a B or better and no incompletes.
High Honor Roll: 3.75-3.99 quarter GPA with all grades a B or better and no incompletes.
Honor Roll: 3.5-3.744 quarter GPA with all grades a B or better and no incompletes.


  • National Honor Society
  • National Science Honor Society
  • Mu Alpha Theta
  • Spanish National Honor Society

AP classes are specially designed classes taken at the high school in which a student may test for college credit, through the Advanced Placement program, upon completion of the coursework. The tests are given by Independence High School staff in May on National AP Test dates. It is to the student’s advantage to take as challenging a course load as can be successfully completed. Students should talk to their parents, School Counselor, teachers and other students when selecting their classes. Williamson County Schools Policy 4.600 states that 5 points will be added to the student’s average at the end of each quarter and 1.0 will be added to the GPA calculation for the Williamson County Grade Point Average.

College and University AP credit acceptance policies differ.

Testing for Enrolled Students

COST:  Registration form and payment of all tests must be turned in to the Counseling Center. The deadline for registration will be announced closer to registration.

WHEN: The AP tests are given on specific national test dates during the first two weeks in May. The tests occur during the school day, at locations to be determined at a later date.

Students are eligible to enroll in Credit Recovery if they failed a course with an average of 50 or
higher and meet with their counselor to secure an application. The failed course must be
recovered with a comparable state-approved course. Courses may only be recovered through
the district Credit Recovery program and not through any other credit recovery program. Eligible
students should be enrolled in Credit Recovery the semester following the course failure.

Please consult the WCS Credit Recovery Process for further information.

Regular Diploma: Students who have fulfilled the requirements for graduation set by the State of Tennessee and the Williamson County Board of Education as outlined above receive a regular diploma.

Diploma with Honors: According to State guidelines, students who score at or above all of the subject area readiness benchmarks on the ACT or equivalent score on the SAT will graduate with Honors.

Diploma with Distinction: According to State guidelines, students will graduate with distinction who attain a B average and complete at least one of the following: earn a nationally recognized industry certification, participate in Governor’s School, participate in one of the state’s All-State musical organizations, be selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semi-Finalist, attain a score of 31 or higher composite score on the ACT, attain a score of 3 or higher on at least two advanced placement exams, earn 12 or more semester hours of transcripted postsecondary credit.

Williamson County Honors Diploma: Students may graduate with Williamson County Honors if they complete all graduation requirements, plus:  3.5 cumulative GPA; one additional credit in science (4 credits total); and fourteen (14) credits at the Honors or AP level.  If a student receives high school pass/fail credit for a high school course taken in middle school that credit will be included in the tally of 14 honors/AP credits, even though it does not count in the  GPA.

Students who are accepted for dual enrollment or early admission to a college or university may have college courses considered for meeting 14 credit requirements if the course taken at the university level is offered at the Honors or Advanced Placement level in Williamson County Schools. For example, English 101 or English 102 would meet one credit requirement replacing AP English IV, but college algebra would not count since Advanced Algebra and Trig is not offered at the honors or Advanced Placement level in Williamson County Schools.

IHS Scholars Diploma: Students who have fulfilled the requirements for graduation set by the Scholars Board will receive a Scholars designation on their diplomas.

Special Education Diploma: A special education diploma may be awarded at the end of their fourth year of high school to students with disabilities who have (1) not met the requirements for a high school diploma, (2) have satisfactorily completed an individualized education program, and (3) have satisfactory records of attendance and conduct. Students who obtain the special education diploma may continue to work towards the high school diploma through the end of the school year in which they turn twenty-two years old.

Graduation Requirements:

  • BP 4.605, 4.6051 – Coming Fall 2018
  • BP 4.60511 – Coming Fall 2018

Note: A student may participate in college level courses conducted during the school day, provided that the student’s schedule can be arranged to make this option possible.  A student may also enroll in a college course after school hours.  Dual credit will be available to the student with parents accepting full responsibility for all costs associated with college credit.

Dual Enrollment in High School and College courses is available to certain Juniors and Seniors.

Students who take High School courses prior to high school (e.g. algebra, geometry, physical science, world language) will receive credit when achieving a course grade of 70 and passing the credit test.  However, the grades for the class will not be used in the calculation the student’s high school GPA.

For purposes of determining honor graduates (e.g. top 10, top 10%, valedictorian, salutatorian, etc.) ranking in senior class will be calculated on ALL high school course work, grades 9-12.

For high school transfer students, the cumulative GPA on the transcript for transferred work will be used without any recalculation other than conversion to a 4-point scale as the beginning point to combine with in-system courses.  All students who are enrolled for the entire final semester of the senior year will be included in the class ranking and in determination of honor graduates and honor recognition as graduating seniors.

Tennessee Uniform Grading Scale (TN UGPA) – This grading scale is the one used to calculate and report a student’s GPA to the State of Tennessee for Hope (Lottery) Scholarship consideration.

WCS Grading Scale v. Tennessee Uniform Grading Scale

To become eligible for both the Tennessee Hope Lottery Scholarship and General Assembly Merit Scholarship, a student’s GPA will be configured using the Tennessee Uniform Grading Policy (TN UGPA), as mandated by the Tennessee Board of Education. THE TN UGPA WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN THE WCS GPA AND WILL BE FREQUENTLY  BE LOWER THAN THE WCS GPA. THE TN UGPA DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE WCS TRANSCRIPT. STUDENTS USING THE TN UGPA TO QUALIFY FOR THE TN LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIP SHOULD CONTACT THEIR SCHOOL COUNSELOR.

Grading Policy

The grades used on Williamson County report cards and transcripts may be interpreted as follows:

  • A–the work is exemplary and has been completed in a timely and independent manner. The work shows the student’s high level of understanding or performance.
  • B–The work is above average and has been completed in a timely manner.  The work shows the student’s above-average level of understanding or performance.
  • C–The work is satisfactory and may or may not have been completed in a timely and/or independent manner.
  • F–The student has not attempted the work or the student has failed to complete the work.


WHEN: In April, during the school day for all 11th grade students. Students may also take the test on National Test Dates at Independence High School or other testing centers of their choice. National Test Dates

ACT Registration – Students may pick up an ACT registration packet in the Counseling Center and mail it in or they may register online.
Independence High School is an ACT test site.

CCE – Common Comprehensive Examination

WHO: Every student enrolled in certain courses.

COST: None. This test is part of the Williamson County testing program.

WHEN: During the Semester Exam period.

The CCE is a portion of the Final Exam for most courses. Teachers will inform students of the exam specifics for their course. The requirements vary by course.

EOC – End of Course

The End of Course Tests are taken at the end of the related course. Achieving Proficiency Level or above on each test is important to the student but not required for graduation. The EOC score is converted to an appropriate percentage score and used as the second semester Exam score and counts as 10% of the second semester average.


WHO: Recommended for high achieving 9th and 10th grade students and all 11th grade students.

COST: $18.00 – Payment can be made in cash (exact amount only) or check (made out to IHS). Please pay for this test before or after school in the Counseling Center or during both lunches in the cafeteria. Registration deadline TBA.

WHEN: Universal Day during the school day. There is NO makeup for this test.

PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Juniors desiring to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship must be sure to take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their Junior year. Students must sign up with the school and pay the testing fee, in advance. As a preliminary SAT, the PSAT gives the student first-hand experience for the SAT Reasoning Test (one of the two college entrance tests used by most colleges). The PSAT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. The PSAT helps the student prepare for the SAT and receive feedback on their academic strengths and weaknesses.


WHO: 11th and 12th grade students applying to a college which requires the SAT as its admission test.

COST: Fees vary based on the tests taken. Students must register with SAT and pay the applicable fee to SAT.

WHEN:Given on National Test Dates. IHS is not an SAT administration site.

The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate. The SAT is an important resource for colleges. It’s also one of the best predictors of how well students will do in college. Students can take either the SAT Reasoning Test or SAT Subject Tests.

SAT Registration: pick-up a packet in the Counseling Center or register online