The Virginia Board of Education establishes graduation requirements for all students in public schools. Virginia Beach City Public Schools bases its requirements on the Virginia Board of Education requirements. To receive a high school diploma, students must meet the minimum requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma, the Standard Diploma, or an Applied Studies Diploma. These diploma programs are designed to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary to continue educational options after high school or to enter the world of work. Through elective choices, students can design a course of study that best prepares them for different goals. Students are encouraged to consider both educational and career goals in selecting courses. Except for the sequential electives that are required for the Standard Diploma, the requirements for a student to earn a diploma shall be those in effect when that student enters the ninth grade for the first time. When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in grades nine through twelve, credit is counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation. To earn a verified unit of credit for the courses that have Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, students must pass the course and achieve a passing score on the end-of-course SOL test for that course or an identified substitute test as approved by the Virginia Board of Education.