Mobile Navigation
Graduation project update

The graduation project is no longer required for a CMS student to graduate. Students are still expected to complete the research paper component and complete a presentation as a requirement of English III and English IV course credits (including AP Language and AP Literature). Teachers and school staff will receive updates and training following Winter Break. If you have questions, please contact your school for specifics.

Graduation Project FAQ

1.      When will the changes for Graduation Project go into effect? The changes go into effect immediately. The details and expectations (including grading processes) of all new requirements will be shared with school staff. The revised expectations will be adapted to ensure adherence to the policy revision.

2.     Are students still required to complete the research paper? The research paper is still a course component of the English III course and supports characteristics of college and career ready students. The paper length will stay the same to accommodate the required research components, including a minimum of five sources, cited evidence, and reasoning. Students may add a student-created graphic if it adds to the understanding of the research, but it is not required.

3.     Are students still required to complete a presentation? Does the presentation have to align to the research paper? The presentation is a component of the English IV course and supports the characteristics of college and career ready students. Students may opt to use the research done in the English III course as the basis of their presentation or it may be independent of that research and based on current work, as long as it follows the guidelines for requirements and is scored using the provided rubric in the curriculum guide.

4.     Does the presentation have to be scored by a panel of outside judges? No. A panel of outside judges is no longer required.

5.     Can the research paper and the presentation all happen during a student's junior year? If a student presents in another class, would that count for this grade? No. The research paper is a component of the English III course, and the presentation is a course component of English IV as aligned to course standards. Students must complete the designated course components during the time they are enrolled in the corresponding courses.

6.     Do students in AP Language and AP Literature have to complete these components? What about students enrolled in Community College English courses? Students in AP courses will be required to complete the work products (research and presentation) which are to be outlined in course syllabi. Cambridge, IB and Community College students will meet the requirements as outlined in their specific programs of study.

7.      How will the grades for students who have already completed their projects be impacted? Student grades for their work will no longer count as 20% of a student's grade for the course. Instead, completed work will be calculated in alignment with all other formal assessments comprising a student's final course grade. However, principals and school staff will work to ensure that students who completed the requirements during 1st semester are held harmless from any unintended grade decreases resulting from the new grading requirements.

8.     Are economically disadvantaged students eligible to reimburse? According to the Testing Reduction Act, students who are economically disadvantaged may seek reimbursement of up to $75 for expenses related to the Graduation Project. Because CMS Board policy was recently adapted in response to this legislative act, only students who completed projects between August 27, 2019, and December 10, 2019, are eligible to seek reimbursement from CMS. All requests for reimbursement must be submitted by January 31, 2020.

9.     What is the process for families who wish to submit requests for reimbursements? Families interested in seeking reimbursement must first provide documentation of their eligibility status. All CMS families who were either directly certified (in a household that receives Food Stamps, TANF or Work First benefits) or were determined eligible for meal benefits by completing a family meal application were sent a notification letter from the School Nutrition Services department. If a family needs a copy of the letter, they can contact School Nutrition Services at 980-343-6041, and select option 1. Students who attend CEP schools will only receive a letter if they were directly certified. Students in CEP schools who were not directly certified will need to complete an "Application for Need Based Assistance Form" and provide proof of income to be considered for reimbursement. Families must submit the eligibility letter from School Nutrition Services (or Application for Need-Based Assistance Form with supporting documentation), and accompanying receipts to the Office of School Performance at 4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd., Charlotte, 28217. The deadline to request reimbursements is January 31, 2020. If you have questions, please call 980-344-0602.

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website ( is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.