Achieving Credits


Typical Questions & Answers About Credits

  • How many?
  • Mature Student Assessment & P.L.A.R.
  • Earning a High School Diploma
  • Grade 12 Equivalency - GED
  • Full Disclosure About Credits

How many credits do I need for my diploma?

This depends on several factors:

If you don't know how many credits you have, just contact the last school you attended and request a transcript. Schools must keep records for 55 years. If you attended a District School Board of Niagara Secondary School and you have been out of school for: five or more years, contact the Records Department at the D.S.B.N. by calling (905) 641-1550. 
Less than 5 years, contact the guidance department of your previous school.

If you started Secondary School before 1999 and if you are 18 or older when you return to school and you have been out of school for at least one year, you may be eligible for Maturity Allowance credits. These are awarded in recognition of learning which has taken place on the basis of your experience. Normally 2 Maturity Allowance credits are awarded for each year you have been out of school to a maximum of 12 credits. Please remember that you can only be granted Maturity Allowance credits to bring your total to the maximum of 26 credits. Maturity credits will be awarded upon the successful completion of 4 senior(grade11&12)credits.

If you started Secondary School in 1999 or later, or you are a mature student new to the Ontario system, and you return to secondary school on Feb. 1st, 2004 or later , the number of credits, including compulsory credits, that you will need to achieve to earn a high school diploma will be determined by the school principal according to the P.L.A.R.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition policy. Up to 16 grade 9 and 10 credits may be granted to a mature student following individual assessment. Mature students may earn 10 of the 14 remaining grade 11 and 12 credits needed to meet diploma requirements in 3 ways:

  1. they may demonstrate achievement of the required secondary school curriculum expectations and receive credit through the challenge process;
  2. they may present education/training credentials for assessment through the equivalency process ;or
  3. they may take the course.

Mature students will earn a minimum of 4 grade 11 and 12 credits by taking the course at a secondary school, through correspondence or through any of the alternative ways described below. Mature students who have previously accumulated 26 or more credits ( or 23 or more credits if the secondary school start date is before 1984) are not eligible for any equivalent credits. They must successfully complete the required number of credits to bring their total to 30 before they will be eligible to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Mature students working towards their diploma will also need to satisfy the diploma requirements with regards to provincial literacy test and community service hours. Principals will determine the number of hours of community service that a student will have to complete. 

Earning a High School Diploma
I want to take credit courses to get my diploma. What are my options?

  • An adult day school like the Lifetime Learning Centre. ( This is the most efficient way to earn credits.)
  • Night School courses -These begin in September and February. You must attend two nights per week for three hours each night.
  • Self Study - The District School Board of Niagara offers this program in St Catharines.
  • Summer School courses -These begin the first week in July and run through to the first week of August.

Grade 12 Equivalency -GED
How do I get Grade 12 equivalency?

The only equivalency which is officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and most employers is satisfactory performance on GED exams. For details regarding this program, please phone 1-888-433-1211 or visit :

Full Disclosure - What is full disclosure?

The school must record passing or a failing grades for senior level courses (grade11 and 12) on the student's transcript. If a student decides to withdraw from a senior level course and it is after 5 days following the mid-term report, the mark in the course at the time of withdrawal must be recorded on the transcript with a "W" indicating the course was dropped.