South Carolina Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in South Carolina?

Of the 24 required credits to graduate high school in South Carolina, 3 of them must be in science courses and students must also take an end-of-course science exam. The South Carolina High School Science Standards set forth the Chemistry standards as follows:


Standard H.C.1: The student will use the science and engineering practices, including the processes and skills of scientific inquiry, to develop understandings of science content.

H.C.1A. Conceptual Understanding: The practices of science and engineering support the development of science concepts, develop the habits of mind that are necessary for scientific thinking, and allow students to engage in science in ways that are similar to those used by scientists and engineers.

H.C.1A.1  Ask questions to (1) generate hypotheses for scientific investigations, (2) refine models, explanations, or designs, or (3) extend the results of investigations or challenge scientific arguments or claims.  

H.C.1A.2   Develop, use, and refine models to (1) understand or represent phenomena, processes, and relationships, (2) test devices or solutions, or (3) communicate ideas to others.  

H.C.1A.3  Plan and conduct controlled scientific investigations to answer questions, test hypotheses, and develop explanations: (1) formulate scientific questions and testable hypotheses based on credible scientific information, (2) identify materials, procedures, and variables, (3) use appropriate laboratory equipment, technology, and techniques to collect qualitative and quantitative data, and (4) record and represent data in an appropriate form. Use appropriate safety procedures.  

H.C.1A.4  Analyze and interpret data from informational texts and data collected from investigations using a range of methods (such as tabulation, graphing, or statistical analysis) to (1) reveal patterns and construct meaning, (2) support or refute hypotheses, explanations, claims, or designs, or (3) evaluate the strength of conclusions.  

H.C.1A.5  Use mathematical and computational thinking to (1) use and manipulate appropriate metric units, (2) express relationships between variables for models and investigations, and (3) use grade-level appropriate statistics to analyze data.

H.C.1A.6  Construct explanations of phenomena using (1) primary or secondary scientific evidence and models, (2) conclusions from scientific investigations, (3) predictions based on observations and measurements, or (4) data communicated in graphs, tables, or diagrams.  

H.C.1A.7   Construct and analyze scientific arguments to support claims, explanations, or designs using evidence and valid reasoning from observations, data, or informational texts.

H.C.1A.8   Obtain and evaluate scientific information to (1) answer questions, (2) explain or describe phenomena, (3) develop models, (4) evaluate hypotheses, explanations, claims, or designs or (5) identify and/or fill gaps in knowledge. Communicate using the conventions and expectations of scientific writing or oral presentations by (1) evaluating grade-appropriate primary or secondary scientific literature, or (2) reporting the results of student experimental investigations.

H.C.1B. Conceptual Understanding: Technology is any modification to the natural world created to fulfill the wants and needs of humans. The engineering design process involves a series of iterative steps used to solve a problem and often leads to the development of a new or improved technology.  

H.C.1B.1   Construct devices or design solutions using scientific knowledge to solve specific problems or needs: (1) ask questions to identify problems or needs, (2) ask questions about the criteria and constraints of the device or solutions, (3) generate and communicate ideas for possible devices or solutions, (4) build and test devices or solutions, (5) determine if the devices or solutions solved the problem and refine the design if needed, and (6) communicate the results.


Standard H.C.2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of atomic structure and nuclear processes.

H.C.2A. Conceptual Understanding: The existence of atoms can be used to explain the structure and behavior of matter. Each atom consists of a charged nucleus, consisting of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons. The interactions of these electrons between and within atoms are the primary factors that determine the chemical properties of matter. In a neutral atom the number of protons is the same as the number of electrons.

H.C.2A.1 Obtain and communicate information to describe and compare subatomic particles with regard to mass, location, charge, electrical attractions and repulsions, and impact on the properties of an atom.

H.C.2A.2 Use the Bohr and quantum mechanical models of atomic structure to exemplify how electrons are distributed in atoms.  

H.C.2A.3 Analyze and interpret absorption and emission spectra to support explanations that electrons have discrete energy levels.  

H.C.2B. Conceptual Understanding: In nuclear fusion, lighter nuclei combine to form more stable heavier nuclei and in nuclear fission heavier nuclei are split to form lighter nuclei. The energies in fission and fusion reactions exceed the energies in usual chemical reactions. Performance Indicators: Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

H.C.2B.1 Obtain and communicate information to compare alpha, beta, and gamma radiation in terms of mass, charge, penetrating power, and their practical applications (including medical benefits and associated risks).

H.C.2B.2 Develop models to exemplify radioactive decay and use the models to explain the concept of half-life and its use in determining the age of materials (such as radiocarbon dating or the use of radioisotopes to date rocks).

H.C.2B.3 Obtain and communicate information to compare and contrast nuclear fission and nuclear fusion and to explain why the ability to produce low energy nuclear reactions would be a scientific breakthrough.

H.C.2B.4 Use mathematical and computational thinking to explain the relationship between mass and energy in nuclear reactions (E=mc2).


Standard H.C.3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the structures and classification of chemical compounds.  

H.C.3A. Conceptual Understanding: Elements are made up of only one kind of atom. With increasing atomic number, a predictable pattern for the addition of electrons exists. This pattern is the basis for the arrangement of elements in the periodic table. The chemical properties of an element are determined by an element’s electron configuration. Elements can react to form chemical compounds/molecules that have unique properties determined by the kinds of atoms combined to make up the compound/molecule. Essentially, the ways in which electrons are involved in bonds determines whether ionic or covalent bonds are formed. Compounds have characteristic shapes that are determined by the type and number of bonds formed.  

H.C.3A.1 Construct explanations for the formation of molecular compounds via sharing of electrons and for the formation of ionic compounds via transfer of electrons.  

H.C.3A.2 Use the periodic table to write and interpret the formulas and names of chemical compounds (including binary ionic compounds, binary covalent compounds, and straight-chain alkanes up to six carbons).

H.C.3A.3 Analyze and interpret data to predict the type of bonding (ionic or covalent) and the shape of simple compounds by using the Lewis dot structures and oxidation numbers.

H.C.3A.4 Plan and conduct controlled scientific investigations to generate data on the properties of substances and analyze the data to infer the types of bonds (including ionic, polar covalent, and nonpolar covalent) in simple compounds.

H.C.3A.5 Develop and use models (such as Lewis dot structures, structural formulas, or ball-andstick models) of simple hydrocarbons to exemplify structural isomerism.  

H.C.3A.6 Construct explanations of how the basic structure of common natural and synthetic polymers is related to their bulk properties.  

H.C.3A.7 Analyze and interpret data to determine the empirical formula of a compound and the percent composition of a compound.


Standard H.C.4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the structure and behavior of the different states of matter.  

H.C.4A. Conceptual Understanding: Matter can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas, and in very high-energy states, as plasma. In general terms, for a given chemical, the particles making up the solid are at a lower energy state than the liquid phase, which is at a lower energy state than the gaseous phase. The changes from one state of matter into another are energy-dependent. The behaviors of gases are dependent on the factors of pressure, volume, and temperature.  

H.C.4A.1 Develop and use models to explain the arrangement and movement of the particles in solids, liquids, gases, and plasma as well as the relative strengths of their intermolecular forces.

H.C.4A.2 Analyze and interpret heating curve graphs to explain that changes from one state of matter to another are energy-dependent.  

H.C.4A.3 Conduct controlled scientific investigations and use models to explain the behaviors of gases (including the proportional relationships among pressure, volume, and temperature).


Standard H.C.5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the nature and properties of various types of chemical solutions.  

H.C.5A. Conceptual Understanding: Solutions can exist in any of three physical states: gas, liquid, or solid. Solution concentrations can be expressed by specifying the relative amounts of solute and solvent. The nature of the solute, the solvent, the temperature, and the pressure can affect solubility. Solutes can affect such solvent properties as freezing point, boiling point, and vapor pressure. Acids, bases, and salts have characteristic properties. Several definitions of acids and bases are used in chemistry.

H.C.5A.1 Obtain and communicate information to describe how a substance can dissolve in water by dissociation, dispersion, or ionization and how intermolecular forces affect solvation.

H.C.5A.2 Analyze and interpret data to explain the effects of temperature and pressure on the solubility of solutes in a given amount of solvent.

H.C.5A.3 Use mathematical representations to analyze the concentrations of unknown solutions in terms of molarity and percent by mass.  

H.C.5A.4 Analyze and interpret data to describe the properties of acids, bases, and salts.


Standard H.C.6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the types, the causes, and the effects of chemical reactions.  

H.C.6A. Conceptual Understanding: A chemical reaction occurs when elements and/or compounds interact, resulting in a rearrangement of the atoms of these elements and/or compounds to produce substances with unique properties. Mass is conserved in chemical reactions. Reactions tend to proceed in a direction that favors lower energies. Chemical reactions can be categorized using knowledge about the reactants to predict products. Chemical reactions are quantifiable. When stress is applied to a chemical system that is in equilibrium, the system will shift in a direction that reduces that stress.  Performance Indicators: Students who demonstrate this understanding can:  

H.C.6A.1 Develop and use models to predict the products of chemical reactions (1) based upon movements of ions; (2) based upon movements of protons; and (3) based upon movements of electrons.

H.C.6A.2 Use Le Châtelier’s principle to predict shifts in chemical equilibria resulting from changes in concentration, pressure, and temperature.  

H.C.6A.3 Plan and conduct controlled scientific investigations to produce mathematical evidence that mass is conserved in chemical reactions.

H.C.6A.4 Use mathematical and computational thinking to predict the amounts of reactants required and products produced in specific chemical reactions.


Standard H.C.7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the conservation of energy and energy transfer.  

H.C.7A. Conceptual Understanding: The first law of thermodynamics states that the amount of energy in the universe is constant. An energy diagram is used to represent changes in the energy of the reactants and products in a chemical reaction. Enthalpy refers to the heat content that is present in an atom, ion, or compound. While some chemical reactions occur spontaneously, other reactions may require that activation energy be lowered in order for the reaction to occur. 

H.C.7A.1 Analyze and interpret data from energy diagrams and investigations to support claims that the amount of energy released or absorbed during a chemical reaction depends on changes in total bond energy.

H.C.7A.2 Use mathematical and computational thinking to write thermochemical equations and draw energy diagrams for the combustion of common hydrocarbon fuels and carbohydrates, given molar enthalpies of combustion.

H.C.7A.3 Plan and conduct controlled scientific investigations to determine the effects of temperature, surface area, stirring, concentration of reactants, and the presence of various catalysts on the rate of chemical reactions.

H.C.7A.4 Develop and use models to explain the relationships between collision frequency, the energy of collisions, the orientation of molecules, activation energy, and the rates of chemical reactions.

Does South Carolina Award Credit for Passing the AP Chemistry Exam?

A school may award and accept credit in units of one-fourth, one-half, and a whole credit for accepted advanced courses. Under the Dual Credit Arrangement, district boards of trustees may establish a policy allowing students to take college courses for units of credit toward the high school diploma. The district policy may allow for courses to be offered by an institution of higher education through a  cooperative agreement where a three-semester-hour college course transfers as one unit of credit.