School is different for everyone. Some people coast through without having to open a book, some don't. But either way, everyone will graduate. At least, that's how it is in fiction. In reality some people just don't graduate.

This is probably used for good reason, as it's no fun to watch someone drop out, or not earn the credits they need to graduate. But it can also be a glaring error when someone who made straight [[BookDumb Fs or Ds]] graduates with their class. Sometimes this is HandWaved as the character doing enough extra credit work to make up for what they missed. But even then, this is hard to believe. Most teachers will only assign extra credit work to those who are already passing. This trope will often go hand-in-hand with IvyLeagueForEveryone.

In the case of an overly dramatic series, this can be used to create a happy ending. This is exceedingly common in American works.

When it happens in RealLife, this is called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_promotion Social Promotion.]], and it is restricted to grade levels earlier than high school.


!!Examples:

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[[folder: Film ]]

* ''FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh'': Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) is going to fail his History class, which means he wouldn't graduate. However, on the evening of the graduation dance, Mr. Hand shows up at Spicoli's house and informs him that since he has wasted eight hours of class time over the past year, Mr. Hand intends to make up for that time now. They proceed to have a one-on-one tutoring session that lasts until Mr. Hand is satisfied that Spicoli has understood the lesson and finally tells him he will pass him with a D (the lowest possible passing grade).
* Beautifully [[spoiler: '''subverted''']] in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'' when [[spoiler: Mike and Sulley are expelled and work their way up at Monsters Inc. until they reach where they are in the first film.]]

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[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* Averted in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Oz had to repeat the 12th grade.
-->'''Oz:''' Well, it's sort of a funny story. You remember when I didn't graduate?
-->'''Willow:''' Well, I know you had a lot of incompletes, but that's what summer school was for.
-->'''Oz:''' Yeah, well, you remember when I didn't go?
** Of course, the out-of-universe purpose served by this was to keep him at Sunnydale High with the other characters even though he was a year older than them.
* In SavedByTheBell, Zack is almost never shown studying, and a few times it is shown that he is close to failing out of at least one class, yet he graduates with everyone.
** And he was accepted into Yale on his SAT scores, alone
* On ''TheGeorgeLopezShow,'' a running plot point is the question of whether Max, George's [[LIsForDyslexia dyslexic]] and generally BookDumb son, would have to repeat the fifth grade. To the show's credit, it even notes that it might be better for him if he ''does'' repeat; however, he squeaks by enough to pass.
* On ''HappyDays'', Fonzie spent the first four seasons as a high school dropout. There was even one early episode where he returns only to quickly drop out again. When it came time for Richie, Potsie, and Ralph to graduate, Fonzie started attending night school and graduated alongside them. They did note that it was unusual for a night school student to attend graduation, but the fact that he caught up is still amazing.
* Averted on ''{{Glee}}'', where Puck's struggling in history class leading to pending graduation became a substantial plot line. However, everyone was shocked when they found out that [[spoiler: [[TheDitz Brittany]]]] didn't graduate and would be spending another year in high school, but she's quick to point out that she maintained a 0.0 grade-point average.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Averted in the backstory of WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'s [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Binky Barnes]], who's repeating fourth grade. Then the series gets firmly [[StatusQuoisGod frozen in time]], so who's to say if he'll ever graduate or not.
** It was also revealed that Brain had to repeat kindergarten, which is why he's larger & more athletic than the other kids in his class. It's a [[DarkSecret big secret]] though, so don't tell anybody!
* In the last episode of ''{{Disney/Hercules}}: The Animated Series'', everyone in Hercules' class graduates, except for Adonis, who has to take summer school.
* The AlphaBitch of ''KimPossible'' also has to attend summer school when she comes up short at graduation.
* It's revealed in ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' that Baloo never graduated from grade school, and thus may be barred from attending his class reunion.
* Averted in ''{{Daria}}''. Dumb jock Kevin actually ''doesn't'' graduate with the others because his grades were so bad. You'd think he would have been cut from the football team first until his grades improved, but there you go.
** Given that he received byes on test because of his football involvement, he might have just outlived his usefulness to the school.
*** Alternatively, football season doesn't last all year, and "[[GrandFinale Is It College Yet?]]" explicitly takes place after it ends; it's possible he stopped getting special treatment once academic suspension from the team stopped being an issue.
**** Also, given how corrupts Ms Li is, it is entirely possible she failed him, so he would be able to play football for Lawndale High next year (and possibly few more years after that, too).
* When [[TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] goes to his high school reunion, it's revealed that he failed remedial science and, thus, never graduated. This was actually foreshadowed in an earlier flashback where he avoids Marge before the prom by not going to school for two weeks and missing the relevant classes.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The good ending for ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' has this, along with WeddingsForEveryone.
** Though only one is shown each time, the others are only implied.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4352 only one didn't graduate.]] All the more painful in that it appears to be an eighth-grade not a high school graduation.