Other Graduation Requirements

    In addition to earning credits, to earn a high school diploma or more formally, the Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA), a student must:


    Pass state tests or approved alternatives to those tests

    State test requirements
    High school students must pass tests, or state-approved alternatives, to be eligible to graduate. Required tests vary by expected year of graduation. All students must pass the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in English/language arts and math. Students in the class of 2021 and beyond must also pass the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS). Minimum scores to pass these exams are set by the State Board of Education.

    Higher Education Placement Decisions
    The six public baccalaureate institutions and the community and technical college system in Washington have agreed to use SBA scores for placement purposes through the Class of 2018. Students who achieve the college and career-ready minimum score on the 11th grade SBA may be admitted into entry-level college math and English courses without further placement testing.

    For the class of 2019 and beyond, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will be working with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, as well as with the Washington Student Achievement Council, the Council of Presidents and the baccalaureate institutions to determine what will happen with the agreements.

    Tests Required for Graduation

    Class of 2019 & 2020

    ELA: Smarter Balanced ELA test (exit exam cut score)+

    Math: Smarter Balanced math test (exit exam cut score)+

    Class of 2021

    ELA: Smarter Balanced ELA test (exit exam cut score)+

    Math: Smarter Balanced math test (exit exam cut score)+

    Science: Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science

    * Unless a student is determined to have significant cognitive disabilities, or transferred into Washington public schools in 11th or 12th grade, he or she must attempt state assessments at least once before qualifying for alternatives in each content area:

    + Students must meet the exit exam minimum score to graduate.

    Special Education students
    Students with an Individualized Education Program may earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA), an alternative to the Certificate of Academic Achievement, if deemed appropriate by their IEP team. Graduation requirement options that might be considered by the team are listed on the OSPI website.

    State-approved alternatives
    There are two options to take advantage of what are called Certificate of Academic Achievement Options (CAA): GPA Comparison or College Admission and AP Test Scores Option. Students who do not meet the standard on the SBA or end of course exams may want to review these options.

    High School and Beyond Plan

    Complete a High School and Beyond Plan

    The High School and Beyond Plan is a process designed to help students think about their future goals and how to accomplish those goals. This includes exploring interests and career options, developing a course plan for high school, and exploring opportunities to develop skills. Students create their High School and Beyond Plans in cooperation with parents / guardians and school staff. Ideally, students start their plans in eighth grade and then continue to revise them throughout high school to accommodate changing interests or goals.

    Why is the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) important?
    The High School and Beyond Plan provides students with the opportunity to explore their own skills and interests and discover potential career and educational options they may not have been aware of previously. It allows students to take ownership over their high school experience and choose coursework and activities that are relevant to their goals. The HSBP also provides a means of tracking requirements for graduation from high school and entry into postsecondary programs.

    What are the components of a High School and Beyond Plan?

    The major components of the plan include:

    • Identification of career goals
    • Identification of educational goals related to the student’s career goals
    • A four-year plan for course-taking that will ensure fulfillment of graduation requirements and align with the student’s interests and educational and career goals
    • Identification of assessments necessary to achieve career and educational goal