State and District Graduation Requirements

  • Each student is responsible for developing, updating as necessary, and having on file an education plan.  Counselors will aid incoming ninth graders and their families in developing these plans. Changes in plans should receive parent/guardian consent and be submitted to the appropriate counselor.

    Subject area and total credit requirement during the four-year sequence must satisfy state and local graduation requirements.  The following minimum requirements shall be applied:

    Successful completion of the following: 

    • Subject area and total credit requirements (see below)
    • High School & Beyond Education Plan
    • Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA)

    High School and Beyond Education Plan

    Students must craft a diploma and beyond plan by detailing their strategies to meet their graduation requirements and outline their high school and beyond (i.e., college, employment, etc.).

    State Assessments

    High school students must pass tests, or state-approved alternatives, to be eligible to graduate.  Required tests vary by expected year of graduation.  A student’s expected year of graduation is set when he/she enters the ninth grade.


  • ** "Exit exam" scores (for graduation requirements) are separate from what are known as the "college- and career-ready" scores.

    Students that meet or exceed the college- and career-ready threshold score on the Smarter Balanced ELA or Math test as a 10th grader, will not have to take that test in 11th grade.

    Certificate of Academic Achievement and Certificate of Individual Achievement

    • Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA): lets families, schools, businesses and colleges know that a student is “college and career ready” and met the state’s English Language Arts, and Math standards.
    • Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA): Students in special education not earning a CAA have additional assessment options to earn a CIA instead. These include passing state tests in English Language Arts, and Math with either a “Basic” level of mastery; taking state tests at a different grade level; taking alternative state assessments (WA-AIM); or taking locally determined assessments.

    State Approved Alternatives

    • Students who have the “college and career ready” skills in English Language Arts, and Math but are unable to show that on state exams may use state-approved alternatives. 
    • Students may access the approved alternatives after taking the state exam at least once in every subject area for which they seek an alternative. 
    • The Certificate of Academic Achievement alternative options are:
      • SAT or ACT – Students may use their Math and English Language Arts scores on college readiness tests. Fee waivers are available for eligible students to take the approved SAT or ACT exams. The minimum scores are: MATH: SAT-430, ACT-16.   ELA:  SAT with Essay - 410, ACT with writing – 14.
      • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) – Students may use a score of three or higher on specified AP exams or four or higher on eligible IB exams: Math (AP: Calculus or Statistics; IB: Mathematics or Further Mathematics), ELA (AP: English Language and Composition AND one of the following AP tests: English Literature and Composition, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology, United States History, World History, United States Government and Politics, or Comparative Government and Politics; OR one of the following IB tests: Language A: Literature, Language A: Language and Literature, Business and Management, Economics, Geography, History, Information Technology Is a Global Society, Philosophy, Psychology or Social and Cultural Anthropology)
      • Dual Credit Courses – A student who completes a dual credit course in English language arts or mathematics in which the student earns college credit may use passage of the course as an objective alternative assessment.
      • GPA Comparison – For 12th grade students only. A student's grades for courses in a specific content area are compared to the grades of other students who took the same courses AND met standard on the same state exam as the student for whom the calculation is being run (target student). If the target student has a mean GPA equal to or higher than their cohorts mean GPA, they may use the GPA Comparison to meet the content area assessment graduation requirement.  A student must have an overall cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 grading scale AND must have taken the state exam at least once.


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    Assessments for Students in Special Education

    Students receiving special education services may earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) by passing state tests in English Language Arts, and Math. Both allow students to receive a “regular” high school diploma.

    • Students in special education that take the high school grade level state exams, with or without accommodations, and meet the “career and college readiness” proficiency scores will receive a CAA.
    • The following options are available to receive a CIA:
      • CIA Cut Score – on Regular (On-Grade) Assessment – Students take the high school grade level state exams with or without accommodations – but their IEP team agrees that the graduation criteria for the student will be at the Basic level (Level 2) rather than the Proficient level (Level 3).
      • Off-grade level assessments– Students take the SBA – with or without accommodations – at a lower grade level that best matches their abilities as agreed by the IEP team. Students must meet the Proficient level (Level 3) for the grade level in which they test.
      • Locally Determined Assessments–12th grade students have the option to be assessed with one of several approved, published content area achievement tests that are to be administered at the school. Students must meet the designated Grade Equivalency for the IEP team-selected assessment to meet the graduation requirement associated with the content area.
      • Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement (WA-AIM) – Students with severe cognitive differences may show their skills and knowledge of the state standards through alternative assessments with access points matched to their learning goals.
      • WA-AIM Engagement Rubric Waiver – For students with disabilities at extreme low levels of cognitive interaction, IEP teams and associated district personnel can pursue a waiver from further state testing and the state graduation requirements linked to the state’s assessment program.


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