All Washington public high school students are required to meet statewide graduation requirements in order to earn a diploma. The goal is that more students will be better prepared to meet 21st-century demands in their working and personal lives.
Within these pages, families, students and educators can learn more about each of the new requirements, including what each requirement is designed to do and how students will be supported.
To earn a high school diploma, a student must:
Earn High School Credit
|English 9||1 credit|
|English 10||1 credit|
|World Studies||1 credit|
|English 11||1 credit|
|US History||1 credit|
|English 12||1 credit|
|Current World Issues||1 credit|
|Washington State History||.5 credit or MS waiver|
|Laboratory Science||2 credits|
|Mathematics (class of 2012)||2 credits|
|Math–Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II*||3 credits|
|Physical Education||1.5 credits|
|Occupational Education||1 credit|
|Fine or Performing Arts||1 credit|
|Electives (class of 2012)||1 credit|
*Class of 2013 and beyond
Earn Certificate of Academic/Individual Achievement
The Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) and Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) tell families, schools, businesses and colleges that an individual student has mastered a minimum set of reading, writing and math skills by graduation. State law (RCW 28A.655.061) dictates the assessment graduation requirement.
The CIA is for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). As 10th graders, students in special education programs can earn a CIA by passing the Basic option (passing with a score of Level 2 or higher) or via theWAAS-Portfolio. In grades 11 and 12, students who have not yet earned a CIA may also use the Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (DAPE), which allows students to take the HSPE at a grade level that best matches their abilities.
Students through the class of 2012 can earn a CAA/CIA by passing the high school reading, writing and math exams. If they do not pass a math exam, they can still earn a diploma by earning two credits of math after 10th grade.
Students in classes of 2013 and 2014 will be required to earn a CAA/CIA by passing a reading, writing and math exam. Beginning with the class of 2015, students must pass reading, writing, two end-of-course math exams and one biology end-of-course exam.
In addition to passing state exams, students can meet their assessment graduation requirements by passing state-approved alternatives, or Certificate of Academic Achievement Options. To learn more about CAA Options.
Complete a Culminating Project
In order to graduate, students must design and complete a project on a topic of their choice, and present their project to other students, teachers, parents and/or community members. This integrated learning project helps students understand the connection between school and the real world by studying a topic they like and presenting their findings to teachers, community members and other students.
Complete a High School and Beyond Plan
The High School and Beyond Plan gets all students thinking about their future and how to get the most out of high school, so that they’re ready to pursue their adult lives, no matter what direction they plan to take.
Ideally, students write their plan in 8th or 9th grade and then continue to revise it throughout high school to accommodate changing interests or goals. Students should be encouraged to include the following elements in their plan:
- Their personal story – what experiences, interests and goals are shaping who they are now and who they want to become
- Their learning style
- Their goals for high school – what their four years of high school look like, including classes, extracurricular activities, sports, a job, etc.
- Their goals for immediately after high school – a student’s plan should include the classes needed in preparation for a 2- to 4-year college, vocational or technical school, certificate program or the workforce
Each school district determines the guidelines for the High School and Beyond Plan. Please contact your local school district to obtain a copy of the guidelines that have been established for your district.
Lessons on Creating a High School and Beyond Plan
Download the lesson (PDF) for creating a High School and Beyond Plan. The lesson (from Navigation 101) introduces the four-year plan to 9th graders.
The Graduation Toolkit is produced each year by OSPI to help educators and families understand Washington state graduation requirements. This guide is available online for easy viewing and in a downloadable format for printing.