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State Changes Graduation Requirements for Classes of 2020 and Beyond

You may have heard that Washington recently changed its graduation requirements. Due to changes in state law, students in the class of 2020 and beyond no longer need to pass state tests in order to graduate. Passing the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math tests will still be one of the pathways to graduation, but it is no longer a requirement for high school graduation.

Students will continue to be required to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in ELA and Math and the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science to meet the requirements of federal law, but will not need to pass it to graduate. 

More communication on the changes created by this new legislation will be released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as schools and districts prepare for next school year. We will update you with additional information as it becomes available.

We are including information below on how this impacts the classes of 2020 and beyond. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school’s counseling department. 

Class of 2020 and Beyond

What has changed? Students need to demonstrate their readiness for post-secondary career or college via one or more pathways. The pathways available to the Class of 2020 are:

  • Meeting the graduation standard on Smarter Balanced or the alternative test for some special education students (ELA and math);
  • Passing a dual credit course;
  • Passing a Bridge to College course in English or math;
  • C+ in certain AP classes or achieving at least a 3 on certain AP tests;
  • Achieving an ACT or SAT score at a set level; or

To meet the state graduation requirement, students must demonstrate skills via a pathway for ELA and math. The above options can be used interchangeably to meet both requirements. Alternatively, the following two pathways are considered to meet both ELA and math.

  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
  • Career and Technical Education sequence (Yet to be defined by OSPI. More information is anticipated in August 2019.)

In addition, some students with disabilities may demonstrate their proficiency by:

  • An SBA score at level 2
  • Passing a Locally Developed Assessment (for special education students unable to participate in state tests).
  • Taking SBA at a lower grade level


Where can I get more information about graduation requirements?

The most recent information, including the text of HB1599 can be found on the OSPI website at: 

Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here: