Changes coming for Washington high school graduation requirements

Changes coming for Washington high school graduation requirements

High school graduation requirements are changing for Washington students. Earlier this month, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1599 into law. The bill gives more options for high school students to meet graduation requirements beyond state test scores.

For people who grew up in Washington, you may think of graduation and remember the WASL or the HSPE as a gate to graduation. HB 1599 changes that, making it so that if a student doesn’t score well on state exams, they can prove they are ready to graduate in other ways.

Right now, students need to finish the required amount of coursework hours, complete the High School and Beyond Plan, and meet the standard for state exams.

State lawmakers and educators understand each student’s goals are different, so they pushed for HB 1599 to allow more opportunities to earn a diploma.

“Not every student wants to go into the same thing. So for some, a four-year education is still right. For others, a two-year education is right,” said Brian Coddington, Spokane Public Schools.

Students in Spokane have already been following this structure of graduation requirements. The district first tested it on the Class of 2018 with a pilot program. HB 1599 allows them to continue the model for the years to come.

“We’re working with each individual student,” Coddington said. “What their goals are to help them be successful in high school, and then once they get to either higher education or a trade or a field that they’re going to spend a career in.”

Here are some of the options for students to fulfill their graduation requirements with HB 1599, according to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction:

Complete a sequence of CTE courses
Complete and qualify for college credit in dual credit programs in ELA or math
Meet a certain score on the SAT or ACT
Meet standard on state assessments in ELA or math
Earn high school credit in a high school transition course in ELA or math
Meet standard on the ASVAB

According to Spokane Public Schools, the specifics on each option are still to be determined. Education leadership is still working to decide the right scores and standards for each option.

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