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State increases 2019 high school credit requirements
State increases 2019 high school credit requirements
Posted on 04/28/2016

High school graduation credit requirements will increase from 20 credits in 2016 to a 24-credit Career- and College-Ready graduation requirement beginning in 2019.

The Washington State Board of Education (WSBE) has increased the number of required high school credits to 24. The purpose of this change is to prepare students for college, career, and life.


The WSBE sets state credit requirements and local districts may set additional requirements. According to its website, WSBE believes the new credit requirements and new learning standards will help all students graduate prepared for their next steps in life.


The Puyallup School District currently provides 24.5 traditional credit opportunities. The district is currently working to expand opportunities for students to earn high school credits in order to meet the new Class of 2019 24-credit graduation requirement. Changes being implemented by the Puyallup School District include fast start, equivalency, “two for one” credits, and competency credit testing.


Fast Start Credits

Seventh and eighth grade students are currently allowed to take Honors Math – Algebra and World Language. In the future, the course will be taken with high school students (grades 9-12) and the course name, content, and rigor will be designated as high school level. Students will complete the same course requirements and examinations as high school students.


Equivalent Credits

Any course at the high school level outside the “core” academic subject areas (Math, Science, English/Language Arts) that are deemed equivalent to “core” academic subject areas and are approved to meet graduation requirements are considered equivalent credits. They require approval from the district’s Equivalency Committee which includes chief academic officers, director of career and technical education (CTE), director of instructional leadership, high school principals, counselors and content specialist.


“2 for 1” Credits

CTE courses that can satisfy two graduation requirements with a single credit are considered “two for one” credits. This creates flexibility for students to choose more elective courses or to address other graduation requirements. These courses will be decided by a district Equivalency Committee and are pending policy clarification.


Competency Credit Testing

Pending school board approval, the district plans to adopt a new policy that:

  • Recognizes the value of multilingualism in preparing students to be global citizens
  • Provides high school credit when students show proficiency across a broad spectrum of skills – reading, writing, speaking – in a world language
  • Tests used are ACTFL – approved and scored according to national standards
  • Offers one more flexible avenue to 24 credit graduation requirement
  • Provides opportunity for students to earn the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy


Current efforts are underway to determine if CTE course, core academics and electives could be subject to competency testing.


In 2006 the Legislature directed the WSBE to revise the definition of the purpose and expectations of a public high school diploma. In the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature passed E2SSB 6552 that directed the WSBE to implement (through rule (WAC 180-51-068) the 24-credit graduation requirements for the Class of 2019 and beyond.


Click on the graphic below to view the WSBE 24-credit graduation requirements.

      • Seven of the 24 credits are flexible credits; these include four elective credits and three Personalized Pathway Requirements that are chosen by students based on their interest and their High School and Beyond Plans.
      • 17 of the 24 credits are mandatory core credits, including three credits of science, two of which must be lab science.
      • Two of the flexible credits may be waived locally for students with ‘unusual circumstances,’ as defined by local district policy.


Executive Director of College and Career Readiness Mark Knight said, “while it seems as though the change might place limitations on how students access their courses at the high school level, there is still quite a bit of flexibility to experience a variety of opportunities.”