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PDFWAC 180-51-210

State subject and credit requirements for high school graduation.

(1) Definitions. The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(a) "Laboratory science" means any instruction that provides opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world, or with data drawn from the material world, using the tools, data collection techniques, models and theories of science. A laboratory science course meeting the requirement of subsection (4) of this section may include courses conducted in classroom facilities specially designed for laboratory science, or course work in traditional classrooms, outdoor spaces, or other settings which accommodate elements of laboratory science as identified in this subsection;
(b) "Personalized pathway" means a locally determined body of course work identified in a student's high school and beyond plan that is deemed necessary to attain the postsecondary career or educational goals chosen by the student;
(c) "Personalized pathway requirements" means up to three course credits chosen by a student that are included in a student's personalized pathway, that prepare the student to meet specific postsecondary career or educational goals, and that align with the student's high school and beyond plan. A student's personalized pathway requirements are included in the student's flexible credits, as defined in this subsection.
(d) "Core credit" is a credit earned through course work or through mastery- or competency-based credit in the subject areas listed in subsection (4) of this section. Students subject to the graduation requirements in this section must earn seventeen core credits in high school. Core credits do not include electives or personalized pathway requirements and may not be waived under RCW 28A.230.090 (1)(e) or subsection (2) of this section.
(e) "Flexible credit" is a credit that is either an elective credit or a personalized pathway requirement. Flexible credits may be waived under RCW 28A.230.090 and subsection (2) of this section, and are listed in subsection (5) of this section.
(2) A school district that grants high school diplomas may waive up to two of the flexible credits required for graduation under subsection (4) of this section for an individual student, based on the student's circumstances. Districts will grant any such waiver in accordance with written district policy. A student granted a waiver under this subsection must earn the core credits in subsection (4) of this section, but may graduate with as few as twenty-two credits, rather than twenty-four credits.
(3) The statewide subject areas and credits required for high school graduation, for students who enter the ninth grade or begin the equivalent of a four-year high school program on or after July 1, 2017, (the class of 2021 and beyond) shall total twenty-four, except as otherwise provided in this section. The twenty-four subject area credits for graduation include core credits and flexible credits listed in subsections (4) and (5) of this section. All credits are to be aligned with the state's learning standards developed under RCW 28A.655.070 for the subject and may be earned through mastery- or competency-based credit. The contents of any course shall be determined by the local school district. Districts are encouraged to adopt culturally-responsive curricula that is relevant to the district's students, including the incorporation of curricula about the history, culture, and government of the nearest federally recognized Indian tribe or tribes as required by RCW 28A.320.170.
(4) Core credits are credits and subject areas that may not be waived under RCW 28A.230.090 (1)(e) and subsection (2) of this section. The core credits include:
(a) Four English credits.
(b) Three mathematics credits.
(i) Unless otherwise provided for in (b)(ii) of this subsection, the three mathematics credits required under this section must include:
(A) Algebra 1 or integrated mathematics I;
(B) Geometry or integrated mathematics II; and
(C) A third credit of high school mathematics, aligning with the student's interests and high school and beyond plan, with agreement of the student's parent or guardian. The high school and beyond plan must be provided to the student's parents or guardians in their native language if that language is one of the two most frequently spoken non-English languages of students in the district (RCW 28A.230.090). Districts are encouraged to provide plans to parents and guardians in additional languages as needed, to the extent feasible. If the parent or guardian is unavailable or does not indicate a preference for a specific course, agreement may be provided by the school counselor or principal.
(ii) A student who prior to ninth grade successfully completes one or more high school level math courses with a passing grade that is automatically transcribed on the student's high school transcript in accordance with RCW 28A.230.090 and WAC 180-51-030, or a student who demonstrates mastery/competency in high school math subjects and has received credit for them, may use these credits to meet their math graduation requirements. Refer to WAC 180-51-030 for information about opting out of credits and numerical grades. Upon completion of algebra 1 or integrated math I, geometry or integrated math II, and a third credit of high school level math that aligns with the student's high school and beyond plan, schools are urged to encourage the student to consider additional math courses, which align with the student's education and career goals in their high school and beyond plan.
(iii) A student who prior to ninth grade successfully completes one or more high school level math courses with a passing grade and opts to receive no high school credit for such course(s) in accordance with RCW 28A.230.090 and WAC 180-51-030, or a student who demonstrated mastery/competency in these subjects but did not receive high school credits, may either:
(A) Repeat the course(s) for credit in high school; or
(B) Earn three credits of high school mathematics in different math subjects than those completed before high school. The student must take algebra 1 or integrated mathematics I and geometry or integrated math II in high school if the student did not complete these courses at a high school level prior to high school, but the student does not need to repeat courses if the student already passed the courses at a high school level.
(c) Three science credits, at least two of which must be in laboratory science. A student may choose the content of the third credit of science based on the student's interests and high school and beyond plan, with agreement of the student's parent or guardian. The high school and beyond plan must be provided to the student's parents or guardians in their native language if that language is one of the two most frequently spoken non-English languages of students in the district (RCW 28A.230.090). Districts are encouraged to provide plans to parents and guardians in additional languages as needed, to the extent feasible. If the parent or guardian is unavailable or does not indicate a preference for a specific course, the school counselor or principal may provide agreement with the plan.
(d) Three social studies credits (two credits prescribed courses, plus one credit social studies elective) and Washington state history and government, a noncredit requirement typically met in middle school. In accordance with RCW 28A.320.170, when a school district board of directors reviews or adopts its social studies curriculum, it shall incorporate curricula about the history, culture, and government of the nearest federally recognized Indian tribe or tribes, so that students learn about the unique heritage and experience of those tribe or tribes. The social studies requirement shall consist of the following mandatory courses:
(i) One credit shall be required in United States history or its equivalent.
(ii) One-half credit shall be required in contemporary world history, geography, and problems, or its equivalent. Courses in economics, sociology, civics (through the class of 2023), political science, international relations, or related courses with emphasis on contemporary world problems may be accepted as equivalencies.
(iii) One-half credit shall be required in civics, including at a minimum the content listed in RCW 28A.230.094. Starting with the class of 2024, districts must offer this graduation requirement as a stand-alone course, subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.230.094.
(iv) Successful completion of Washington state history and government shall be required, subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.230.170, 28A.230.090 and WAC 392-410-120, and shall include information on the cultures, histories, and governments of the American Indian peoples who are the first inhabitants of the state. Successful completion of Washington state history must be noted on each student's transcript. The Washington state history requirement may be waived by the principal for students who:
(A) Have successfully completed a state history course of study in another state; or
(B) Are in eleventh or twelfth grade and who have not completed a course of study in Washington's history because of previous residence outside the state.
(e) One-half credit of health.
(f) One and one-half credit of physical education. Students may be excused from the physical education requirement under RCW 28A.230.050. Such excused students shall be required to demonstrate competency/mastery in the knowledge portion of the physical education requirement, in accordance with written district policy. Such policies should be based upon addressing health and physical education learning standards as well as alternative means of engaging in physical activities, as directed in RCW 28A.210.365.
(g) One credit in career and technical education.
(i) Courses that meet this requirement include courses that are part of career and technical education programs, as defined in chapter 28A.700 RCW, or occupational education courses as identified by the district. "Occupational education" means credits resulting from a series of learning experiences designed to assist the student to acquire and demonstrate competency of skills under student learning goal four and are required for success in current and emerging occupations. At a minimum, these competencies shall align with the definition of an exploratory course as contained in the career and technical program standards of the office of the superintendent of public instruction. Districts are encouraged to offer career and technical education programs, as defined in RCW 28A.700.010.
(ii) An exception of the career and technical education requirement may be made for private schools as provided in WAC 180-90-160.
(iii) A student who earns credit through a career and technical education course determined by the district or by the office of the superintendent of public instruction to be equivalent to a noncareer and technical education core course (RCW 28A.700.070 and subsection (7) of this section), will not be required to pass a course in the noncareer and technical education subject to earn a credit in that subject. The student earns one credit while meeting two graduation requirements, a career and technical education requirement and the noncareer and technical education subject requirement. The total number of credits required for graduation remain unchanged, and the student will need to earn an additional elective credit.
(h) One arts credit. The essential content in this subject area may be satisfied in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts.
(5) Flexible credits are credits that may be waived under RCW 28A.230.090 and subsection (2) of this section. Districts may replace these credits with local district requirements through written district policy. Flexible credits include:
(a) One arts credit. The essential content in this subject area may be satisfied in dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts. This credit may be replaced with a personalized pathway requirement as provided in subsection (1)(c) of this section.
(b) Two credits in world languages. These credits may be replaced with personalized pathway requirements as provided in subsection (1)(c) of this section. If the student has an educational goal of attaining a baccalaureate degree, the student shall be advised to earn at least two credits in the same world language. Students who earn a Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575) are considered to have met this requirement.
(c) Four credits of electives.
(6) Each student shall have a high school and beyond plan to guide his or her high school experience and prepare the student for postsecondary education, training, and career, as described in WAC 180-51-220.
(7) Career and technical education courses determined by the district or by the office of the superintendent of public instruction to be equivalent to a noncareer and technical education course in accordance with RCW 28A.700.070 can be taken for credit in place of that course. Equivalencies may be determined for any of the core credit graduation requirements of subsection (4) of this section.
(8) Students who complete and pass all required International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme courses are considered to have satisfied state subject and credit requirements for graduation from a public high school, subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.230.090, 28A.230.170, and chapter 28A.230 RCW.
(9) A student with an individualized education program (IEP) must be provided the opportunity to meet graduation requirements that align with the student's high school and beyond plan, pursuant to WAC 180-51-115.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.230.090. WSR 20-01-101, ยง 180-51-210, filed 12/13/19, effective 1/13/20.]
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