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HB 1599 + Pathways

SBE has approved proposed rules to implement the graduation pathway options.

1. What is the State Board of Education’s role with graduation requirements and E2SHB 1599?

RCW 28A.230.090 authorizes SBE to establish state graduation requirements. SBE has established minimum credit requirements, and the High School and Beyond Plan (WAC 180-51-061, WAC 180-51-066, WAC 180-51-067, and WAC 180-51-068).

In 2019, new legislation (E2SHB 1599) removed the explicit link of the state assessment to graduation, replacing it with a set of pathway options for graduation. You can see an overview of what E2SHB 1599 does on our main graduation requirements page.

Districts and tribal schools may add local requirements to the state requirements.

The new law also directs the State Board of Education to adopt rules for Section 201 (multiple pathways section).

2. Is the expedited appeal extended?

Yes, the expedited waiver is extended through the Class of 2020, meaning that students can continue to use it while more information about the qualifications of the various pathways is developed and disseminated. You can view more information on the OSPI Expedited Appeal page.

3. In what situations, and in which courses, can the 2 credit waiver (from the 24 credit requirement) be used for an individual student circumstance?

Districts may develop written policies to waive up to 2 credits required for graduation for an individual student's circumstances. Circumstances may be defined by the district. Students granted a waiver must still earn the 17 required subject credits, to then graduate with 22 credits (rather than 24).

The Washington State School Directors’ Association has a model policy for the 2 credit waiver, that could still be applicable with minor changes. (E2SHB 1599 changed “unusual” circumstances to “individual student” circumstances.)

4. What are the eight new pathways that students must meet one of in order to graduate, beginning with the Class of 2020?

Students must meet the state and local credit graduation requirements, complete a High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP), and one of the following graduation pathway options:

  1. Meet or exceed the graduation scores in the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA)
  2. Dual credit courses (for example, Running Start or College in the High School) in English Language Arts and math
  3. Earn a 3 or higher on certain Advanced Placement exams or a 4 or higher on certain International Baccalaureate exams, or pass the course with a C+
  4. Meet or exceed the graduation scores in the math and English portions of the SAT or ACT
  5. Bridge to College courses (senior courses for students who earned a Level 2 on the SBA)
  6. Meet any combination of at least one English and one math option of those options listed in #1-5
  7. Meet standards on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery)*
  8. Complete a sequence of Career and Technical Education courses*

*Note: The armed services test and the CTE course sequence are new graduation pathways; the other pathways have been alternative assessments. Students who pursue these pathways (ASVAB or CTE) do not need to meet English and math pathway requirements separately. English and math content are embedded in both pathways—and both pathways meet the purpose of a high school diploma: to declare that a student is ready for success in postsecondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship, and is equipped with the skills to be a lifelong learner (RCW 28A.230.090). A student who meets either the ASVAB standard or the CTE pathway requirements has met the graduation pathway requirement.

Students can also combine different pathways (#1-5 above) to meet math and ELA standards. For example, a student who meets English standard on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the math standard through a Bridge to College course has met the pathway requirement.

5. What counts for the CTE graduation pathway?

The State Board of Education will provide additional clarity on this pathway through rulemaking soon. If you have questions or feedback you’d like taken into account for draft rules, please contact Linda Drake.

6. What scores are necessary on the ASVAB to qualify as a graduation pathway?

The State Board of Education will establish the scores. More information will be forthcoming later in 2019. If you have questions or feedback you’d like taken into account for draft rules, please contact Linda Drake.

7. What scores count for the Smarter Balanced Assessment pathway?

The law specifies that the statewide high school assessment graduation standard established by the State Board of Education is the threshold. This is the same standard used in prior years.

8. What dual credit courses count for the dual credit pathway?

The course must generate both high school credit and college credit (100 level or above), and the student must qualify for the college credit (pass the course). These courses would be offered through Running Start, College in the High School, or possibly CTE Dual Credit courses. Guidance regarding which specific courses count will be dependent on the rules developed by the State Board of Education.

9. Which Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International courses count?

The law specifies that for ELA, the AP English Language and Composition Literature, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology, US History, World History, US Government and Politics, and Comparative Government courses work, as well as any of the Individuals and Societies courses in the IB catalog. For math, AP Statistics, Computer Science, Computer Science Principles and Calculus count, as well as any of the Mathematics courses in the IB catalog. The law does not specify Cambridge International courses beyond “English Language Arts and Mathematics.”

Students are not required to take the assessment associated with the AP, IB or Cambridge course they enroll in to meet this pathway requirement. A student can either earn a C+ or better grade in the course, or earn a 3 or higher on the AP exam or a 4 or higher on the IB exam.

10. What are the cut scores for the SAT or ACT that count for a graduation pathway?

The State Board of Education is required to, and has already, established cut scores for these tests, though the Board may change them in future rule making. The current cut scores can be found here.

11. What counts for the transition course pathway?

The Board’s interpretation of the language in E2SHB 1599 is that any high school course that is used for placement into a college-level math or ELA may meet this requirement. This would include Bridge to College Courses, but also could include courses that meet local placement agreements between districts and institutions of higher education.

12. Does the Collection of Evidence – Local (COE-Local) count as a transition course under the new pathways?

No. COE-Local courses may count as a graduation alternative for students in the Class of 2019 IF the student passed the COE-Local assessment (and associated course) during the 2018–19 school year. Similarly, a student in the Class of 2020 could use COE-Local to meet the graduation requirement IF they passed the COE-Local assessment (and associated course) during the 2018–19 school year.

13. What does it mean to combine ELA and math options?

A student can use any combination of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, dual credit, transition courses, AP/IB/Cambridge, and ACT or SAT scores to meet the ELA and math requirements of those pathways. For example, a student may combine an AP Statistics course with their SBA score in ELA. With the CTE pathway or the ASVAB pathway—completing either of these would meet either the math or the ELA, or both, requirement.

14. What is the new policy for high school credit earned in middle school?

If a student takes a high school level course in middle school, that student shall automatically be granted high school credit unless the student/guardian requests otherwise.

15. What is the new academic acceleration policy for high school students?

By the 2021-2022 school year, each school district board of directors shall adopt an academic acceleration policy for high school students as provided by Section 502 of E2SHB 1599.