A meaningful high school diplomaCollege and Career Ready - League of Education Voters

With the culmination of eight years of work, the passage of the College and Career Ready Diploma (SB 6552) in 2014 authorized the State Board of Education to implement their recommended 24-credit high school graduation requirements beginning with the class of 2019. Thanks to the College and Career Ready Diploma, more Washington students will graduate high school prepared for both college and career. In a recent study, less than half of graduating seniors met the basic requirements for admission into a four-year state university.

The Career and College Ready Diploma adds additional credits in science, art, and world language or personalized pathway courses. It provides flexibility for students while ensuring they graduate from high school prepared to pursue their dreams and meet the expectations of Washington colleges and employers.

What does a College and Career Ready Diploma look like?

The new diploma will ensure that students graduate from high school prepared to meet expectations of Washington colleges and employers. The table below shows the changes to the diploma, which include an additional science lab requirement, and additional arts credit (which may be used by students to pursue a “Personalized Pathway Requirement“), and two credits of world language (both of which may be used to pursue a “Personalized Pathway Requirement”).

SubjectOld Graduation Requirements (Class of 2015–2018)New Graduation Requirements (Class of 2019 and Beyond)
Social Studies33
Career and Technical Education**11
Health and Fitness22
General Electives44
World Language-2***
Total Credits2024****
*Increase from one to two science labs.
**Or Occupational Education credit.
***Both credits World Language and one credit Arts may be Personalized Pathway Requirement (PPR).
****Up to two credits may be waived based on a student’s unusual circumstances, based on locally-determined policies.


Parental involvement in high school and beyond

Included in the College and Career Ready Diploma is a high school and beyond plan, which is a student’s plans for postsecondary education or training and their career. This plan, developed beginning in middle school, is helpful in making sure students are prepared to complete high school and take the courses needed to succeed after high school.

Parents are encouraged to work with their children to develop and update their High School and Beyond Plan. This is critical to ensure that students are taking the coursework needed to succeed after high school—by fulfilling minimum requirements for admission to public four-year colleges in Washington or by taking “personalized pathway” coursework to pursue their training and career goals.

Washington jobs for Washington students

The employment opportunities—in fields like healthcare, manufacturing, and technology—in our state are impressive. As parents, teachers, community members, and tax payers, we want our students to graduate high school with options.

In the past, too many students got lost in the education system or graduated with a high school diploma that didn’t prepare them for further education or Washington’s job market. The College and Career Ready Diploma changes that—it ensures that our students will graduate ready, in our current economy, for their next step in life, be it college or work.

What’s next

When SB 6552 became law, the State Board of Education (SBE) developed and released rules for the implementation of the College and Career Ready Diploma. In July 2014, SBE held a public hearing and voted on the proposed rules.

School districts may apply to delay the adoption of the new College and Career Ready Diploma until the classes of 2020 or 2021, instead of adopting the new standards with the class of 2019 as specified in the law. SBE must grant a waiver to any school district that completes the necessary application to delay implementation of the new graduation framework. In their application, school districts must describe the barriers to implementation and the steps that will be taken to achieve implementation on the delayed timeline.

LEV will continue monitoring the implementation of the College and Career Ready Diploma through the 2015 legislative session, and beyond. Get involved by connecting with us by email or via social media.


College and Career Ready | Preparados para la escuela universitaria y la carrera profesional (January 2015)

Graduating all students college and career ready in Washington (July 2014)

Student guidance for college and career readiness (Op-ed by Michael Dunn, June 2, 2014)

SB 6552, Washington State Legislature website