High School Graduation Requirement

  • How does a student in special education earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA)?

    Students earn a Certificate of Achievement (CAA) by passing the HSPE/EOCs (with or without accommodations) at the Proficient level and/or the CAA Options in reading, writing and math. CAA Options are state-approved alternatives to the HSPE and are available after a student takes the HSPE at least once. The CAA Options are:

    • Advanced Placement and College Admission Test Scores: Students use scores earned on the SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement tests to show they have key knowledge and skills.
    • Collection of Evidence: With the help of a teacher, students compile a set of classroom work samples showing they meet grade-level academic standards in reading and/or writing.
    • GPA Comparison: A student's grades in either math or English courses are compared to the grades of other students who took the same courses AND passed the HSPE/EOCs.

    How does a student in special education earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA)?

    For graduation purposes, IEP teams may determine that students are not appropriately assessed by passing the required tests in one or more of the required content areas at the proficient level. The options available for earning a CIA are:

    • MSP/HSPE/EOC and pass at Basic (Level 2): Students take the MSP, HSPE or EOCs at grade level – with or without accommodations – but IEP teams adjust passing criteria from Proficient (Level 3) to Basic (Level 2).
    • WAAS-Portfolio: Students with significant cognitive challenges can show their skills and knowledge through a collection of their work. WAAS-Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (WAAS-DAPE): Students take a state test – with or without accommodations – at a grade level that best matches their abilities. Students pass by earning Proficient (Level 3).
    • Locally Determined Assessments: Twelfth-graders receiving special education services qualify for this option. The Locally Determined Assessments (LDA) helps those students for whom the HSPE (with or without accommodations), the HSPE-Basic (passing is set at Level 2) or the Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (DAPE) are not appropriate tools to assess their skills, but neither is the WAAS-Portfolio. These students need modified achievement standards. Students likely in this group master only a limited number of grade-level or below grade-level concepts and skills and communicate orally and/or in writing.

    How does a student in special education earn a high school diploma without a CIA?

    For students through the class of 2012 to be eligible for a diploma, they must meet state reading and writing standards and earn two math credits after 10th grade, if they do not pass the high school math exam at Basic (Level 2) or Proficient (Level 3). Students in the classes of 2013 and 2014, must earn a CAA or CIA by passing reading, writing and math. Beginning with the class of 2015, students must pass reading, writing, math and science.

    Do students get different diplomas if they earn a CAA or CIA or no certificate at all?
    No. All students get a "regular" diploma. The student transcript will indicate what an individual student earned. 


    If parents refuse to have their child participate in state testing, can the child earn a diploma?
    No. Students must complete all state and local school district graduation requirements to graduate. 

    For more information, view OSPI's Graduation Toolkit (updated October 2012).