Assessment Graduation Alternatives Options
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Graduation Alternatives

Assessment Graduation Alternatives Options: CAA/CIA/Waivers

With passage of HB 1599 (the “Pathways Bill”) information on this page applies only to students in the class of 2019 or earlier. More information for students in the class of 2020 and beyond will be made available in spring/summer 2019. View the resource page related to HB 1599 and legislative information on the bill.

A Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) tells families, schools, businesses, and colleges that a student has mastered a minimum set of skills required for graduation. Earning a CAA or CIA indicates that a student has met their assessment graduation requirements by passing state accountability tests or state-approved alternatives.

Earning a CAA or CIA is required by RCW 28A.655.061.

The CIA is for some students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Please see IEP Team Guidance for Selecting the Appropriate Assessment to Earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) for more information.

Assessment Graduation Alternative options vary depending on a student's graduation cohort year.

For more information on which graduation assessment options are available to a student by cohort year, please see OSPI's Graduation Pathways Matrix.

Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) Options

GPA Comparison
A GPA comparison allows student’s grades for courses in a specific content area to be compared with the grades of students who took the same courses and passed the same state exam or accountability assessment. This option is available to students in their 12th grade year who possess a cumulative grade point average ≥ 3.2 and have met the Eligibility Criteria.

College Admission/AP/IB Tests
Students may use scores on college admissions (ACT, ACT with Writing, SAT, SAT with Essay), and specified Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests, to show they possess the knowledge and skills expected of high school graduates. Students must meet Eligibility Criteria before submitting scores from any of these examinations.

Dual Credit Courses
A student who completes a dual credit course in English language arts or mathematics in which the student has the potential to earn college credit may use passage of the course as an objective alternative assessment.

For school year 2018–19, there will be two options for approved Locally Administered Assessments (LAA) tied to Locally Determined Courses (LDC):

  • Passage of an English language arts (ELA) or mathematics Bridge to College course
  • Collections of Evidence - Local (COE Local) Assessment

Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) Options

(for students receiving special education services, if specified in their IEPs)

Students receiving special education services may have other assessments and assessment graduation alternatives in a required content area that can be applied toward earning a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA). However, a student’s IEP team will make the determination as to which assessment/alternative is appropriate for the student-- based on the student’s learner characteristics, and taking into consideration a student’s PLAAFP, post-secondary goals, and previous testing history. Meeting the eligibility criteria for applying assessment graduation alternatives is still required. For further direction, please see Guidance for IEP Teams: Student Participation in Statewide Assessments for Accountability and Graduation and IEP Team Guidance for Selecting the Appropriate Assessment to Earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).

CIA Cut Score (formerly Basic/L2) - on Regular (On-Grade) Assessment
A student’s IEP team may determine a student’s passing score as the CIA Cut Score, established within the Level 2, or Basic, score range on the state Mathematics or ELA assessment. The CIA Cut Score cannot be used for meeting standard in district federal accountability reporting, but can be used to fulfill state assessment graduation requirements to earn a CIA. Applicable students may use the CIA cut score option when participating in federal accountability assessment administrations.

Off-Grade Level Assessment on Regular or Alternate Assessment*
*Use of the off-grade WA-AIM (state’s alternate assessment) is intended for the students who have previously met the criteria for participation in the Alternate Assessment (the WA-AIM).

Students receiving special education services may take an assessment specific to a particular content area (Mathematics or ELA) at a grade level different from their current enrollment grade. The student must meet the established cut score for proficiency (level 3) for the grade level accessed. Students are still expected to participate in on-grade level assessment(s) required for federal accountability.

Locally Determined Assessments (LDA)
An LDA is a series of state-prescribed assessments that can be selected and administered at the local school level. They are available in the content areas of mathematics and ELA (comprised of a reading LDA + writing LDA). The LDA can be administered in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, but the applicable student must meet all other Eligibility Criteria for use of an assessment graduation alternative.

Meeting standard is scoring at or above the established minimum Grade Equivalency (G.E.) for the prescribed test or the established passing score. Students are still expected to participate in on-grade level exam(s) required for federal accountability.

Assessment Waivers

Out of State Transfer Waiver
The Out of State (OOS) waiver is for students who transfer from another state in the 11th or 12th grade and meet Eligibility Criteria for assessment graduation alternatives. The student may apply to receive a waiver for the assessment graduation requirement if the student has previously passed another state’s high school exit or accountability examination as approved by OSPI. Only tests approved by OSPI will be applicable for the OOS waiver. The waiver does not grant the student a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).

Special, Unavoidable Circumstance Appeal (SUCA)
Students in their senior year (or junior year under strict criterion) who have been unable to demonstrate their skills and knowledge on the state accountability assessment or another assessment graduation alternative because of special, unavoidable circumstances may appeal to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to waive a specific content area's assessment graduation requirement. The waiver does not grant the student a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).

NEW! Expedited Assessment Appeals Waiver
Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 2224, signed into law July 7, 2017, affects high school assessments and graduation requirements. One component of the new law is an expedited appeal process for waiving specific assessment graduation requirements for eligible students in the classes of 2014 to 2018. An Expedited Assessment Appeals (EAA) Waiver can be approved only if an eligible student has demonstrated that he/she has the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the high school graduation standard and to successfully achieve his or her college or career goals, as outlined in the bill. The waiver does not grant the student a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).

WA-AIM Engagement Rubric

The WA-AIM Engagement Rubric replaces the process formerly known as the Awareness Waiver. Students who meet some or all of the Engagement Rubric criteria will count as participants in federal and state accountability reporting and will have an Awareness Waiver automatically applied to the state assessment graduation requirement. Engagement Rubrics are submitted through the WA-AIM Data Collection Platform.


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   Updated 5/7/2019

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