Graduation Alternatives
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Graduation Alternatives

There are 3 graduation alternatives for students who need to demonstrate their skills in a different way.

  1. Certificate of Academic Achievement
  2. Certificate of Individual Achievement
  3. Assessment Waiver

Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) Options

Most Washington state public high school students will fulfill the assessment portion of the graduation requirements by passing state exit exams. If students don’t pass on their first attempt, there are retake opportunities.

Some students, however, may need to demonstrate their skills in a different way. For these students, state-approved alternatives are available, called Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) options.

Collection of Evidence
The COE is an evaluation of a set of work samples prepared by the student in a classroom environment with instructional support from a teacher. Students must meet eligibility criteria and must attempt an exit exam at least once before attempting this CAA option.

GPA Comparison
A student’s grades in courses corresponding to specific content areas are compared with the grades of students who took the same courses and passed the exit exam. This option is available to students in their 12th-grade year who have an overall grade-point average of 3.2. Students must attempt an exit exam at least once before attempting this CAA option.

College Admission/AP/IB Tests
Students may use their math, science, reading and/or writing scores on the SAT reasoning test, ACT or ACT Plus Writing tests, specified Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, to show they have key skills expected of high school graduates. They may also use scores from specified AP or IB exams to meet the science graduation assessment requirement, which starts with the Class of 2015. Students must attempt an exit exam at least once before attempting this CAA option.

Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) Options (for students receiving special education services)

In the past, the selection of graduation options for students receiving special education services was tied to a policy of content area services; there were several options, but not all of these options were available to each student depending on the nature of the received services. In 2014-2015, students receiving special education services will continue to have multiple assessment options in mathematics, English language arts, and science towards earning a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA), but a student’s IEP team will make the determination as to which assessment is appropriate for the student based on the student’s learner characteristics, taking into consideration a student’s PLAAFP, post-secondary goals, and previous testing history. Making assessment decisions based on learner characteristics and not special education services is a shift that accompanies the transitions in assessment for 2014-2015 and the additional science graduation requirement. Please see IEP Team Guidance document for further direction.

Basic (L2) on General Assessment/COE
A determination by a student’s IEP team to establish a passing score at Level 2, or Basic, on the state’s annual assessment. The Basic (L2) cannot be used for state and federal accountability; but, the Basic (L2) can be used to meet state graduation requirements.

Off-Grade Level Assessment
Students receiving special education services may take a standards based test in a specific content area (Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science) at an elementary or middle school grade level. The student must meet the established cut score for proficiency for the grade level accessed.

Locally Determined Assessments
A series of state-prescribed assessments available in the content areas of reading, writing, mathematics and science that can be selected and administered at the local school. The LDA is accessible by 12th grade students only for purpose of meeting state graduation requirements. Meeting standard is scoring at or above the established minimum grade equivalency (G.E.) for the prescribed test or the established passing score.

Assessment Waivers

Out of State Transfer Waiver
This waiver is for students who transfer from another state in the 11th or 12th grade. The student may apply to receive a waiver of the assessment graduation requirement if the student has previously passed another state’s high school exit or accountability examination. The waiver does not grant the student a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA). These transfer students may also be eligible to receive access to the CAA Options via Direct Access.

Students who transfer before the 11th grade and have passed another state’s state-administered Algebra I, Geometry or Biology End of Course assessment that is the state’s exit or accountability examination may also apply to receive a waiver of the assessment graduation requirement in that content area.

Special, Unavoidable Circumstance Appeal (SUCA)
This applies to students in their 12th grade year (or 11th grade year under a specific circumstance where an educator has caused a testing irregularity) who have yet to meet standard on the state assessment, Exit Exam or a state-approved alternative, and experience a “special, unavoidable circumstance” that precludes their ability to access a state-approved assessment as a senior (or junior as stated above).


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