Arts Graduation Requirement Frequently Asked Questions
Updated: December 2012
RCW 28A.230.090 authorizes SBE to establish some of the state’s graduation requirements. SBE has established essential credit requirements, a culminating project, and a high school and beyond plan (WAC 180-51-061, WAC 180-51-066, and WAC 180-51-067).
The state’s arts high school graduation requirement is one (1) credit in visual or performing arts aligned to high school learning standards.
WAC 180-51-066 (applicable to the 2012-2015 graduating classes) specifies: One arts credit that at minimum is aligned with current essential academic learning requirements at grade ten and/or above plus content that is determined by the local school district. The assessment of achieved competence in this subject area is to be determined by the local district although state law requires districts to have "assessments or other strategies" in arts at the high school level by 2008-09. The state superintendent's office has developed classroom-based assessment models for districts to use (RCW 28A.230.095). The essential content in this subject area may be satisfied in the visual or performing arts.
WAC 180-51-067 (applicable to the 2016 and beyond graduating classes) specifies: One arts credit. The essential content in this subject area may be satisfied in the visual or performing arts.
An arts course must have a performance component to be considered an arts class. Creating, performing, and responding are considered the foundations of an arts course. Specifically, this credit may be satisfied in the visual or performing arts—dance, music, theatre and visual arts.
Visual Arts classes include and are not limited to: drawing, painting, ceramic arts/pottery, sculpture, 2-D design, 3-D design, photography, printmaking, graphic arts, media arts (film, video, TV, animation, digital), textiles, jewelry, glass arts, Advanced Placement Studio (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate (IB), etc.
Performing Arts classes include classes that contain a performance component such as: dance, music, and theatre classes, including and not limited to:
Dance such as: contemporary, creative movement, world dance, ballet, jazz, tap, modern, break dance, hip-hop, ballroom, choreography, dance notation, dance history, musical theatre, improvisation, folk, ethnic, step, historical, square dance, etc.
Music such as: general music, choir, band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, guitar, percussion ensemble, music theory, Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory, technology composition, song writing, piano lab/music keyboards, International Baccalaureate (IB) Music, music history, marching band, drum line, multi-cultural and historical music, ethnic, opera, musical theatre, Mariachi, marimba, steel drums, recording studio, etc.
Theatre such as: acting, theatre, film acting and making, improvisation, mime, puppetry, performed poetry/spoken word, musical theatre, playwriting, technical theatre/stagecraft, theatre production, Shakespeare literature and performance, International Baccalaureate (IB) Theatre, etc.
No. The arts credit cannot be waived or met by taking a credit in another subject area.
Arts classes must be taught by highly qualified Arts certified instructors, or by Career and
Arts courses generally will be taken during the students’ 9th through 12th grade years. If taken in middle school, arts courses must satisfy the requirements for a credit earned before ninth grade, as defined by statute.
The Washington Student Achievement Council (formerly the Higher Education Coordinating Board) has established a minimum admission requirement of 1 credit of fine, visual, or performing arts - or 1 additional credit in other College Academic Distribution Requirement (CADR) academic subject areas (math, English, social science, lab science, or world languages). Acceptable coursework in the fine, visual, or performing arts includes art appreciation, band, ceramics, choir, dance, dramatics performance and production, drawing, fiber arts, graphic arts, metal design, music appreciation, music theory, orchestra, painting, photography, print making, or sculpture.
Note: The University of Washington and Western Washington University specify one-half credit in fine, visual, or performing arts. The other half may be in the arts or an academic elective.
Yes, as long as the district has established the course equivalencies, per RCW 28A.230.097.
For more information on the arts in Washington Schools visit the OSPI revised arts website at: www.k12.wa.us/arts/default.aspx.
In November 2010, the State Board of Education approved a 24-credit framework for graduation. This framework has not been implemented. Full implementation of the 24-credit career and college-ready graduation requirements depends on legislative approval and full funding to support the changes. The 24-credit framework includes a requirement for 2 credits of arts.
In the 24-credit framework, one of the two required credits in arts has some flexibility. If a student’s education and career goals, as expressed in the student’s High School and Beyond Plan, is better met with another course, one arts credit may be substituted with credit in another content area.