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1. What is the State Board of Education's (SBE) role with the General Education Development (GED) Certificate?

Per RCW 28A.305.190, SBE shall adopt rules governing the eligibility of a child sixteen years of age and under nineteen years of age to take the GED test if the child provides a substantial and warranted reason for leaving the regular high school education program, if the child was home-schooled, or if the child is an eligible student enrolled in a dropout reengagement program under RCW 28A.175.100 through RCW 28A.175.110.

The GED test was created by the American Council on Education and measures academic skills expected of high school graduates. The test measures five areas: writing skills, social studies, science, literature and the arts, and mathematics.

2. Who is eligible to pursue a GED?

Students age 16-18 are eligible to pursue a GED with "substantial and warranted reasons,"(180-96-045) including the following:

  1. Personal problems which seriously impair the student's ability to make reasonable progress toward high school graduation.
  2. A financial crisis which directly affects the student and necessitates the student's employment during school hours.
  3. The lack of curriculum and instruction which constitutes appropriate learning experiences for the student.
  4. The inability or failure of the school of attendance to adjust its program for the individual or otherwise make arrangements for enrollment in an educational program in a manner which enables the student to advance toward graduation with reasonable progress and success.
  5. A determination by the designated employee that it is in the "best interest" of the student to drop the regular high school program for one of the following purposes:
    1. Enter a postsecondary institution.
    2. Enter the military.
    3. Engage in employment.
  6. Provided, that the student’s parents, guardian, or legal custodian (if available) agrees that dropping school is in the best interest of the student.

3. May a student who has obtained a GED, but is not yet 21 years of age, return to public school to work toward a high school diploma?

Yes. A GED is not the equivalent of a high school diploma. If a student is not yet 21 and has not met a district's high school graduation requirements, then the student has a right to enroll in school to earn a diploma. However, a student may not be enrolled simultaneously in a GED completion program and a regular high school program.

Receiving a certificate of educational competence from the the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges does not preclude a student from returning to high school to obtain a regular high school diploma.

4. Can the GED be used to gain high school credits?

No. Neither the GED certificate nor the GED test scores may be used as a means of awarding academic credit (e.g. Carnegie units) or as part or all of the requirements for completing the regular high school diploma.

5. Who oversees the Washington GED program?

The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges oversees Washington's GED program. For more information, visit their website.

Page last updated: May 2012