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Arts Requirement

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, WAC 180-51-067, and WAC 180-51-068).

The state's arts high school graduation requirement is one (1) credit in visual or performing arts aligned to high school arts learning standards, or, for the Class of 2019 and beyond, two (2) credits of arts, one of which may be replaced by a Personalized Pathway Requirement.

WAC 180-51-066 (graduation requirements 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 this subject area is determined by the local district. State law requires districts to have "assessments or other strategies"in high school arts. The state superintendent's office has developed classroom-based assessment models for districts to use (RCW 28A.230.095).

WAC 180-51-067 (graduation requirements applicable to the Class of 2016 through the Class of 2018 for districts that do not have a waiver to delay implementation for two years) specifies one arts credit.

WAC 180-51-068 (graduation requirements applicable to the Class of 2019 and beyond, for districts that do not have a waiver to delay implementation for two years) specifies two arts credits. One of the two arts credits may be replaced with a Personalized Pathway Requirement, as provided in subsection (15)(c) of WAC 180-51-068.

A course that is taught to the Arts Learning Standards may be considered an arts class that meets graduation requirements. The Arts Learning Standards address five arts disciplines: Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Students in arts classes perform, present or produce: students present visual arts, perform performing arts, and produce media arts.

Visual or presenting art classes that are taught to the Arts Learning Standards in the visual arts discipline that may include, but 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 are classes that are taught to the Arts Learning Standards in the dance, music, or theater disciplines that may include classes that contain a performance component such as dance, music, and theatre classes, including but 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.

Producing arts are classes taught to the Arts Learning Standards in the media arts discipline that may include, but are not limited to, photography, film, animation, broadcast technology (radio, T.V., and Internet), audio/video technology (T.V., radio, and audio projects, social media, and Internet projects), video game design, digital art and design, emerging technologies, visual communications, Advanced Placement Studio (AP) courses, and International Baccalaureate (IB) visual arts.

No, the arts graduation requirement may not be waived.

Arts classes must be taught by Arts certified instructors, or, in specific circumstances where the district has established a course equivalency, by Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers. See OSPI's Career and Technical Education Course Equivalency Took Kit and the Washington State School Directors Association model policy on CTE course equivalency (WSSDA Policy 2413).

Arts courses that meet graduation requirements generally will be taken during students?9th through 12th grade years. For middle school arts courses to meet graduation requirements, the courses must satisfy the requirements for a high school level credit earned before ninth grade, as defined by statute (RCW 28A.230.090).

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.

For more information on the arts in Washington Schools visit the OSPI revised arts website at:

Page last updated: November 2017