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New Guidance for Competency/Mastery Crediting Now Available

Release Date: 

April 13, 2020

Guidance on Competency/Mastery Crediting During COVID-19 School Closures

In light of the spread of the novel coronavirus, SBE requested additional waiver authority from the state legislature so that we would be in position to address the needs of graduating seniors who are unable to meet the graduation credit requirements as a result of school closures and/or absence due to COVID-19.  SBE has developed emergency rules to allow districts to waive credits “…so that students in the graduating class of 2020 or earlier who were on track to graduate before the gubernatorial declaration of emergency of February 29, 2020, and any subsequent amendments to that proclamation, are not negatively impacted by measures taken by the local education agency or private school in response to the novel coronavirus…” 

However, districts must first make a good faith effort to allow their students to address core course requirements and receive credit, as appropriate. One possible “demonstration of a good faith effort to address core course requirements and credit deficiencies...” noted in guidance provided by OSPI is by awarding credit based on mastery of the content.  

Districts should use their existing procedures for awarding credits to students based on demonstrated proficiency of the state’s learning standards as identified for the course, for any course the student was enrolled in during the COVID-19 outbreak. If they don’t already have a policy, a district should adopt one to support the awarding of competency/mastery-based credit.  Policy resources have been developed by WSSDA to support districts in this process.

A mastery approach to awarding course credit could be utilized for those students who already met standard (as determined by their instructor) prior to Feb. 29. Additionally, for students who have not yet met standard but whose districts have been able to provide sufficient distance learning opportunities during the COVID-19 school closure, these students could be awarded competency/mastery credit as appropriate.

The SBE’s preferred approach for responding to the COVID-19 school closures is for all high school students to receive full credit for as many of their courses as they were enrolled in, or were planning to be enrolled in, as is possible and appropriate. Receiving course credit helps alleviate possible long-term impacts of school closures on the student’s life after high school. Students graduating with the waiver may need to make up content later when they go to college or prepare for a career.

For more guidance on how to provide competency/mastery crediting, please see this new resource document.

If you have questions about this guidance, please contact Alissa Muller


Media Contact: 

Alissa Muller
Policy Manager for Career and College Readiness
(360) 725-6501