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Change to Waiver Administration

Effective January 1, 2019, the administration of the waiver of instructional time requirement was transferred to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Rulemaking and administration of waivers from graduation requirements remain with the State Board of Education.


Waivers of the Basic Education Program and High School Graduation Requirements

SBE-administered Waivers: 

  • Emergency Waiver Program: waiver of certain graduation requirements (180-11 WAC)
  • Waiver of the Credit-based High School Graduation Requirements: to create and implement alternative graduation requirements (180-18-055 WAC)
    • A school district, or high school with permission of the district board of directors, or approved private high school, desiring to implement a local restructuring plan to provide an effective educational system to enhance the educational program for high school students, may apply to the state board of education for a waiver from one or more of the requirements of chapter 180-51 WAC. To apply for a waiver of the Credit-based High School Graduation Requirements, please reach out to Alissa Muller. Download a copy of the questions or prompts for the Application, or access it here: Waiver of Credit-Based High School Graduation Requirements.

Waivers granted from the credit unit graduation requirements of WAC 180-51.

District School # of Years Granted Expires
Davenport Lincoln County Tech and Pathways 4 July 2021 2021-2025
Northshore Innovation Learning Lab 4 June 2023 2026-2027
Cle Elum-Roslyn Swiftwater Learning Center 4 April 2023 2026-2027
Snoqualmie Valley Two Rivers School  4 August 2023 2026-2027
Tonasket Tonasket Choice High School 4 April 2023 2026-2027
Ellensburg K-12 Ellensburg Learning Center 4 June 2023 2026-2027
Federal Way

Career Academy at Truman, Federal Way Open Doors

4 May 2021 2024-2025

Big Picture High School

Maritime High School

Innovation Heights Academy




April 2023

March 2021

April 2024




Issaquah Gibson Ek High School 4 March 2020 2023-2024
Lake Chelan Chelan School of Innovation 4 September 2022 2025-2026
Marysville Tulalip Heritage High School 4 September 2022 2025-2026
Methow Valley  Independent Learning Center 4 March 2021 2023-2024
Quincy Quincy Innovation Academy 4 September 2022 2025-2026

FAQs about the waiver of credit-based graduation requirements

1. What does the waiver of credit-based graduation requirements let a school do? 

In April 1999, the SBE adopted WAC 180-18-055. The rule authorizes the Board to grant a waiver to applying schools that would enable students to earn a diploma by a demonstration of mastery of the state learning standards in core required subject areas, in place of earning the credits required by Chapter 180-51 WAC (High School Graduation Requirements). Essentially, the waiver lets schools track student mastery of the subject area requirements differently, i.e., not through credits (though it does not waive the subject area requirements). Schools are also required to ensure that students have the opportunity to meet the minimum college admissions standards established by the Washington Student Achievement Council (RCW 28B.77.020(7)(a)). The waiver also does not waive the requirements for students to have a High School and Beyond Plan (RCW 28A.230.090), meet a graduation pathway (RCW 28A.655.250), or use the state transcript (RCW 28A.230.125 and WAC 392-415-070, see more details in #3 below).  

2. Is the waiver of credit-based graduation requirements something a school must apply to the SBE for and receive as a prerequisite to beginning MBL implementation? 

No. While some schools in our state find the waiver helpful, it is not required to implement MBL.  

Although the definition of a high school credit has been delinked from seat time requirements for over a decade, schools find the waiver helpful in communicating to their staff and community the focus on meeting the learning standards at the student’s individual pace (versus over the course of a time-bound credit course). Additionally, while a waiver of credit-based graduation requirements is not required for schools to implement mastery-based learning, many schools find the waiver helpful in tracking student mastery of the subject area requirements differently from schools using credits as an accounting mechanism for students to meet the subject area requirements. 

3. Do schools with the waiver still have to use the state standardized transcript?  

Yes. Per RCW 28A.230.125 and WAC 392-415-070, a student’s transcript must include the student’s academic history for all high school level courses attempted.  

While the waiver allows the school to not count credits so to speak, the school is still expected to clearly show what courses a student has successfully completed/what graduation requirements the students have met on the transcript. In other words, nothing in the waiver of credit-based graduation requirements allows for districts to do anything different with the state standardized transcript.  

OSPI-administered waivers: