Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements for Class of 2021 & Beyond

High School and Beyond Plan

The State of Washington requires all students to create a High School and Beyond Plan. Seattle Public Schools expects students entering grade 8 to begin to develop a 5-year plan including 4 years of high school courses, resume or activity log, and post high school career and college goals. The plan should be updated over time as the student develops high school plans. School counselors, staff and parents help students develop their individual plans in the district approved tools.

Service Learning

Seattle Public Schools requires students to complete 60 hours of service learning before graduation. Speak to your Counselor to learn more about service learning and to help you create a plan.

State Exams

The class of 2021 and beyond, students are required to pass state determined exams or exam alternatives. State-approved alternatives are available for students that were not successful on their first attempt. Additional alternatives or modified assessments for students receiving special education services are available.

Tests typically taken in 10th grade:
ELA – Smarter Balance or WA-AIM
Math – Smarter Balance or WA-AIM

Tests typically taken in 11th grade:
Science – WCAS or WA-AIM

Alternatives to State Exams

  • State Assessment: Meet or exceed the graduation scores in the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics or in WA-AIM (Washington Access to Instruction & Measurement).
  • Dual Credit: Earn at least one high school credit in ELA and at least one high school credit in math in dual credit courses (Running Start, College in the High School, and/or Career and Technical Education dual credit courses).
  • AP/IB/Cambridge: For both ELA and math, earn a 3 or higher on certain Advanced Placement (AP) exams or pass the course with at least a C+.
  • SAT/ACT: Meet or exceed the graduation scores set by SBE in the math and ELA portions of the SAT or ACT.
  • Transition Course: Pass a transition course in ELA and math (for example, a Bridge to College course) which allows a student to place directly into a credit-bearing college level course.
  • Combination: Meet any combination of at least one ELA and one math option of those options listed above.
  • ASVAB: Meet standard on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) by scoring at least the minimum established by the military for eligibility to serve in a branch of the armed services. (Please see Counselor)
  • CTE Sequence: Complete a sequence of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. (Please see Counselor)

Required Credits

24 credits are required for graduation earned from the below list of approved courses. The credit requirements are minimums both in terms of total credits required for graduation and for credits in the various subject areas. SPS graduation requirements meet most college entrance requirements including UW/WSU. Some colleges may require additional courses.

Graduation Requirements visual representation17 Foundational:  English: 4 credits Science: 3 credits Math: 3 credits Social Studies: 3 credits Health & Fitness: 2 credits Arts: 1 credit Career & Technical Education: 1 credit  7 Electives  Electives: 4 credits Personalized Pathway (PPR) 3 credits

English/Language Arts

Credits: 4.0
Required Courses: Select from approved core course offerings.
Note: Students should complete Intro to Lit & Comp 9, World Lit 10, AP/IB/CIHS/Ethnic Studies LA 11 or 12 or approved content alternatives.

Social Studies

Credits: 3.0
Required Courses:

  • World History or Ethnic Studies World History 1, 2, and 3
  • U.S. History, or Ethnic Studies US History 11A, 11B
  • American Government
  • Washington State History (requirement usually met in middle school)

Note: Students must also complete an OSPI developed classroom-based assessment in civics in the eleventh or twelfth grade. The World History 2 or 3 courses will satisfy the state requirements for .5 credit in Current World Problems (CWP). The American Government course will satisfy the state requirement for a .5 credit in Civics. Since Time Immemorial Tribal Curriculum is part of the social studies course curriculum. RCW 28A.230.093 WAC 392-410-120 WAC 180-51-067 RCW 28A.320.170


Credits: 3.0
Required Courses:
•Algebra I or Integrated Math
•Geometry or Integrated Math 2
•Algebra II*, more advanced course in the sequence or CTE math course.
Note: *Students may elect to take an approved third mathematics credit tailored to their career path, to meet the Algebra II graduation requirement. For more information. RCW 284.230.097

Lincoln Math Pathways
For High School students only: Geometry may be taken concurrently with either Algebra 1 or Algebra 2 in order for students to access advanced coursework by 12th grade.

Flow chart of math pathways, please contact school for details.

Graduation Pathway Course: Passing the course with a C+ or higher fulfills the math component of the graduation requirements. Note: All courses beyond Geometry can count towards a third-year math course to fulfill the graduation requirement. There are CTE equivalent course options that can be counts as third-year math credit. Consult with the school counselor for CTE course options.


Credits: 3.0
Required Courses:
•Phys A/Chem A
•Phys B/Chem B or Select from approved core course offerings.
Note: Students should complete Phys A/Chem A and Biology A & B, Phys B/Chem B or earn credits in OSPI approved equivalent career and technical education (CTE) courses.1 The third credit may be chosen based on the students’ interest and may include a CTE science-equivalent course RCW.24A.305.130 RCW 28A.700.070 WAC 180-51-068 RCW 28A.230.010
science pathways image

Career Connected Learning (CTE)

Credits: 1.0
Required Courses: Select from approved course offerings.
Notes: Career Connected Learning (CCL/CTE) credits may be earned in exploratory or preparatory CCL/ CTE classes and certain approved non-CCL/CTE courses.

Health & Physical Education

Credits: 2.0

Required Courses:

•1.5 Physical Education (select from approved course offerings)

•.5 Health or Family Health

Note: The performance component of Fitness (physical education) may be waived for specific reasons such as physical disability or other reason described in RCW 28A.230.050. However, the content knowledge requirement must be met by either course work in fitness education or completing the OSPI developed Concepts of Health and Fitness Assessment. RCW 28A.230.050; WAC 180-50-135; WAC 392-410-136; WAC 392-410-310; and WAC 392-410-340. Students must also complete an OSPI approved assessment in health during high school. PE waivers are not guaranteed.

PE Waiver Policy
Physical Education (PE) is a graduation requirement according to Washington State and Seattle Public Schools guidelines. Student must earn 1.5 credits within their four years of high school to be eligible to graduate. Per RCW 28A.230.050, there is a combination of both academic knowledge and physical performance. The performance component may be waived, but the academic knowledge cannot. The academic requirement must be met either through course work in a fitness education class or by completing a competency test, which will be offered periodically outside of school. It is recommended that LHS students take at least one semester of PE to meet the academic requirement before applying for any PE waivers.
To apply for a PE waiver, students must submit a completed High School Physical Education (PE) Waiver Request Form
Students may apply to waive the physical component of the PE credits based on the following areas:

  1. Physical Disability HPE8203
  2. Religious Belief HPE8204
  3. Directed Athletics HPE8205 (eligible during junior/senior year)
  4. Military Science HPE8206
  5. Employment HPE8207
  6. Other Good Cause HPE8208 (eligible during junior/senior year)

Students participating in SPS athletics or outside of school activity may begin applying for waivers at the end of the first semester freshman year. As a reminder, the PE waiver is approved and stored by the student’s school counselor but will not be applied to the transcript until the second semester of a student’s 11th grade year.
Application of PE waivers is dependent on room in academic course planning throughout the student’s four years, in discussion between the student and school counselor during the course selection period each academic year, considering the student’s commitment to elective programs and postsecondary plans.

Suggested deadlines for PE Waivers:

  • Fall Sports: Last day of first semester
  • Winter Sports: Friday before the last day of the school year
  • Spring Sports: Friday before the last day of the school year

Fine or Performing Arts

Credits: 1.0
Required Courses: Select from Visual or Performing Arts course offerings
Notes: Select from courses in fine, visual, or performing arts or cross-credited CTE courses. 1 credit may be a Personalized pathway requirement3 WAC 180-50-068.

Personalized Pathway Courses (World Language, Art, Science, etc.)

Credits: 2.0 to 3.0 Credits
Required Courses: Select from approved course offerings.
Notes: Personalized pathway requirements are related courses that lead to a specific post high school career or educational outcome chosen by the student based on the students’ interests and High School Beyond Plan.
World Languages are recommended for students planning on attending a 2 or 4-year college or university for admissions purposes. These may be taken as a part of the personal pathway or elective credits.


Credits: 4.0
Required Courses: Once department requirements are met, any other course from any department other than required courses.

College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs)

CADRS are courses that meet Washington College and University approved admissions requirements. All courses currently offered at Lincoln High School are CADR courses. SPS graduation requirements meet most college entrance requirements including UW/WSU. Some colleges may require additional courses.

Required Courses/LWSDHS Graduation – Class of 2021 and beyondCADRs (Washington State Colleges Requirements)Highly Selective
Colleges Requirements
English/Language Arts4.04.04.0
Social Studies3.03.03.0-4.0
Fine/Performing Arts2.01.0NA
Career Connected
Learning (CTE)
Senior Year
Math-Based Quantitative