World Language Graduation Requirement

For more information, visit the OSPI World Language page.

To learn more about the 24-Credit Graduation Requirements, visit the OSPI Graduation Requirements page.

Starting with the class of 2019 in Washington State (or 2021 in some districts, such as Seattle, that got a waiver), there will be a new high school graduation requirement of 2 credits of world language for most students. World language teachers are working in their districts to encourage middle and high schools to prepare for expanding offerings of world languages to more students in more schools


The Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) requested clarification from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the State Board of Education about several aspects of the new 2-credit requirement. WAFLT has issued a letter to districts outlining useful information for families and students. We are currently revising the letter for 2020. 

June 18, 2017


To: School Districts in Washington State


It has come to the attention of the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) that there is confusion among families, districts, and schools about how to interpret the new graduation requirement of two credits* of World Language. WAFLT contacted the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the State Board of Education this spring to ask for clarification. We would like to share this updated information to help your district communicate effectively with teachers, counselors, and students and parents.


Admission to a four-year college in Washington State requires a minimum of two credits of the same world language but there is ambiguity about whether the high school graduation requirement can be met with two credits earned in different languages. The State Board of Education has clarified that the state high school graduation requirement Personalized Pathway option allows students the flexibility of meeting the graduation requirements by earning one credit each in two different languages. 


The state has a goal of preparing students to be “career, college and life ready.” When parents and students hear the phrase “college ready,” they understand that to mean ready for admission to a four-year college or university. Some administrators and counselors are claiming that it means community college ready. WAFLT believes that it’s important for school districts to be transparent with students and families that the admissions requirements for two-year (community) colleges are not the same as for four-year colleges and universities. 


WAFLT recognizes that students may need flexibility to earn the 24 credits for high school graduation. Offering a Personalized Pathway as a means to waive high school world language credits is one way to provide more flexibility. However, students may waive world language credits without fully understanding the implications for future career, college, and life choices. WAFLT has drafted sample language below that we encourage districts to include in their waiver process.


I, (student name), understand that if I choose to waive earning two credits of world language in high school I will graduate from high school without meeting admission requirements to four-year colleges or universities in Washington State. If I choose to enter a four-year college later in life, I will be responsible for earning those credits at my own expense.

WAFLT welcomes the opportunity to partner with districts to provide clear, unambiguous communications to students and families about the new world language credit requirements for high school graduation. Please feel free to contact us at



Kurt Thompson

President, Washington Association for Language Teaching (2017)


* Both credits may be a Personalized Pathway Requirement. 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 student’s interests and High School and Beyond Plan that may include Career and Technical Education, and are intended to provide a focus for the student’s learning.