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Procedure: World Language Mastery-Based Credit

World Languages Credit for Mastery/Proficiency

For purposes of this procedure, a world language is described according to the definition used by the Higher Education Coordinating Board as “[a]ny natural language that has been formally studied […], including American Sign Language (AMESLAN, the language of the deaf community), American Indian/Alaskan Native Tribal Languages, and languages no longer spoken, such as Latin and ancient Greek. However, neither computer ‘languages’ nor forms of deaf signing aside from AMESLAN are acceptable.” 

Demonstrating Mastery/Proficiency in a World Language
​Students can earn world language mastery-based credit for oral only and/or visual only languages. Mastery-based credit can be used either for awarding credit in place of a traditional course, or for credit recovery purposes.

Students may recover credit by demonstrating mastery in the following ways:

  • Performance-based: The student may recover one world language credit following a failed or incomplete foreign language course if the student meets standard on an end-of-course exam from a world language course (where an end-of-course exam is available); or
  • Proficiency-based: The student may recover up to four (4) world language credits following a failed or incomplete world language course if the student meets standard on another approved state alternative that meets the graduation requirement;

World Language Proficiency Test:

The State Board of Education (SBE) in consultation with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) determines what constitutes a passing or proficient score for world language proficiency tests. Any student may one world language credit for achieving a passing or proficient score on a world language proficiency test. Additionally, any student may obtain one credit for successfully completing a course or courses in preparation for taking a world language proficiency test. For students in or from institutional education facilities, the district will award at least one (1) world language credit upon the student’s meeting the standard established by SBE. The district will also award students in or from institutional education additional credit for successfully completing a course or courses in preparation for taking a world language proficiency test.

Students may obtain one world language credit for passing a district-created assessment that is aligned to state learning standards. Tribes are the sole determiner of language proficiency for Tribal languages. Students do not need to have attempted and failed a course before being eligible for these options:

  • Locally created written or oral test;
  • Written report by the student;
  • Student-designed portfolio of work;
  • Student presentation or oral defense of their learning in the course;
  • Hands-on demonstration of knowledge and skills;
  • A combination of assessment approaches, as defined by the district; or
  • Other locally developed methods.

Equivalency course of study: Students may receive credit for learning experiences outside of school that align to state learning standards, in accordance with Board Policy 2413 – Equivalency Credit Opportunities and WAC 392-410-300.

Successful completion of next higher-level course: Credit may be awarded for a course when the student successfully completes the next higher-level course in a sequence that includes a natural progression of the state learning standards from the previous course. State or locally determined learning standards will be used as the guide when making decisions regarding what courses should qualify.

Mastery-based credit is available in world language courses if the student achieves a C or higher grade in the next-higher level course.

The district will manage the assessment process so that students seeking mastery-based credit can demonstrate mastery/proficiency across language skills. Assessments will be aligned to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines in order to ensure consistency across languages. The district will select the appropriate assessment instrument(s) from the list of approved assessment options maintained by OSPI. These assessments can be found on the OSPI World Languages website (

All 29 federally recognized Tribes within Washington State are sovereign nations and therefore have control and authority over and around their Tribal language; this includes teaching, learning, and earning credit. Tribes are the sole determiner of language proficiency for Tribal languages. For languages of Washington’s 29 federally-recognized Tribes, the district will ensure educators are First Peoples’ Language, Culture and Oral Traditions certified. The district will reach out to the Office of Native Education for assistance collaborating with partner tribe(s). For Native and Tribal languages that are outside of Washington’s 29 federally recognized Tribes, the district will consult the Office of Native Education.

Determining Mastery and Credit Equivalencies
​The district will award one or more credits based on the student demonstrating an overall proficiency level according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines as follows:

    1. Novice Mid – 1 credit (Carnegie Unit)
    2. Novice High – 2 credits
    3. Intermediate Low – 3 credits
    4. Intermediate Mid – 4 credits

Since students may demonstrate varied levels of proficiency across skills, credits will be awarded based on the lowest common level of proficiency demonstrated across the skill areas.

Example: If a student demonstrated Intermediate Mid-level proficiency in Speaking, but Novice Mid in Reading and Writing, then credits would be awarded based on the lowest common level of demonstrated proficiency: one credit for Novice Mid. The student would not receive individual credits for separate language skills. In this example, the student would not receive four credits for Intermediate Mid in Speaking and one credit each for Novice Mid in Reading and Writing. The total award is one World Language credit. 

Tribes determine a student’s proficiency in the Tribal language and will recommend to the district the number of credits earned. 

Offering Testing Opportunities
The district will manage the assessment process so that students have multiple opportunities to take or retake the assessment(s) required to demonstrate proficiency. Assessments must be offered in a proctored setting with appropriate technology. The district will approve the site(s) where the assessments are offered, which could include individual schools, district buildings, community colleges, universities, educational service districts, or other community settings. For Tribal languages, the Tribes determine assessment opportunities for demonstration of proficiency.

 Paying for Assessments
The district will set a fee for the assessments to cover administrative costs, test fees, and/or proctoring. Fees may vary depending on the assessment costs. The district will offer financial assistance to students who demonstrate need, such as qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. As feasible, the district will aim to provide assessment equity due to varying costs for assessments based on language. The district may use Title 1, Part A funds to pay for these assessments.

Fees and financial assistance information is available at the high school. 

Reporting Results
The district will receive official test results for each student participating in the assessment process. The district will provide a letter to the student with a copy of the test results and an indication of how many world language credits, if any, may be awarded. If requested by the student, the school counselors will record the world language credits earned on the official transcript. Credits will be awarded with a grade of “Pass.” The district will strive to have all results reported to the state by August 31st of the concluding school year.

Cultural Responsiveness and Equity

The district collects and annually reviews disaggregated data to see which subgroups of students are receiving mastery-based credit. If disproportionality is found, the district takes appropriate actions to ensure equitable access to these crediting opportunities.


Adoption Date: March 26, 2024