Competency-based Credits for Districts

Contact Information

Veronica Trapani-Huebner

Associate Director of Content, World Languages

World Language Competency-based Credits (WLCbC) are when students earn high school graduation credits for language skills by demonstrating ability on an approved assessment.  

 All students in all graduation pathways are eligible to earn WLCbC.  There are many ways to identify students who should assess for WLCbC.  

  • Working from your home language surveys, contact families with a home language other than English to see if their students might like to earn WLCbC.  

  • Contact families and community organizations to see if their children have had out-of-school language learning experiences, such as attending community language programs or traveling and living abroad. 

  • Contact students who are currently receiving or previously received eligible Multilingual English Learners (TBIP) services and might be interested in World Language credit for their heritage language(s). 


Students can earn two types of credit: Class (C) and Competency-based (CbC) Class credit is earned when a student physically or virtually attends class and successfully completes the course to the state’s learning standards. (WAC 180-51-050) Competency-based credit is awarded when a student earned a pre-determined proficiency level on a nationally- or internationally-recognized, OSPI-approved assessment (WAC 180-51-051).

For admission to Washington’s public universities, students must meet College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs) with two (2) years in the same language. 

What tests qualify students for credit? 

Each district’s School Board should adopt a policy and a procedure. Models are provided here by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA): Policy 2409 and Procedure 2409P  

OSPI maintains a World Language Proficiency Assessment Options website that lists all approved assessments for WLCbC and the WA State Seal of Biliteracy (the Seal). The site includes information such as provider, contact information, cost, sample tests, and how to calculate credits.  

Site visitors may search by language to find approved assessments or search by test provider to find which languages they offer. If the language is not listed, districts can request a Custom Test.   

Dual-credit exams, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cambridge International (CI) A and AS Levels, do not qualify for WLCbC due to non-proficiency-aligned rating scales. Passing scores, listed on the website, can mark a student as proficient for the Seal.  

When can a student assess for credit? 

Students can test at any time for language proficiency, but most assess between grades 9 and 12 to have the WLCbC appear on their transcript. OSPI recommends that students take proficiency exams early in their high school career to allow for those credits to appear on their transcript. This ensures the student receives credit if there are any changes, like moving to a new district. 

For students coming out of elementary dual or heritage language programs, OSPI recommends having them evaluated at the end of grade 8. While there is no strict reason that students could not assess in middle school, the parents, counselors, and data coordinators must consider a student’s maturity level and be diligent to make sure any earned credits appear on the student’s high school transcript.  

Do WLCbC meet NCAA and university entrance requirements? 

Yes! WLCbC are recognized in Washington as credits earned through competency testing, supported by WAC 180-51-050 and WAC 392-410-340. OSPI cannot guarantee colleges and universities outside Washington will honor the credits. Families need to contact admissions offices to confirm. 

Testing Procedures

Due to costs and efforts associated with proficiency testing, districts should screen eligible students’ language skills to ensure they have enough proficiency to earn credit. OSPI has created Proficiency Testing Sample Prompts that districts can use. Directions are included.  

Testing Location and Requirements 

Students should test at the district. When scheduling test dates, try to use strategic times of the year to avoid other state testing windows and to allow time to report results on the transcripts. Reserve a location that is accessible and appropriate, such as a language lab, media center, or unused classroom. If a site is distant from the students' home school, consider organizing transportation with parent volunteers or a school bus.  

Each assessment has different proctoring needs. Contact the test provider to receive more details on the use or training of proctors.  

Can students mix and match skill scores from different tests?

No. Proficiency is a snapshot of what a language user can do now. If a student does not achieve their desired score or level on one skill, they may not re-take just that one skill. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, students should take all skill assessments as close to the same day as possible. 

What is the best way to share results with students?

Districts should always keep a copy of official test results in the student’s file. This will stay with the student should they transfer to a different district/state. Districts may also choose to send students a Proficiency Test Results Letter which will alert the student of their results, the credits they’ve earned, and their qualification status for Seal of Biliteracy. OSPI has created a Sample Proficiency Test Results Letter that districts can modified to fit their needs.  

What is the suggested timeline for testing?


  • According to school calendar and state testing windows, determine test dates.  
  • Report and record all AP, IB, and CI scores for the Seal of Biliteracy (the Seal).  
  • Report all Seals of Biliteracy earned by graduated seniors to CEDARS by August 31st.  


  • Collect student at-home language data.  
  • Create a list of languages and check the assessments available on the Proficiency Assessment Options site 
  • Request Custom Tests and contact assessment providers to order tests 
  • Advertise testing dates, times, etc. 
  • Host Fall semester testing dates. 


  • Record all Fall testing scores in a spreadsheet
  • Report students who earned four (4) credits as “Proficient” for the Seal. 
  • Check testing needs for any new students.  


  • Advertise testing dates, times, etc.  
  • Host Spring semester testing dates (if applicable) 
  • Record all Spring testing scores in a spreadsheet
  • Report students who earned four (4) credits as “Proficient” for the Seal. 
  • Order awards for graduating seniors who will earn the Seal upon graduation. 


  • Add new reporting record for all “Proficient” graduating seniors to mark them as “Earned”. 
  • Host Seal of Biliteracy Awards Night.  
  • Record all remaining testing scores in a spreadsheet.  

Transcript Procedures

CbC should be listed as a separate class per credit earned. Earning two WLCbC in Vietnamese during grade 9 would be listed as Vietnamese I and Vietnamese II in the year that the student earned the credit. If a student tests again and earns additional credit (for example: Vietnamese III and Vietnamese IV) after scoring higher, then add the competency credits in the year the student earns it.   

After test results come back, districts should aim to post WLCbC as soon as possible but at least within 30 days. This guarantees the credit will stay with the student even if they leave the district or state.  

Each district sets up its own local course title and description.  It is helpful to include the language, the level, “Competency” or an abbreviation, and the proficiency level. If a student moves, this information will help the next district to properly award credit. Transcript Procedures FAQs address common questions about state course codes, course designation codes, elective credits, and more.

Here is an example for course title and description: 

Local Course Title: German 1 Comp NM  
State Title: German I  
State Code: 24252  
Proficiency Level: Novice Mid 
Summary Description: Student has completed a nationally recognized language proficiency assessment and demonstrated at least Novice Mid (NM) proficiency across skill levels.