Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Education Committee

SB 6291

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Authorizing the use of weighted grade point averages for accelerated courses.

Sponsors: Senators Braun, Becker, Angel, Rivers, Sheldon and Liias.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires Washington's standardized high school transcript to include the option of using a weighted grade point average to recognize accelerated coursework.

Hearing Date: 2/22/16

Staff: Ethan Moreno (786-7386).


The Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), in consultation with Washington's four-year public institutions of higher learning, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, is charged with developing a standardized high school transcript for use by all public school districts.

A weighted grade point average (GPA) factors in the difficulty of the coursework when determining the numeric point grade awarded for a course. Under an unweighted GPA system, the grading scale ranges from 0 to 4.0, so an earned "A" grade in a course translates into a 4.0 for the student. Under a weighted GPA system, a student earning an "A" grade in an accelerated level course may earn a 4.5 or a 5.0, and a student's cumulative high school GPA may exceed 4.0.

Although administrative rules adopted by the SPI to comply with the transcription requirement define "grade point average" and other transcript-related terms, neither the adopted rules nor Washington law include provisions for weighted GPAs.

Summary of Bill:

Washington's standardized high school transcript must include the option of using a weighted grade point average to recognize accelerated coursework.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.