West Virginia Readiness Policies


West Virginia
High School and Postsecondary Alignment

SREB’s Challenge to Lead 2020 goals call for states to align middle grades and high school policies with college-readiness standards, to recognize multiple paths to graduation and to provide students with diverse postsecondary options and resources. The following tabs summarize how West Virginia aligns its policies to promote smooth transitions for students through high school and beyond.  


West Virginia
College and Career Readiness Definitions

College and Career Readiness means that students exit high school prepared for success in a wide range of high-quality post-secondary opportunities. Specifically, college and career readiness refers to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be successful in postsecondary education and/or training that lead to gainful employment. Today’s workplace requires that all workers be lifelong learners in order to advance in their careers. Therefore, it is necessary that there be a common set of knowledge and skills that all individuals acquire to successfully transition into postsecondary education or the workplace. As individuals select specific career paths, they will then have to focus on the amount and type of additional knowledge and skills they should acquire to be successful in their chosen field.

A student’s goals, desires, and interests influence the precise knowledge and skill profile necessary to be ready for success in their chosen postsecondary endeavors and the level of postsecondary education needed to accomplish a student’s individual career aspirations. All students should exit high school with a full understanding of the career opportunities available to them, the education necessary to be successful in their chosen pathway, and a plan to attain their goals.

College readiness involves being prepared to enroll in and successfully complete entry-level, credit-bearing, academic collegiate programs at two- and four-year postsecondary schools without remedial work or assistance, as well as being equipped with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to make that transition successfully. This entails having mastered rigorous content knowledge, demonstrated ability to apply knowledge through higher-order skills and the ability to navigate the pathways and systems that will gain access to positive postsecondary opportunities.

Knowledge and Skills

A college-ready person is proficient in the core academic subjects, as well as in specialized topics in their selected areas of interests. This foundational knowledge base includes competence in a broad range of academic subjects grounded in rigorous internationally benchmarked standards. Prerequisite skills and capabilities include, but are not limited to, proficiency in reading a range and type of material, with an emphasis on informational texts; fluent writing in several modes, most notably expository, descriptive and argumentative; quantitative literacy through algebra and including geometry, combined with the ability to understand and interpret data; a understanding of the scientific method and some insight into the organization of knowledge in the sciences; an awareness of how social systems operate and how they are studied; basic proficiency in a second language and awareness that languages reflect cultures; and experiences in and appreciation of creative and expressive arts. While not every person needs exactly the same proficiency in each of these areas, as student’s interests influence the precise knowledge and skill profile necessary for postsecondary studies.

Career readiness involves three major areas: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills in concrete situations in order to function in the workplace and in routine daily activities; employability skills (such as critical thinking and responsibility) that are essential in any career area; and technical, job-specific skills related to a specific career pathway. These skills allow students to enter true career pathways that offer gainful employment and opportunities for advancement.

Knowledge and Skills

A career-ready person is proficient in the core academic subjects, as well as in technical topics. This foundational knowledge base includes competence in a broad range of rigorous internationally benchmarked standards. It also includes a level of technical-skill proficiency aligned to a chosen career field and pathway, and the ability to apply both academic and technical learning in the context of a career.


While there may be specific dispositions necessary for individual careers, the basic dispositions for postsecondary success are essentially the same for both college and career readiness. Supported by research as strongly predictive of academic and lifelong success, these dispositions can be defined broadly as:





        Intellectual Curiosity


        Time and Goal Management


        Ethical Decision Making and Social Responsibility



        Working in Teams and Independently

        Clear and Effective Communication

        Problem Solving

        Critical Thinking



        Applied Knowledge

        Social and Personal Responsibility


West Virginia
College and Career Planning in K-12

State regulation requires districts to provide structured Personalized Student Planning opportunities for students to explore and plan for careers. Student advisors use these activities to develop personalized education plans with each student. During the eighth grade, students explore career options and complete needs and interest assessments to help choose coursework for the ninth and 10th grades. Students revise plans annually. During the 10th grade year, students choose their coursework through the end of high school and postsecondary plans for the first year after high school graduation. Advisors assist students and their parents in identifying the student’s interests, learning styles, and career and academic aptitudes to guide educational planning and career choices.

School Counseling and Student Advisement

A standards-focused, integrated, and Comprehensive School Counseling program helps high school students acquire the skills to prepare for high school and postsecondary success. School counselors work with other school staff to assist students with academic and postsecondary planning that leads to seamless transitions to the identified postsecondary options.

High schools will implement student advisement systems that provide students with meaningful, supportive relationships and maximize each student’s personalized learning experience. An adult advocate, advisor or mentor will take an interest in each student’s successful learning, goal setting, career planning and personal growth. Schools should implement an evidence-based advisory system that integrates school success and career-readiness skills (e.g., work ethic, communication skills, teamwork, personal responsibility, organization, financial literacy, and study skills).

Postsecondary Access and Completion Initiatives

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education strive to facilitate a statewide culture that values education and actively cultivates the academic achievement of all citizens, regardless of age or income.

College Foundation of West Virginia is a college readiness outreach initiative aimed at helping students plan, apply, and pay for college. The division also has launched a pilot project, funded by the Kresge Foundation, to provide students with college counseling and college-planning reminders via text message. Other CFWV outreach activities include training educators and community outreach professionals to provide in-depth college counseling, coordinating West Virginia’s statewide “College Application and Exploration Week” event, and engaging communities in promoting a stronger college-going culture across the state.

Additionally, the division supports the work of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Financial Aid in informing students of the availability of financial aid and assists in the efforts of the Commission to help adult students complete college degrees. The West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, and various other educational organizations are partners in these efforts.


West Virginia
High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Students Entering the Ninth Grade in 2020 and Beyond

Students must complete 22 credits to receive a high school diploma. All students must participate in an experiential learning experience at some time in grades 9-12. It is recommended that all students complete an online learning experience and at least one course in technology applications. All senior students are required to enroll in a full day of high school and/or college credit-bearing courses and are encouraged to complete a senior project.

Subject Credits Required Course Substitutions



English 9

English 10

English 11

Additional personalized credit*

AP English courses; Recommended options include English 12 or Transition English Language Arts for Seniors* 



Math 1 or Algebra 1

Math II or Geometry

Two additional personalized credits

AP, IB, Dual Credit

Courses Recommended for Additional Credits:

Math III STEM or Math III LA or Math III TR or Algebra II

Math IV, Applied Statistics, Transition Mathematics for Seniors



Earth and Space Science


One additional lab science

AP, IB, Dual Credit science courses or certain CTE courses may be substituted for a science credit

Social Studies


World Studies

United States Studies


Additional personalized credit

AP, IB, Dual Credit; Recommended options include Contemporary Studies, Economics, Geography

Physical Education


JROTC I and II fulfill credit requirement

Dual credit courses

Health Education


Health 9-12 (WVEIS course 6909)

The Arts


AP, IB, Dual credit art courses and certain CTE courses

Personalized Education Plan


4 credits within a career cluster that lead directly to placement in credit-bearing academic college courses, an industry-recognized certificate or license, or workforce training programs

Total Credits



Personalized Education Plan

Students have the option to substitute one personalized social studies credit if they pass all four JROTC (I-IV) courses. Students entering the ninth grade in 2020 and beyond who must take U.S. Studies must use Contemporary Studies as their Personalized Credit unless they are using JROTC Courses I-IV.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education concentration or a locally approved concentration that prepares students for their post-secondary goals.

The CTE concentration results in the acquisition of an industry-recognized, CTE credential. The four credits taken in a CTE concentration must be consistent with those identified for West Virginia Department of Education approved CTE programs of study. Each career-technical concentration in a school shall provide students the opportunity to obtain an industry-recognized credential as part of the instructional program, when applicable. Schools offering a concentration outside of the state-approved CTE concentrations must have four related courses approved by their local boards of education.

Assessment Requirements

The SAT School Day is the state’s general summative assessment. It is administered on paper to all students in 11th grade, except those who have taken the West Virginia Summative Assessment, a customized test used to measure students’ levels of achievement of the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives West Virginia.


West Virginia
Accelerated Learning Options in High School

Competency-Based Credit

West Virginia authorizes county boards to develop tests that would award course credit to students through the satisfactory completion of proficiency assessments, and without requiring seat-time in those courses.

West Virginia encourages county boards of education to establish policies that allow students to receive credit for two high school courses when they complete one course that has embedded content from a second course. This opportunity is designed so that interested students can “participate in advanced academic and/or career/technical education courses without having to choose one over the other.”

Career and Technical Education

West Virginia’s College- and Career-Readiness Programs of Study/Standards are organized around the 16 career clusters found in the National Career Clusters Model. Schools must provide students access to at least six of the career clusters. The West Virginia State Board of Education revised Policy 2510 to include Simulated Workplace protocols and to refine program standards, required courses and programmatic definitions.

Simulated Workplace requires schools to provide high-quality learning environments that adhere to a set of specific protocols including safe work areas, workplace teams and drug-free work zones. These allow students to earn state and national industrial certifications and must be available to students during the 3rd and 4th courses of a CTE study pathway.

The West Virginia Earn a Degree, Graduate Early program is an early-enrollment option specifically designed to enable high school students and adult learners to earn college credit in career/technical courses toward the completion of a technical associate degree.

Students may be awarded the West Virginia’s Governor’s Workforce Credential if they complete a four-course CTE program of study with high performance. To be eligible for the award, students must achieve the following:

  • Earn an 80%/B or better in the four required CTE program of study courses
  • Earn a minimum score of 95% on the CTE portfolio
  • Have a verified school attendance rate of at least 95% during the senior year
  • Earn a state-approved industry certification(s) that equals a minimum of 10 scaled points in accordance with the West Virginia Board of Education Policy 2520.13.
  • Earn a nationally recognized industry certificate in a state-approved CTE program of study
  • Pass a minimum of two drug screenings during the senior year not less than 30 days apart

House Bill 2004 (2019) directs the West Virginia State Board of Education to develop a program of general workforce and career preparedness that integrates with existing high school courses. The law also revises definitions and rule-making authorities for career education and apprenticeships.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

County boards submit their dual credit policies to the West Virginia Department of Education and the board of education for approval. Dual credit courses allow students to earn both high school and college credit. Courses can be taught at the high school, on the college campus, at another site or online. Credit awards and student tuition vary by agreement and institution.

Dual Enrollment students earn both high school and postsecondary credit. Tuition coverage varies from county to county; in those where the student is responsible, classes are offered at a reduced cost.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education require a common process for awarding college credit for Advanced Placement tests. Students receive credit toward the major or core curriculum for each exam score of 3 or higher. System institutions may choose to require higher proficiency if the exams relate to a course requirement within a student’s academic major.

Early College Admission

Early Enrollment allows public two- and four-year institutions to offer high school students college courses. Students enrolled in these courses receive postsecondary credit. High schools determine whether high school credit is offered for these courses. Students must be in grades 11 or 12, have written approval, and meet entrance requirements set by the postsecondary institutions.


West Virginia
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

State policy sets differential admissions criteria based on whether the institution is a baccalaureate- or doctoral degree-granting institution. Students must submit their official high school transcripts or equivalency diplomas to register for undergraduate degree programs in addition to meeting high school GPA and/or ACT composite score benchmarks.

Minimum State Requirements for Four-Year Institutions

Institution Type

GPA Only




2.0 and 18



2.0 and 19

In addition to GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements, students must successfully complete the following minimum core courses prior to enrollment.

Minimum High School Curriculum Requirements



Course Requirements



including English 12CR and courses in grammar, composition and literature



3 units must be Algebra I or higher or their equivalent courses



All courses must have a laboratory component, preferably including biology, chemistry and physics

Social Studies


American History

World Language


Units in the same language; American Sign Language is acceptable







Institutions may set more rigorous standards than the state minimum. Institutions may admit students who do not meet minimum requirements on a conditional basis, so long as the number of students in this classification does not exceed 10% of total freshmen enrollment.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants are eligible for admission if they possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential, or if they demonstrate an ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction through certain assessments. Institutions may establish more rigorous admissions standards for specific programs.


West Virginia
Postsecondary Placement Policies


West Virginia Code §18B-2B-6 established the Freshman Assessment and Placement Standards. Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must meet minimum cut scores on approved college-placement exams to enroll in college-level coursework.

Students who do not earn benchmark scores are now required to enroll in first-year, co-requisite courses or other entry-level college courses with additional academic support. The policy allows institutions to set higher cut scores and — with the Chancellor’s permission — to use multiple assessments, including high school GPA, for placement decisions.  

Minimum Placement Exam Cut Scores


Math (Quantitative Reasoning)

Math (College Algebra)


English Composition
















*Critical reading sub-score on new SAT
**As of 2016, the Compass test system, and its affiliated tests, are no longer offered but scores from these tests will continue to be accepted.

Transfer students who fulfill their remediation requirements at one institution will be considered to have fulfilled those remediation requirements at their receiving institution. Institutions must develop strategies that allow students to progress through college-level, credit-bearing courses in the first year of enrollment. Institutions may require students who do not meet the standards to complete such courses at another institution.


West Virginia
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

Merit-Based Aid

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based PROMISE Scholarship. The PROMISE Scholarship is primarily funded by the West Virginia lottery and is available to students who completed at least half of their core classes required for high school graduation in the state.

High school graduates qualify for aid if they meet two requirements: (1) cumulative 3.0 grade-point average in PROMISE core and overall coursework; and (2) an ACT composite score of at least 21, with minimum scores of 19 in each subject (or equivalent SAT scores).

First-year PROMISE recipients may renew their award if they maintain full-time enrollment, earn a 2.75 GPA in the first year, and complete at least 30 credits. In subsequent years, recipients must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA and continue to complete 30 course hours per year or 15 hours a semester. The program provides a maximum award of $4,750 toward attending an in-state postsecondary institution.

The West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship provides a maximum annual award of $3,000 for students who achieve a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 and enroll in eligible programs. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA after completing two semesters of college coursework. Recipients also agree to work full-time in a related job field for one year after graduation or begin a related approved community service program. The scholarship converts into an interest-bearing loan if graduates do not meet the work requirement.

Act 133 (2019) creates the WV Invests Grant Program, a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition and required fees for students enrolled in select certificate and associate degree programs at public postsecondary institutions. The program gives priority consideration to programs in high-demand fields, as defined by the state department of commerce. The program requires students to live in the state two years after graduation and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in their coursework. Recipients must maintain continuous enrollment of at least six credit hours, must complete two hours of community service, and must pass a drug screening each term. Students are no longer eligible after they earn an associate degree or attempt 90 credit hours.

The Underwood Smith Teaching Scholars Program is open to first-time undergraduates who have a high school GPA of 3.25 and ACT of 21 in math and 18 in English or equivalent SAT scores. Participants receive up to $10,000 per year and must be willing to teach in a West Virginia public school for five years after college graduation in the fields of math, science, elementary education or special education.

Need-Based Aid

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Award amounts vary each year based on factors including applicants’ financial needs and available funding. This grant can be used in conjunction with the PROMISE Scholarship. Recipients may use the award at participating West Virginia and Pennsylvania institutions.

The HEAPS Workforce program is a need-based financial aid program for students enrolled part-time or enrolled in a short-term workforce training program. Students planning to enroll in approved non-credit workforce programs may receive a maximum award of $2,000. The grant is renewable until a program is completed, up to nine years after the first award year, based on the student’s academic progress and continuing financial need. Students may not use the grant for the same course more than once.




West Virginia
Postsecondary Feedback to High Schools

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Council of Community and Technical Colleges produce an annual report on college-going rates of recent high school graduates, by county and school. The statewide West Virginia Higher Education Report Card discusses college developmental education, placement, first-time freshman progress, GPA and retention. The commission also maintains West Virginia’s Higher Education Portal, an interactive portal that provides education data including college success and workforce outcomes.