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

Schools should provide structured opportunities for students to explore and plan for careers. The school will engage student advisors to use these activities to develop the personalized education plan. Advisors will assist students and their parents in utilizing their various interests, learning styles, career and academic assessments to guide educational planning and career choices.

School Counseling and Student Advisement

A standards-focused, integrated, and comprehensive school counseling program will help high school students acquire the skills to prepare for high school and postsecondary success. School counselors will work collaboratively 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 and create a statewide culture that values education and actively cultivates the academic achievement of all citizens, regardless of age or income. The Division of Student Affairs coordinates several college access and completion initiatives, including:

College Foundation of West Virginia is a college readiness outreach initiative aimed at helping students plan, apply, and pay for college. The one-stop college planning website is CFWV.com. 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 the community 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 Current Seniors

Students must complete 24 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

English 12

AP English courses; English 12 CR, or Transitions English Language Arts for senior



Math 1 or Algebra 1

Math II or Geometry

Math III

Math IV

AP Math Courses

Math IV-Trigonometry/Pre-calculus or Math IV TR or Transition Math for Seniors* or any other fourth course option such as AP Math



Physical Science


Third Lab Science



Conceptual or AP Biology

AP Science

Social Studies


World Studies

United States Studies

Contemporary Studies

Civics for the Next Generation

AP concurrent courses; Grades 9-11 may substitute the following AP® courses:  AP® World History, AP® US History, AP® European Studies, or AP® Human Geography, Civics for the 21st Century or AP® Government and Politics

Physical Education



Health Education



The Arts



Professional Pathway



Pre-planned, sequential courses designed to develop knowledge and skills in a specific career or academic area.




Total Credits



Personalized Education Plan

Each student’s Personalized Education Plan (PEP) includes a four-credit concentration that, if completed, will lead to placement in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses, attainment of an industry-recognized certificate or license, or enrollment in a workforce training program.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education (CTE) concentration. For the academic concentration, the state encourages students to take at least one Advanced Placement (AP) and/or Advanced Career (AC) course with corresponding examination, a fourth science credit, and two credits in one world language.

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 (WVDE) 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 West Virginia General Summative Assessment is a customized test used to measure students’ levels of achievement of the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) for West Virginia. Grades 9-11 are assessed in the areas of English Language Arts and math in alignment with College to Career-Readiness Standards. Tenth graders also take an assessment in science. 


West Virginia
Accelerated Learning Options in High School

Competency-Based Credit

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

Career and Technical Education

West Virginia has adopted the National Career Clusters Model. The state provides CTE courses aligned with 16 career clusters and consists of four courses identified for West Virginia Department of Education approved career and technical programs of study. Students may take an Advanced Career (AC) course in place of a course as listed in the applicable program of study.

The West Virginia EDGE (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.

Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

In West Virginia, dual enrollment courses are offered voluntarily at a high school by two- and four- year institutions which are encouraged to work collaboratively with high schools to increase educational opportunities for potential future college students. Students dually enrolled 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 (AP) 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 High Schools

West Virginia is not participating in the Early College High School Initiative.

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 twelve, have written approval, and meet entrance requirements set by the postsecondary institutions.


West Virginia
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

State policy sets minimum admissions criteria based on the institution’s Carnegie classification. 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 percent of total freshmen enrollment.

Students may satisfy minimum state admissions requirements by submitting their high school GPA and/or ACT Composite scores.

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






Algebra I



All courses must have laboratory component

Social Science


American History

World Language


Units in same language; American Sign Language is acceptable







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


Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must demonstrate minimum proficiency in math, writing, and reading. State policy authorizes institutions to offer three types of support for students who do not meet minimum standards: stand-alone developmental education courses, co-requisite courses, and supplementary academic support programs.

State policy provides minimum placement cut scores. Institutions may set higher cut scores for placement decisions. However, high school juniors who score a Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts and math summative assessments are exempt from placement testing.

Minimum Placement Exam Cut Scores



Reading/ Verbal

English/ Writing









Grade 11 Summative Assessment

Level 3


Level 3


40 (N umerical)

38 (Elem. Algebra)


38 (Writing Skills)


59 (Pre-Algebra)

36 (Algebra)




85 (Arithmetic)

76 (Elem. Algebra

40 (College Level)


88 Sentence Skills



30th Percentile


*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.

Students not meeting one of these standards must successfully complete required remediation. 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. Such courses could include a stretch course, a co-requisite course, an ALP class or other embedded course delivery.


West Virginia
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

West Virginia awards financial aid based on academic merit, financial need, and intended career.

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship. The PROMISE Scholarship is primarily funded by the West Virginia lottery.

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 22, with minimum scores of 20 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 towards attending an in-state postsecondary institution.

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Maximum annual awards are $2,700. This grant can be used in conjunction with the PROMISE Scholarship. Recipients may use the award at participating West Virginia and Pennsylvania institutions.

The West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student Grant 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 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. Recipients agree to work full-time in a related job field after graduation. The scholarship converts into an interest-bearing loan if graduates do not meet the work requirement.

Other scholarship and loan programs increase college affordability for students entering early childhood, teaching, and health science fields.


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.