Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text

highlight

Action:
Revisions to the Standards of Accred. to Comport with ...
Stage: Fast-Track
8VAC20-131-5

Part I
Definitions and Purpose

8VAC20-131-5. Definitions.

The following words and terms apply only to this chapter and do not supersede those definitions used for federal reporting purposes or for the calculation of costs related to the Standards of Quality (§ 22.1-253.13:1 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). When used in this chapter, these words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Accreditation" means a process used by the Virginia Department of Education to evaluate the performance of public schools in accordance with this chapter.

"Additional test" means a test, including substitute tests approved by the board, that students may use in lieu of a Standards of Learning test to obtain verified credit.

"Authentic performance assessment" means a test that complies with guidelines adopted by the board that requires students to perform a task or create a product that is typically scored using a rubric. An authentic performance assessment may be used to confer verified credit in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110 B 4 and B 5.

"Board of Education" or "board" means the board responsible for the general supervision of the public schools system in Virginia as prescribed in Section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Virginia and § 22.1-8 of the Code of Virginia.

"Class period" means a segment of time during the instructional day that is allocated to lessons, courses, testing and assessments, or other instructional activities and excludes homeroom.

"Credit accommodations" means adjustments to meet the standard and verified credit requirements for earning a Standard Diploma for students with disabilities.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Education.

"Elementary school" means a public school with any grades kindergarten through 5.

"English learner" or "EL" means, as prescribed in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (P.L. 89-10, as amended), an individual:

1. Who is aged three through 21 years;

2. Who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;

3. a. Who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English;

b. (1) Who is a Native American or Alaska native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and

(2) Who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or

c. Who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and

4. Whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual the:

a. Ability to meet the challenging state academic standards;

b. Ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or

c. Opportunity to participate fully in society.

"Enrollment" means the act of complying with state and local requirements relative to the registration or admission of a child for attendance in a school within a local school division. This term also means registration for courses within the student's home school or within related schools or programs.

"First time" means the student has not been enrolled in the school at any time during the current school year (for purposes of 8VAC20-131-60 with reference to students who transfer in during the school year).

"Four core academic areas" means English, mathematics, science, and history and social science for purposes of testing for the Standards of Learning.

"Graduate" means a student who has earned a board recognized diploma, which includes the Advanced Studies Diploma, the Standard Diploma, and the Applied Studies Diploma.

"Growth" or "student growth" means student progress toward achievement as demonstrated through a valid and reliable measure.

"Homebound instruction" means academic instruction provided to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods of time that prevent normal school attendance, based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or a licensed clinical psychologist.

"Instructional day" means all the time in a standard school day, from the beginning of the first scheduled class period to the end of the last scheduled class period, including passing time for class changes and excluding breaks for meals and recess.

"Instructional hours" means the hours in a standard school day, from the beginning of the first scheduled class period to the end of the last scheduled class period, including passing time for class changes and excluding breaks for meals and recess.

"Locally awarded verified credit" means a verified unit of credit awarded by a local school board in accordance with 8VAC20-131-110 B 3.

"Middle school" means a public school with any grades 6 through 8.

"Planning period" means a segment of time in middle and secondary schools during the instructional day that is unencumbered of any teaching or supervisory duties, is not less than 45 minutes or the equivalent of a class period, whichever is greater, and that includes passing time for class changes.

"Planning time" means a segment of time for elementary teachers that provides at least an average of 30 minutes per day for planning during the student's school week as provided in § 22.1-291.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Recess" means a segment of free time unstructured recreational time exclusive of time provided for meals during the standard school day in which students are given a break from structured classroom instruction.

"Reporting group" means a subgroup of students who are identified as having common characteristics such as students identified as belonging to major racial and ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English learners.

"School" means a publicly funded institution where students are enrolled for all or a majority of the instructional day and:

1. Those students are reported in fall membership at the institution; and

2. At a minimum, the institution meets the preaccreditation eligibility requirements of this chapter as adopted by the board.

"Secondary school" means a public school with any grades 9 through 12.

"Standard school day" means a calendar day, including passing time for class changes and excluding breaks for meals, that averages at least a minimum of five and one-half instructional hours for students in grades 1 through 12, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three instructional hours for students in kindergarten. Recess may be included in the calculation of required instructional hours for elementary school, provided that recess does not exceed 15% of the required instructional hours.

"Standard school year" means a school year of at least 180 teaching days or a total of at least 990 instructional hours per year, as specified in § 22.1-98 of the Code of Virginia.

"Standard unit of credit" or "standard credit" means credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. Local school boards may develop alternatives to the requirement for 140 clock hours of instruction as provided for in 8VAC20-131-110 and in accordance with board guidelines.

"Standards of Learning tests" or "SOL tests" means those criterion referenced assessments approved by the board for use in the Virginia Assessment Program that measure attainment of knowledge and skills required by the Standards of Learning.

"Standards of Quality" means the Standards of Quality prescribed in Chapter 13.2 (§ 22.1-253.13:1 et seq.) of Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Student" means a person of school age as defined by § 22.1-1 of the Code of Virginia, a child with disabilities as defined in § 22.1-213 of the Code of Virginia, and a person for whom English is a second language in accordance with § 22.1-5 of the Code of Virginia.

"Verified unit of credit" or "verified credit" means credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and (i) achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test; (ii) achieves a passing score on an additional test as defined in this section as part of the Virginia Assessment Program; (iii) meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit conferred in accordance with board criteria and guidelines as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 3 when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test in English, mathematics, laboratory science, or history and social science; or (iv) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for history and social science by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 4; or (v) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment, as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 5 4.

"Virginia Assessment Program" means a system used to evaluate student achievement that includes SOL tests and additional tests that may be approved from time to time by the board.

8VAC20-131-51

8VAC20-131-51. Requirements for graduation (effective with the students who enter the ninth grade in the 2018–2019 school year).

A. The requirements for a student to earn a diploma and graduate from a Virginia high school shall be those in effect when that student enters the ninth grade for the first time. Students shall be awarded a diploma upon graduation from a Virginia high school.

Both the Standard Diploma and the Advanced Studies Diploma shall provide multiple paths toward college, career, and citizenship readiness for students to follow in the later years of high school. Each such pathway shall provide meaningful and rigorous opportunities tied to instruction to achieve workplace and citizenship skills through experiences such as internships, externships, credentialing, and blended learning, which may be offered for credit toward high school graduation.

In accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board, the instructional program leading to a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma shall ensure that students (i) attain the knowledge, skills, competencies, and experiences necessary to be successful in the evolving global economy whether immediately entering the world of work or pursuing a postsecondary education and (ii) acquire and be able to demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship.

When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in grades 9 through 12, credit shall be counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation provided the courses are equivalent in content and academic rigor as those courses offered at the secondary level. To earn a verified unit of credit for these courses, students must meet the requirements of 8VAC20-131-110.

The requirements in this section shall be the only requirements for a diploma, unless a local school board has prescribed additional requirements that have been approved by the board. All additional requirements prescribed by local school boards that have been approved by the board remain in effect until such time as the local school board submits a request to the board to amend or discontinue them.

B. Requirements for a Standard Diploma.

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2018–2019 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with a Standard Diploma.

A "standard unit of credit" or "standard credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. Local school boards may develop alternatives to the requirement for 140 clock hours of instruction as provided for in 8VAC20-131-110 and in accordance with board guidelines.

A "verified unit of credit" or "verified credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and (i) achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test; (ii) achieves a passing score on an additional test, as defined in 8VAC20-131-5 as part of the Virginia Assessment Program; (iii) meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit conferred in accordance with board criteria and guidelines as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 3 when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test in English, mathematics, laboratory science, or history and social science; or (iv) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for history and social science by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment, as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 4; or (v) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on authentic performance assessments as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 5 4.

No more than one locally awarded verified credit may be used to satisfy these requirements, except as provided in subdivision 3 of this subsection for credit accommodations for students with disabilities.

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

 

English (reading and writing)

4

2

 

Mathematics

3

1

 

Laboratory Science

3

1

 

History and Social Science

3

1

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education

2

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

Electives

4

 

Total

22

5

 

 

 

Discipline Area

Specifications

Mathematics

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two different course selections from among: algebra I, geometry, algebra functions, and data analysis, algebra II, or other mathematics courses approved by the board to satisfy this requirement. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.

Laboratory Science

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selection from at least two different science disciplines: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics, or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma and shall include interdisciplinary courses that incorporate Standards of Learning content from multiple academic areas. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a science course credit.

A laboratory science verified credit may be awarded to students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and (i) pass two examinations or occupational competency assessments in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, trade, or professional association; (ii) acquire two professional licenses in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia; or (iii) pass one examination or competency assessment from clause (i) and acquire one license from clause (ii). The examination or occupational competency assessment must be approved by the board as an additional test to verify student achievement.

History and Social Science

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. history, Virginia and U.S. government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

Laboratory Science, and History and Social Science

Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, or acquires a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia may substitute the certification, competency credential, or license for either a laboratory science or history and social science verified credit when the certification, license, or credential confers more than one verified credit. The examination or occupational competency assessment must be approved by the board as an additional test to verify student achievement.

World Language, Fine Arts, or Career and Technical Education

Per the Standards of Quality, credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine or performing arts or career and technical education. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical course credit.

Electives

Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.

Additional Requirements for Graduation

Advanced Placement, Honors, or International Baccalaureate Course or Career and Technical Education Credential

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, students shall either (i) complete an Advanced Placement, honors, or International Baccalaureate course, or (ii) earn a career and technical education credential approved by the board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to satisfy the standard diploma requirements. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.

Virtual Course

Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a non-credit-bearing course or a required or elective credit-bearing course that is offered online.

Training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED)

Students shall be trained in emergency first aid, CPR, and the use of AED, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Students with an IEP individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan that documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement, as provided in 8VAC20-131-420 B.

Demonstration of the five Cs

Students shall acquire and demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship in accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board.

3. The board shall establish through guidelines credit accommodations to the standard and verified credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. Such credit accommodations for students with disabilities may include:

a. Approval of alternative courses to meet the standard credit requirements;

b. Modifications to the requirements for local school divisions to award locally awarded verified credits;

c. Approval of additional tests to earn a verified credit;

d. Adjusted cut scores required to earn verified credit; and

e. Allowance of work-based learning experiences.

The student's IEP or 504 Plan shall specify any credit accommodations applicable for the student.

Students completing the requirements for the Standard Diploma may be eligible to receive an honor deemed appropriate by the local school board as described in subsection H of this section.

C. Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma.

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2018–2019 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with an Advanced Studies Diploma.

A "standard unit of credit" or "standard credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. Local school boards may develop alternatives to the requirement for 140 clock hours of instruction as provided for in 8VAC20-131-110 and in accordance with board guidelines.

A "verified unit of credit" or "verified credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and (i) achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test; (ii) achieves a passing score on an additional test, as defined in 8VAC20-131-5, as part of the Virginia Assessment Program; (iii) meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit conferred in accordance with board criteria and guidelines as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 3 when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test in English, mathematics, laboratory science, or history and social science; or (iv) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for history and social science by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment, as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 4; or (v) meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment, as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 5 4.

No more than one locally awarded verified credit may be used to satisfy these requirements.

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

English (reading and writing)

4

2

Mathematics

4

1

Laboratory Science

4

1

History and Social Science

4

1

World Language

3

Health and Physical Education

2

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

1

Economics and Personal Finance

1

Electives

3

Total

26

5

 

Discipline Area

Specifications

Mathematics

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: algebra I, geometry, algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of algebra II. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a mathematics course credit.

Laboratory Science

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma and shall include interdisciplinary courses that incorporate Standards of Learning content from multiple academic areas. The board shall approve additional courses to satisfy this requirement. Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a science course credit.

History and Social Science

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include Virginia and U.S. history, Virginia and U.S. government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve additional courses to satisfy this requirement.

World Language

Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages.

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

Per the Standards of Quality, a computer science course credit earned by students may be considered a career and technical credit.

Electives

Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.

Additional Requirements for Graduation

Advanced Placement, Honors, or International Baccalaureate Course or Career and Technical Education Credential

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, students shall either (i) complete an Advanced Placement, honors, or International Baccalaureate course or (ii) earn a career and technical education credential approved by the board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to satisfy the advanced studies diploma requirements. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.

Virtual Course

Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a non-credit-bearing course or a required or elective credit-bearing course that is offered online.

Training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED).

Students shall be trained in emergency first aid, CPR, and the use of AED, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Students with an IEP or 504 Plan that documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement, as provided in 8VAC20-131-420 B.

Demonstration of the five Cs

Students shall acquire and demonstrate foundational skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship in accordance with the Profile of a Virginia Graduate approved by the board.

D. Requirements for an Applied Studies Diploma. In accordance with the requirements of the Standards of Quality, a student with disabilities who completes the requirements of the student's IEP and does not meet the requirements for other diplomas shall be awarded Applied Studies Diplomas in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations regarding special education.

Students who pursue an Applied Studies Diploma shall be allowed to pursue a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma at any time during high school. Such students shall not be excluded from courses or tests required to earn these diplomas.

E. Requirements for Certificates of Program Completion. In accordance with the requirements of the Standards of Quality, students who complete prescribed programs of studies defined by the local school board but do not qualify for a Standard Diploma, an Advanced Studies Diploma, or an Applied Studies Diploma shall be awarded Certificates of Program Completion. The requirements for Certificates of Program Completion are developed by local school boards in accordance with the Standards of Quality.

F. In accordance with the provisions of the compulsory attendance law and 8VAC20-30, Regulations Governing Adult High School Programs, students who do not qualify for diplomas may earn a high school equivalency credential. The requirements for the General Achievement Adult High School Diploma are provided in 8VAC20-30-20.

G. At a student's request, the local school board shall communicate or otherwise make known to institutions of higher education, potential employers, or other applicable third parties, in a manner that the local school board deems appropriate, that a student has attained the state's academic expectations by earning a Virginia diploma and that the value of such a diploma is not affected in any way by the accreditation status of the student's school.

H. Awards for exemplary student performance. Students who demonstrate academic excellence and outstanding achievement may be eligible for one or more of the following awards:

1. The Governor's Seal shall be awarded to students who complete the requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of "B" or better and successfully complete college-level coursework that shall earn the student at least nine transferable college credits in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge, or dual enrollment courses.

2. The Board of Education Seal shall be awarded to students who complete the requirements for a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma with an average grade of "A."

3. The Board of Education's Career and Technical Education Seal shall be awarded to students who earn a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma and complete a prescribed sequence of courses in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that they choose and maintain a "B" or better average in those courses or (i) pass an examination or an occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that confers certification or occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, trade, or professional association or (ii) acquire a professional license in that career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The board shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements.

4. The Board of Education's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology shall be awarded to students who earn either a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma and (i) satisfy all of the mathematics requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma with a "B" average or better and (ii) pass an examination in a career and technical education field that confers certification from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association; acquire a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia; or pass an examination approved by the board that confers college-level credit in a technology or computer science area. The board shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements meet criteria established by the board.

5. The Board of Education's Seal for Excellence in Civics Education shall be awarded to students who earn either a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma and (i) complete Virginia and United States history and Virginia and United States government courses with a grade of "B" or higher; (ii) have good attendance and no disciplinary infractions as determined by local school board policies; and (iii) complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities. Activities that satisfy the requirements of clause (iii) of this subdivision include (a) volunteering for a charitable or religious organization that provides services to the poor, sick, or less fortunate; (b) participating in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or similar youth organizations; (c) participating in JROTC; (d) participating in political campaigns or government internships, or Boys State, Girls State, or Model General Assembly; or (e) participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities that have a civics focus. Any student who enlists in the United States military prior to graduation shall be deemed to have met this community service requirement.

6. The Board of Education's Seal of Biliteracy shall be awarded to students who demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language and meet additional criteria established by the board.

7. The Board of Education's Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment shall be awarded to students who earn either a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma and (i) complete at least three different first-level board-approved laboratory science courses and at least one rigorous advanced-level or postsecondary-level laboratory science course, each with a grade of "B" or higher; (ii) complete laboratory or field-science research and present that research in a formal, juried setting; and (iii) complete at least 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities that involve the application of science such as environmental monitoring, protection, management, or restoration.

8. Students may receive other seals or awards for exceptional academic, career and technical, citizenship, or other exemplary performance in accordance with criteria defined by the local school board.

I. Students completing graduation requirements in a summer school program shall be eligible for a diploma. The last school attended by the student during the regular session shall award the diploma unless otherwise agreed upon by the principals of the two schools.

J. Students who complete Advanced Placement courses, college-level courses, or courses required for an International Baccalaureate Diploma shall be deemed to have completed the course requirements for graduation under these standards provided they have earned the total number of standard units of credit and verified units of credit in each discipline area in accordance with the requirements for the Standard Diploma and the Advanced Studies Diploma, as specified in subsections B and C of this section.

K. Students shall be counseled annually regarding the opportunities for using additional tests for earning verified credits, as provided in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110, and the consequences of failing to fulfill the obligations to complete the requirements for verified units of credit.

8VAC20-131-80

8VAC20-131-80. Instructional program in elementary schools.

A. The elementary school shall provide each student a program of instruction that corresponds to the Standards of Learning for English, mathematics, science, and history and social science. In addition, each school shall provide instruction in art, music, and physical education and health and shall require students to participate in a program of physical fitness during the regular school year in accordance with guidelines established by the board. In addition, each school shall provide instruction in career exploration in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-140.

B. In kindergarten through grade 3, reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics shall be the focus of the instructional program. Schools shall maintain an early skills and knowledge achievement record in reading and mathematics for each student in grades kindergarten through 3 to monitor student progress and to promote successful achievement on the third grade SOL tests. This record shall be included with the student's records if the student transfers to a new school.

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, local school boards shall implement early identification, diagnosis, and assistance for students with reading and mathematics problems and provide instructional strategies and reading and mathematics practices that benefit the development of reading and mathematics skills for all students.

C. To provide students with sufficient opportunity to learn, a minimum of 75% of the annual instructional time of 990 hours shall be given to instruction in the disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science local school divisions shall provide a minimum of 680 hours of the required 990 hours of instructional time to students in elementary school in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science. Local school divisions shall provide a minimum of 375 hours of the required 540 hours of instructional time to students in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

Students who are not successfully progressing in early reading proficiency or who are unable to read with comprehension the materials used for instruction shall receive additional instructional time in reading, which may include summer school.

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, local school divisions shall provide reading intervention services to students in grades kindergarten through 3 who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the SOL reading test or any reading diagnostic test that meets criteria established by the Department of Education. The local school division, in its discretion, shall provide such reading intervention services prior to promoting a student from grade 3 to grade 4.

D. Elementary schools are encouraged to provide instruction in world languages.

8VAC20-131-110

8VAC20-131-110. Standard and verified units of credit.

A. A "standard unit of credit" or "standard credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. A school division may waive the requirement that a student receive 140 clock hours of instruction to earn a standard credit, effective with students enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year, as prescribed in the Standards of Quality and board guidelines. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded must be no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided. If a school division elects to award credit on a basis other than the 140 clock hours of instruction required for a standard unit of credit defined in this subsection, the local school division shall provide the board with satisfactory proof, based on board guidelines, that the students for whom the 140-clock-hour requirement is waived have learned the content and skills included in the relevant Standards of Learning. In addition, the local school division shall develop a written policy approved by the superintendent and school board that ensures:

1. That the content of the course for which credit is awarded is comparable to 140 clock hours of instruction; and

2. That upon completion, the aims and objectives of the course have been met.

B. A "verified unit of credit" or "verified credit" is a credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and completes one of the following:

1. Achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test. In accordance with the provisions of the Standards of Quality, students may earn a standard and verified unit of credit for any elective course in which the core academic Standards of Learning course content has been integrated and the student passes the related end-of-course SOL test. Such course and test combinations must be approved by the board.

Upon waiver of the 140-clock-hour requirement according to board guidelines, qualified students who have received a standard unit of credit shall be permitted to sit for the relevant SOL test to earn a verified credit without having to meet the 140-clock-hour requirement.

2. Achieves a passing score on an additional test, as defined in 8VAC20-131-5, as a part of the Virginia Assessment Program.

3. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test.

a. Students who enter the ninth grade for the first time prior to the 2018-2019 school year and do not pass SOL tests in science or history and social science may receive locally awarded verified credits from the local school board in accordance with criteria established in guidelines adopted by the board. Credit accommodations for students with disabilities may be used to confer locally awarded verified credits as provided in 8VAC20-131-50 B 3.

b. Students who enter the ninth grade for the first time in the 2018-2019 school year or thereafter and do not pass SOL tests in English, mathematics, laboratory science, or history and social science may receive locally awarded verified credits from the local school board in accordance with criteria established in guidelines adopted by the board. No more than one locally awarded verified credit may be used to satisfy graduation requirements, except as provided in 8VAC20-131-51 B 3 for students with disabilities seeking a standard diploma.

4. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit in history and social science by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment that complies with guidelines adopted by the board. Such students shall not also be required to take the corresponding SOL test in history and social science. 5. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit in English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment, that complies with guidelines adopted by the board. Such students shall not also be required to take the corresponding SOL test in English (writing).

C. The board may from time to time approve additional tests for the purpose of awarding verified credit. Such additional tests, which enable students to earn verified units of credit, must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

1. The test must be standardized and graded independently of the school or school division in which the test is given;

2. The test must be knowledge based;

3. The test must be administered on a statewide, multistate, or international basis, or administered as part of another state's accountability assessment program; and

4. To be counted in a specific academic area, the test must measure content that incorporates or exceeds the Standards of Learning content in the course for which verified credit is given.

The board shall set the score that must be achieved to earn a verified unit of credit on the additional test options.

D. With such funds as are appropriated by the General Assembly, the board shall provide opportunities for students who meet criteria adopted by the board to have an expedited retake of a SOL test to earn verified credit.

8VAC20-131-140

8VAC20-131-140. College and career readiness; career exposure, exploration, and planning; and opportunities for postsecondary credit.

A. Each middle and secondary school shall provide for the early identification and enrollment of students in a program with a range of educational and academic experiences related to college and career readiness in and outside the classroom, including an emphasis on experiences that will motivate disadvantaged and minority students to prepare for a career or postsecondary education.

B. Beginning with the 2013–2014 academic year and through the 2017–2018 academic year:

1. All schools shall begin development of a personal Academic and Career Plan (ACP) for each seventh-grade student with completion by the fall of the student's eighth-grade year. Students who transfer from other than a Virginia public school into the eighth grade shall have the plan developed as soon as practicable following enrollment. Beginning with the 2014–2015 academic year, students who transfer into a Virginia public school after their eighth-grade year shall have an ACP developed upon enrollment. The components of the ACP shall include the student's program of study for high school graduation and a postsecondary career pathway based on the student's academic and career interests. The ACP shall be developed in accordance with guidelines established by the board and signed by the student, student's parent or guardian, and school official or officials designated by the principal. The ACP shall be included in the student's record and shall be reviewed and updated, if necessary, before the student enters the ninth and eleventh grades. The school shall have met its obligation for parental involvement if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian of the responsibility for the development and approval of the ACP. Any personal ACPs prescribed by local school boards for students in grades 7 through 12 and in effect as of June 30, 2009, are approved to continue without further action by the board.

2. Beginning in the middle school years, students shall be counseled on opportunities for beginning postsecondary education and opportunities for obtaining industry certifications, occupational competency credentials, or professional licenses in a career and technical education field prior to high school graduation. Such opportunities shall include access to at least three Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge courses or three college-level courses for degree credit pursuant to 8VAC20-131-100. Students taking advantage of such opportunities shall not be denied participation in school activities for which they are otherwise eligible. Wherever possible, students shall be encouraged and afforded opportunities to take college courses simultaneously for high school graduation and college degree credit (dual enrollment), under the following conditions:

a. Written approval of the high school principal prior to participation in dual enrollment must be obtained;

b. The college must accept the student for admission to the course or courses; and

c. The course or courses must be given by the college for degree credits (no remedial courses will be accepted).

Schools that comply with this standard shall not be penalized in receiving state appropriations.

C. Beginning with the 2018–2019 academic year:

1. Each elementary, middle, and secondary school shall provide for the identification by all students of personal interests and abilities to support planning for postsecondary opportunities and career preparation. Such support shall include provision of information concerning exploration of career cluster areas in elementary schools, and course information and planning for college preparation programs, opportunities for educational and academic experiences in and outside the classroom, including internships and work-based learning, and the multiple pathways to college and career readiness in middle and high school.

2. Beginning in the elementary school years, students are to explore the different occupations associated with career clusters and select an area or areas of interest. Students shall begin the development of an academic and career plan portfolio (ACPP) in elementary grades to include information about interests, values such as dependability and responsibility, and skills supporting decisions about their future interests and goals. The ACPP is a repository for planning notes, class projects, interest inventory results, awards and recognitions, and other information related to academic and career plans and preparation. The ACPP is student led and updated and revised as the student continues to plan for the student's future throughout school years. The information contained in the ACPP shall serve as the foundation for creating the ACP in grade 7.

In middle school, students are to complete a locally selected career interest inventory and select a career pathway. To support development of the ACP, students shall complete a career investigations course selected from the career and technical education state-approved list, or a school division-provided alternative means of delivering the career investigations course content, provided that the alternative is equivalent in content and academic rigor. The course, or its alternative, shall address, at a minimum, planning for academic courses, work-based learning opportunities, completion of industry certifications, possible independent projects, and postsecondary education. The course, or its alternative, shall include demonstration of personal, professional, and technical workplace readiness skills.

All schools shall continue development of a personal ACP with each seventh-grade student with completion by the end of the fall semester of the student's eighth-grade year. Students who transfer from other than a Virginia public school into the eighth grade shall have the ACP developed as soon as practicable following enrollment. Students who transfer into a Virginia public school after their eighth-grade year shall have an ACP developed upon enrollment. The components of the ACP shall include the student's program of study for high school graduation and a postsecondary career pathway based on the student's academic and career interests. In high school, a career-related learning experience shall be chosen by the student and documented in the ACP.

3. The ACP shall be developed in accordance with guidelines established by the board and signed by the student, student's parent or guardian, and school official or officials designated by the principal. The ACP shall be included in the student's record and shall be reviewed and updated annually.

4. Beginning in the middle school years, students shall be counseled on opportunities for beginning postsecondary education and opportunities for obtaining industry certifications, occupational competency credentials, or professional licenses in a career and technical education field prior to high school graduation. Such opportunities shall include access to at least three Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge courses or three college-level courses for degree credit pursuant to 8VAC20-131-100. Students taking advantage of such opportunities shall not be denied participation in school activities for which they are otherwise eligible.

5. Wherever possible, students shall be encouraged and afforded opportunities to take college courses simultaneously for high school graduation and college degree credit (dual enrollment), under the following conditions:

a. Written approval of the high school principal prior to participation in dual enrollment must be obtained;

b. The college must accept the student for admission to the course or courses; and

c. The course or courses must be given by the college for degree credits (no remedial courses will be accepted); and

d. Students participating in courses offered by an institution of higher education shall be permitted to exceed a full course load in order to participate in courses that lead to a degree, certificate, or credential at such institution.

8VAC20-131-150

8VAC20-131-150. Standard school year and school day.

A. The standard school year shall be 180 instructional days or 990 instructional hours. The standard school day, including passing time for class changes and excluding breaks for meals, shall average a minimum of five and one-half instructional hours for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 instructional hours, including passing time for class changes and excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten. Recess may be included in the calculation of required instructional hours for elementary school, provided that recess does not exceed 15% of the required instructional hours.

B. All students in grades 1 through 12 shall maintain a full day schedule of classes (5-1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the local school board.