SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109
June 7, 1996
||William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
||Implementation of the Literacy Passport Test as a Requirement
for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas
The Standards of Quality at 22.1-253.13:4 C. of the Code of Virginia(1950), as amended, states that: Each local school board shall award diplomas to all secondary school students who earn the units of credit prescribed by the Board of Education, pass the prescribed literacy tests and meet such other requirements as may be prescribed by the local board and approved by the Board of Education (emphasis added). The requirement pertaining to passing the prescribed literacy tests will become effective for the first time with the graduating class of 1996. The Department of Education has received numerous inquiries concerning the implementation of this requirement. This memorandum serves to provide information to school divisions concerning the implementation of this requirement and how it will affect those students in the graduating class of 1996 who are seeking to earn a standard or advanced studies diploma. 1. Which students are affected by the "literacy passport test" requirement? At its February 1995 meeting, the Board of Education reaffirmed its position that passing the Literacy Passport Test (LPT) is required of all students who were sixth graders or lower in 1989-90 to earn a standard or advanced studies diploma. Consequently, all students who were sixth graders or lower in 1989-90 will need to have passed the mathematics, reading and writing components of the LPT as well as the prescribed credit requirements to earn a standard or advanced studies diploma. SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109 Page 2 May 31, 1996 2. Does this requirement apply to adult education students? This requirement extends to any adult education student, including any adult education student participating in an external diploma program, who is to receive a standard or advanced studies diploma after the first semester of the 1995-1996 school year. Adult education students completing their course work during the first semester of the 1995-96 school year but who will not actually receive their diploma until June 1996 are not held to this requirement. The "rule" that students in grade 7 or higher in 1989-90 do not have to meet the LPT requirement to receive a standard or advanced studies diploma does not apply to students enrolled in an adult education program. 3. Does this requirement apply to students with disabilities who have been determined to be eligible for special education and related services? Under the Board's "Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia," each student with a disability who has been determined to be eligible for special education and related services, beginning in the sixth grade, must have addressed in his/her individualized education program (IEP) (1) whether or not the student will participate in the LPT; (2) whether the student will postpone taking the LPT; and (3) identification of the reasonable accommodations needed by the student in order to take the LPT. The ramifications of postponing or not taking the LPT should be explained to the parents and the student. Both the parents and the student should understand that students cannot receive a standard or advanced studies diploma until the student has passed all three tests of the LPT. Students with disabilities who are pursuing a standard or advanced studies diploma are subject to the requirement of having passed all three components of the LPT. 22.1-253.13:4 B. of the Code of Virginia allows students with disabilities to have reasonable accommodations to take the literacy tests. Such accommodations should be addressed in the IEP or 504 plan. 4. May a student not meeting the LPT requirements but having sufficient credits for a standard or advanced studies diploma graduate? Students not meeting the LPT requirement, but having sufficient credits for a standard or advanced studies diploma, may graduate with the following exiting documents, as appropriate: A. Certificate of Program Completion: 22.1-253.13:4 E. of the Code of Virginia allows for the awarding of certificates of program completion to those students who have completed a prescribed course of study as defined by the local school board. SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109 Page 3 May 31, 1996 B. Special Diploma: 22.1-253.13:4 D. of the Code of Virginia, allows for the awarding of a special diploma to those students identified as disabled who complete the requirements of their individualized education programs. C. General Education Development (GED) Certificate: GED certificates are awarded to students who successfully pass the required GED examination. Students not qualifying for one of these three options would not graduate with an exit document. Those students having transferred late in the twelfth grade into Virginia public schools from a public school in another state or from a private school should be given the option of transferring credits back to their previous school and having that school award the diploma if such arrangements can be made with the previous school. If such an option is exercised, participation in the graduation ceremony at the Virginia public school should be governed by local policy. 5. What other options are available for a student who has sufficient credits to graduate but has not earned a standard or advanced studies diploma because of failing to meet the LPT requirement? The student may continue to be enrolled in a Virginia public school if he/she meets the following criteria: "Students of school age" may continue to attend public school. 22.1-1 of the Code of Virginia defines "persons of school age" as a person who has not reached twenty years of age on or before August 1 of the school year. Students of school age, if they are enrolled in the public school, may be counted in Average Daily Membership (ADM). For students with disabilities who have been determined to be eligible for special education and related services, state regulations govern the period for which students are entitled to receive educational services. It is addressed through the definition of the term "age of eligibility." A student with a disability who has been identified as in need of special education and related services is eligible to receive services if the student has not graduated from or completed a program approved by the Board of Education and has not reached their twenty-second birthday on or before September 30. Consequently, eligible students with disabilities, if they are enrolled in the public school, may be counted in ADM and continue to be included in the December 1 child count.SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109 Page 4 May 31, 1996 For those students for whom English is a second language, 22.1-7 of the Code of Virginia allows local school boards to accept and provide for students for whom English is a second language who entered school in Virginia for the first time after reaching their twelfth birthday, and who have not reached twenty-two years of age on or before August 1 of the school year. No tuition shall be charged if state funding is provided. Superintendent's Memorandum Number 2, Interpretive, dated September 9, 1994, provides additional information regarding the implementation of this provision. Students enrolled in the public schools under this provision may be counted in ADM consistent with the memorandum. Students who do not meet any of the above ADM requirements may wish to enroll. School divisions have the option of accepting these students on a tuition basis in accordance with any such policies they may have in place. 6. How do these students take subsequent administrations of the LPT? Enrolled students: Students who are enrolled may take any portions of the LPT they have not yet passed at any regularly scheduled LPT administration. Enrolled students, counted in ADM, should not be charged for taking the test(s). Enrolled students, not counted in ADM, may be charged for taking the test(s). Nonenrolled students: Students who have graduated with a certificate of completion or a special diploma because they have not passed the LPT and are not enrolled in a Virginia public school may return during any regularly scheduled LPT administration to attempt to pass any portions of the LPT. The student bears the responsibility for initiating the arrangements needed to participate in the test. A student may contact any local school division to make arrangements to participate in the test administration. Nonenrolled students will not be charged a fee for participation in the first regularly scheduled LPT administration after they exit a Virginia public school. Nonenrolled students may be charged for participation in subsequent LPT administrations. Adult Education Students: Students enrolled in adult education programs, including external diploma programs, may participate in any regularly scheduled LPT administration. There is a fee for adult education students participating in LPT administrations. SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109 Page 5 May 31, 1996 7. What responsibilities does the local school division have? First, the school division should provide the following information in writing to every student who has earned the prescribed units of credit to earn a standard or advanced studies diploma but has not passed all three components of the LPT information concerning continued enrollment in the public schools, as outlined above; information concerning participation in the LPT regardless of whether or not they continue to be enrolled in a Virginia public school; information noting that it is the responsibility of the nonenrolled student to initiate the arrangements needed to participate in the test; information concerning the name, address, and telephone number of the individual in the school division the student should contact to initiate the arrangements to participate in an administration of the LPT. Second, the school division should provide literacy development plans for those students who have earned the prescribed units of credit but have not passed all the components of the LPT and who continue to be enrolled in the public schools. Regulations of the State Board of Education embodied in the Standards of Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (SOA) [See:7.2 Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia], require school divisions to create an alternative program for each student who has not earned the Virginia Literacy Passport by the end of grade eight. Interpretive Superintendent's Memo Number 1, dated July 24, 1992, interprets the alternative program to be a literacy development plan. It is recommended that the literacy development plans of students who continue to be enrolled be updated to focus upon the areas of the Literacy Passport Test not yet passed. Third, the school division should upgrade a student's certificate of program completion or special diploma when the student passes all three components of the LPT. The upgraded diploma should carry the date of the closest regularly scheduled school division commencement. Fourth, the school division should award a Literacy Passport to each student who achieves passing scores on the literacy tests established by the Board of Education [See: 22.1-253.13:4 B of the Code of Virginia]. Clarification in the form of a sample copy of a passport to be used in meeting this requirement was transmitted via Testing Memo No. 113, dated May 18, 1992. For your reference another copy of that sample is attached. SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109 Page 6 May 31, 1996 8. Reporting Students on the Annual Report of Graduates Students receiving a standard diploma, advanced studies diploma, special diploma or certificate of program completion are counted in the Annual Report of Graduates (ARG) in the appropriate sections. Students not receiving one of these exiting documents should not be counted as graduates of a school division until such time as they have completed all requirement for their exiting document, such as passing all parts of the LPT. These students would then be counted on the appropriate ARG once the exiting document has been awarded. If you have questions regarding the above information, please contact Cam Harris, Shelley Loving-Ryder, or Doris Redfield at (804)225-2102. WCBJr/mwc Attachment: This memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office cc: Doris Redfield, Chief, Division of Assessment and Reporting Cam Harris, Program Director, Division of Assessment and Reporting Shelley Loving-Ryder, LPT Administrator, Division of Assessment and Reporting