COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 109
June 7, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM:
 
William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:
 
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