SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 39
March 6, 1998
|FROM:||Thomas L. Shortt
Assistant Superintendent for Policy and Public Affairs
Jo Lynne Demary
|SUBJECT:||Approval of Courses to Satisfy Graduation Requirements|
On September 4, 1997, the Board approved new Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-10 et. seq.). Those regulations went into effect on October 30, 1997, following a 30-day adoption period. Section 8 VAC 20-131-50 of those regulations sets forth the requirements for standard and advanced studies diplomas. Those requirements specify what level of courses and/or subject area disciplines students must complete to earn either a standard or verified unit of credit in the areas of mathematics, laboratory science, and history and social science. The regulations also specify that the Board of Education can approve additional courses (other than those specifically named in the standards) to satisfy the requirements in those areas. In addition to the courses listed here in mathematics, science, and history and social science, the Board approved the use of Principles of Technology as indicated below: Students who complete Principles of Technology I (9811) and Principles of Technology II (9812) may use these courses to satisfy one (1) physics credit in laboratory science. A student must complete both courses in the sequence in order to receive laboratory science credit. The sequence of Principles of Technology I (9811) and Principles of Technology II (9812) will satisfy one (1) unit of credit in laboratory science for physics and one (1) elective credit. Students who enroll in Principles of Technology courses for a physics credit must have completed Algebra I and two (2) other laboratory science courses as specified by the accrediting standards prior to enrolling in Principles of Technology. These approvals supersede all previous lists of courses approved to satisfy graduation requirements. The new standards do not require that courses used to satisfy the requirement of a fine or practical art be approved by the Board. Therefore, local school officials should use their own judgement in determining which courses students take to satisfy the requirement of a unit of credit in fine or practical arts for the standard and advanced studies diplomas. As a part of the approval action, the Board indicated its desire to study the practice of awarding two units of credit for what is in essence a one-year course that is taught over a two-year period (i.e., Algebra I, Part 1 or A and Algebra I, Part 2 or B). The study will be done as SOL test data becomes available and the practice may be discontinued at some point in the future. No definitive dates have been set for the study and/or discontinuance of the practice. Also, the Board is studying the issue of a third level of American Sign Language (ASL). To date, there have been no changes to the current practice of allowing students to use two years of ASL to partially satisfy the foreign language requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma when students choose the option of completing two years each of two languages. We would also like to note that the system of assigning course codes is being studied and will be revised. The course codes listed in this document are subject to change with the revision of that system. Questions regarding course codes should be directed to Vernon Wildy, Division of Secondary Instruction, 804-225-2877. TLS/JLD/cwf Attachment: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office.