P. O. BOX 2120
March 6, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Thomas L. Shortt
Assistant Superintendent for Policy and Public Affairs

Jo Lynne Demary
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

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

          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.


  Attachment:  A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.