P.O. BOX 2120
December 15, 2000
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Courses to Satisfy the Graduation Requirements for the Modified Standard Diploma

The revised Regulations Establishing Accrediting Standards for Public Schools in Virginia effective September 28, 2000, provide the option of a Modified Standard Diploma for "…certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. Eligibility and participation in the Modified Standard Diploma program shall be determined by the student's Individual Education Program (IEP) team and the student, where appropriate, at any point after the student's eighth grade year." (8 VAC 20-131-50.D.1) At its November 30 meeting, the state Board of Education approved the attached list of mathematics, science, and history and social science courses to satisfy the standard units of credit that are required for the Modified Standard Diploma.

The approved list and the provisions identified for certain courses on the list apply only to the Modified Standard Diploma. This list of courses provides students with options for satisfying the content requirements specified for the Modified Standard Diploma. To encourage and facilitate students' transition from a Modified Standard Diploma program to a Standard or Advanced Studies Diploma program, the list includes courses approved by the Board of Education in February 1998.

The approved courses for the Modified Standard Diploma provide teachers with flexibility in designing and delivering curricula and instruction to meet the needs of individual students. For example, several two-year course sequences (Part I and Part II) have been added in science and history and social sciences. The provisions in the approved list allow students in a Modified Standard Diploma program to earn one of the standard units of credit needed in a particular content area by successfully completing the Part I course. For example, students who successfully complete the Algebra I, Part I, course do not have to take and pass the Algebra I, Part II, course to earn credit towards satisfying the three mathematics requirements for the Modified Standard Diploma. A Part I course is any course that includes some, but not all, of the Standards of Learning associated with the course.

While students are not required to pass Standards of Learning end-of-course tests, they must take the tests that are required for any courses in which they are enrolled. Instruction provided in these courses, as well as the Standards of Learning tests associated with them, would be subject to any accommodations required in a student’s Individual Education Program (IEP).

Questions about the content of the courses should be directed to Dr. Linda Wallinger (, director for secondary instruction, at (804) 225-2880. Special education questions should be addressed to Dr. Patricia Abrams (, associate director for special education, at 804-225-2707.