Superintendent's Memo #096-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 23, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: 2010 - 2011 Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA) Participation Criteria for Students with Disabilities

The purpose of this memorandum is to make Individual Education Program (IEP) teams and 504 committees aware of significant changes to the VGLA participation criteria for students with disabilities that will be implemented for IEPs and 504 plans developed for the 2010-2011 school year. Beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, IEP teams and 504 committees must determine the eligibility of students with disabilities for VGLA participation based on the VGLA Participation Criteria form that is attached to this memorandum. IEP teams and 504 committees must address each section of the form, including providing supporting documentation and a justification statement explaining why the IEP team or 504 committee has determined that the impact of the student's disability prevents the student from accessing the SOL assessment(s) even with accommodations. It should be noted that the requirement to include a justification statement for each student participating in the VGLA was mandated by the 2010 Virginia General Assembly.

HB304, which was passed by the 2010 General Assembly and signed by the Governor, states:

An annual justification that includes evidence that the student meets the participation criteria defined by the Virginia Department of Education shall be provided for each student considered for the Virginia Grade Level Alternative. Each Individual Education Program team shall review such justification and make the final determination as to whether or not the Virginia Grade Level Alternative is appropriate for the student. The superintendent and the school board chairman shall certify to the Board of Education, as a part of certifying compliance with the Standards of Quality, that there is a justification in the Individual Education Program for every student who takes the Virginia Grade Level Alternative. Compliance with this requirement shall be monitored as a part of the special education monitoring process conducted by the Department of Education. The Board shall report to the Governor and General Assembly in its annual reports pursuant to § 22.1-18 any school division that is not in compliance with this requirement.

IEP teams and 504 committees that have already convened and identified students with disabilities for VGLA participation for 2010 - 2011 must reconvene and make eligibility decisions based on the 2010 - 2011 VGLA Participation Criteria for Students with Disabilities.

If you have questions, please contact Jeff Phenicie in the Division of Special Education and Student Services by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 786-0308, or the student assessment staff by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-2107.



  1. VGLA Participation Criteria Form (Word)