Code Section

Education Code - EDC

TITLE 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION [33000 - 65001]

  ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

DIVISION 4. INSTRUCTION AND SERVICES [46000 - 65001]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

PART 28. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS [51000 - 53303]

  ( Part 28 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

CHAPTER 5. Authorized Classes and Courses of Instruction [51705 - 51879.9]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

ARTICLE 5.5. Independent Study [51745 - 51749.6]
  ( Article 5.5 repealed and added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1089, Sec. 5. )

  
51749.5.  

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, and commencing with the 2015–16 school year, a local educational agency may, for pupils enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, provide independent study courses pursuant to the following conditions:

(1) The governing board or body of the local educational agency adopts policies, at a public meeting, that comply with the requirements of this section and any applicable regulations adopted by the state board.

(2) A signed learning agreement is completed and on file pursuant to Section 51749.6.

(3) Courses are taught under the general supervision of certificated employees who hold the appropriate subject matter credential pursuant to Section 44300 or 44865, or subdivision (l) of Section 47605, and are employed by the local educational agency at which the pupil is enrolled, or by a local educational agency that has a memorandum of understanding to provide the instruction in coordination with the local educational agency at which the pupil is enrolled.

(4) (A) Courses are annually certified, by local educational agency governing board or body resolution, to be of the same rigor, educational quality, and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction and equivalent classroom-based courses, and shall be aligned to all relevant local and state content standards. For high schools, this shall include access to all courses offered by the local educational agency for graduation and approved by the University of California or the California State University as creditable under the A-G admissions criteria.

(B) This certification shall, at a minimum, include the duration, number of equivalent daily instructional minutes for each schoolday that a pupil is enrolled, number of equivalent total instructional minutes, number of course credits for each course, and a plan as described in subparagraph (C). This information shall be consistent with that of equivalent classroom-based courses.

(C) (i) For pupils in transitional kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for daily synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.

(ii) For pupils in grades 4 to 8, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for both daily live interaction and at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.

(iii) For pupils in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.

(5) Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall meet the applicable age requirements established pursuant to Sections 46300.1, 46300.4, 47612, and 47612.1.

(6) Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall meet the applicable residency and enrollment requirements established pursuant to Sections 46300.2, 47612, 48204, and 51747.3.

(7) (A) An individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, shall not participate in course-based independent study, unless the pupil’s individualized education program developed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 56340) of Chapter 4 of Part 30 specifically provides for that participation.

(B) A temporarily disabled pupil shall not receive individual instruction pursuant to Section 48206.3 through course-based independent study.

(8) (A) Satisfactory educational progress shall be determined based on all of the following indicators:

(i) The pupil’s achievement and engagement in the independent study program, as indicated by the pupil’s performance on applicable pupil-level measures of pupil achievement and pupil engagement set forth in paragraphs (4) and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 52060.

(ii) The completion of assignments, assessments, or other indicators that evidence that the pupil is working on assignments.

(iii) Learning required concepts, as determined by the supervising teacher.

(iv) Progressing toward successful completion of the course of study or individual course, as determined by the supervising teacher.

(B) If satisfactory educational progress in one or more courses is not being made, certificated employees providing instruction shall notify the pupil and, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the pupil’s parent or legal guardian, and conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the best interest of the pupil to remain in the course or whether the pupil should be referred to an alternative program, which may include, but is not limited to, a regular school program. A written record of the findings of an evaluation made pursuant to this subdivision shall be treated as a mandatory interim pupil record. The record shall be maintained for a period of three years from the date of the evaluation and, if the pupil transfers to another California public school, the record shall be forwarded to that school.

(C) Procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for all pupils who are not making satisfactory educational progress in one or more courses, or who are in violation of the written learning agreement pursuant to Section 51749.6. These procedures shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, all of the following:

(i) Verification of current contact information for each enrolled pupil.

(ii) A plan for outreach from the school to determine pupil needs, including connection with health and social services as necessary.

(iii) A clear standard for requiring a pupil-parent-educator conference to review a pupil’s written learning agreement, and reconsider the independent study course’s impact on the pupil’s achievement and well-being.

(D) Written or computer-based evidence of satisfactory educational progress, as described in subparagraph (A), shall be retained for each course and pupil. At a minimum, this evidence shall include a grade book or summary document that, for each course, lists all assignments, examinations, and associated grades.

(9) A plan to transition pupils whose families wish to return to in-person instruction from course-based independent study expeditiously, and, in no case, later than five instructional days.

(10) A proctor shall administer examinations.

(11) (A) Statewide testing results for pupils enrolled in any course authorized pursuant to this section shall be reported and assigned to the school or charter school at which the pupil is enrolled, and to any school district, charter school, or county office of education within which that school’s or charter school’s testing results are aggregated.

(B) Statewide testing results for pupils enrolled in a course or courses pursuant to this section shall be disaggregated for purposes of comparing the testing results of those pupils to the testing results of pupils enrolled in classroom-based courses.

(12) A pupil shall not be required to enroll in courses authorized by this section.

(13) The pupil-to-certificated-employee ratio limitations established pursuant to Section 51745.6 are applicable to courses authorized by this section.

(14) For each pupil, the combined equivalent daily instructional minutes for enrolled courses authorized by this section and enrolled courses authorized by all other laws and regulations shall meet the minimum instructional day requirements applicable to the local educational agency. Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall be offered the minimum annual total equivalent instructional minutes pursuant to Sections 46200 to 46208, inclusive, and Section 47612.5.

(15) Courses required for high school graduation or for admission to the University of California or California State University shall not be offered exclusively through independent study.

(16) A pupil participating in independent study shall not be assessed a fee prohibited by Section 49011.

(17) A pupil shall not be prohibited from participating in independent study solely on the basis that the pupil does not have the materials, equipment, or internet access that are necessary to participate in the independent study course.

(b) For purposes of computing average daily attendance for each pupil enrolled in one or more courses authorized by this section, the following computations shall apply:

(1) (A) For each schoolday, add the combined equivalent daily instructional minutes, as certified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), for courses authorized by this section in which the pupil is enrolled.

(B) For each schoolday, add the combined daily instructional minutes of courses authorized by all other laws and regulations in which the pupil is enrolled and for which the pupil meets applicable attendance requirements.

(C) For each schoolday, add the sum of subparagraphs (A) and (B).

(2) If subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) meets applicable minimum schoolday requirements for each schoolday, and all other requirements in this section have been met, credit each schoolday that the pupil is demonstrating satisfactory educational progress pursuant to the requirements of this section, with up to one school day of attendance.

(3) (A) Using credited schoolday attendance pursuant to paragraph (2), calculate average daily attendance pursuant to Section 41601 or 47612, whichever is applicable, for each pupil.

(B) The average daily attendance computed pursuant to this subdivision shall not result in more than one unit of average daily attendance per pupil.

(4) Notwithstanding any other law, average daily attendance computed for pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall not be credited with average daily attendance other than what is specified in this section.

(5) If more than 10 percent of the total average daily attendance of a local educational agency is claimed pursuant to this section, then the amount of average daily attendance for all pupils enrolled by that school district, charter school, or county office of education in courses authorized pursuant to this section that is in excess of 10 percent of the total average daily attendance for the local educational agency shall be reduced by either (A) the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 to 8, inclusive, or (B) the statewide average rate of absence for high school districts for grades 9 to 12, inclusive, as applicable, as calculated by the department for the prior fiscal year, with the resultant figures and ranges rounded to the nearest 10th.

(c) For purposes of this section, “equivalent total instructional minutes” means the same number of minutes as required for an equivalent classroom-based course.

(d) This section does not prohibit the right to collectively bargain any subject within the scope of representation pursuant to Section 3543.2 of the Government Code.

(e) (1) The Superintendent shall conduct an evaluation of independent study courses offered pursuant to this section and report the findings to the Legislature and the Director of Finance no later than September 1, 2019. The report shall, at a minimum, compare the academic performance of pupils in independent study with demographically similar pupils enrolled in equivalent classroom-based courses.

(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on September 1, 2023, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(f) (1) Commencing with the 2021–22 fiscal year Guide for Annual Audits of K–12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting, the Controller shall incorporate verification of the ratios included in this section, including fiscal penalties for noncompliance as described in this section.

(2) Commencing with the 2021–22 fiscal year Guide for Annual Audits of K–12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting, the Controller shall incorporate compliance reviews for subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, unless compliance verification for those subdivisions is already included in the audit guide. Findings of noncompliance shall result in the loss of apportionment equal to the average daily attendance impacted by the noncompliance.

(g) The provisions of this section are not subject to waiver by the state board, by the Superintendent, or under any provision of Part 26.8 (commencing with Section 47600).

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 252, Sec. 32. (AB 167) Effective September 23, 2021.)