Guidelines for Graduation Requirements: Local Alternative Paths to Standard Units of Credit (Alternatives to the 140-Clock-hour Requirement)
On October 22, 2015, the Virginia Board of Education approved "Guidelines for Graduation Requirements: Local Alternative Paths to Standard Units of Credit (Alternatives to the 140 Clock-hour Requirement)".
The approval of these guidelines will:
- Further clarify options for students to use local alternative pathways: (a) to demonstrate mastery of important content and skills; and (b) to achieve standard credits outside of the traditional 140-clock-hour course requirement.
- Provide a flexible framework and clear guidance through which local school boards can craft innovative policies for expanded student academic achievement and success in meeting or exceeding graduation requirements.
In developing proposed guidelines, it was necessary to create a blueprint of “givens,” design assumptions, and operational conditions. These factors were identified as the following:
- The legislation permits a school division the choice of whether it allows the waiver option.
- The waiver option defined in the legislation is for standard credits only.
- The waiver option applies to all secondary courses, whether: (a) BOE-approved courses; (b) Career and Technical Education courses, as applicable; or (c) local elective courses.
- School divisions that exercise the waiver option must have an approved local board policy in place.
- Local school board policies should be explicit in waiver processes to ensure fairness, accessibility, and transparency.
- Local school board policies: (a) must ensure quality and rigor equal to programs having 140 clock hours; and (b) must maintain and have available to the BOE “proof” of such.
- State guidelines should be thorough but not restrictive and should succinctly clarify pathways for achieving a waiver.
"Guidelines for Graduation Requirements: Local Alternative Paths to Standard Units of Credit (Alternatives to the 140 Clock-hour Requirement)"
Superintendent's Memo 271-15