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AA & IT Independent Study FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about independent study requirements, attendance accounting (AA), and instructional time (IT).

Assembly Bill (AB) 181 (Chapter 52, Statutes of 2022) was passed and approved by the Governor on June 30, 2022. The following FAQs are intended to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with an overview of changes to independent study apportionment, instructional time, and attendance accounting requirements for fiscal year (FY) 2022–23 and future years.

Attendance for Apportionment | Instructional Time and Independent Study | Independent Study Ratio Calculation

Additional FAQs regarding independent study programs and requirements are available on the California Department of Education's (CDE’s) Independent Study web page.

Attendance for Apportionment

  1. What statutes established by the 2021–22 Trailer Bills, Assembly Bill (AB) 130 and 167, Statutes 2021 have sunset and are no longer applicable to independent study in FY 2022–23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    While many of the provisions added or amended by AB 130 and 167 remain, there are certain statutes that do not continue in FY 2022–23 and subsequent years.

    The list of provisions that no longer apply in FY 2022–23 include:

    • The requirement that school districts and county offices of education (COEs) offer an independent study option as an alternative to in-person instruction (Education Code (EC) Section 51745(a)).
    • The ability for local educational agencies (LEAs) to obtain signed and dated written agreements no later than 30 days after the first day of independent study instruction (EC Section 51747(g)(9)(F) and EC Section 51749.6(b)(7)).
      • This includes the flexibility in signature requirements that allowed a local educational agency (LEA) to obtain either the student or the student's parent, legal guardian, or caregiver (as that term is used in Family Code Section 6550 and following), if the student was less than 18 years old.
    • The requirement for school districts and COEs to provide a notification, including written notification on their websites, to parents or guardians of options to enroll students in in-person instruction (EC Section 51747(h) and EC Section 51749.6(b)(8)(A))
    • The provision that local educational agencies with students subject to quarantine or a school closure for exposure to, or infection with COVID-19 pursuant to local or state health guidance may not file a Form J-13A to recover lost instructional time or attendance and may only generate attendance for apportionment under independent study (EC Section 51747(j)(1) and EC Section 51749.6(c)).
    • The allowance for classroom-based charter schools to report nonclassroom-based average daily attendance (ADA) that was generated as a result of providing independent study to students during quarantine or school closure due to COVID-19 as classroom-based ADA.
      • This includes the need for a funding determination as a result of providing independent study in such an instance (EC Section 51747(j)(2)).
  2. Does Assembly Bill (AB) 181 make any new changes for traditional independent study that could affect apportionment funding in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    Yes. In order for students to generate average daily attendance (ADA) and in order for local educational agencies (LEAs) to avoid audit findings, LEAs must comply with conditions of apportionment. Pursuant to AB 181 and effective for FY 2022–23, traditional independent study programs must add or amend certain programmatic safeguards, many of which are also conditions of apportionment. The traditional independent study changes in FY 2022–23 are:

    • LEAs must update and implement their board policy to comply with new tiered reengagement procedures which are triggered pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 51747(d) by a student who is not:
      • Generating attendance for more than 10 percent of the of the required instructional time over four continuous weeks.
      • Participating in the synchronous instructional offering pursuant to EC Section 51747.5 for more than 50 percent of the time in a school month as applicable by grade span.
      • Meeting the agreed-upon terms of the written agreement pursuant to EC Section 51747(g).
    • LEAs must obtain a signed and dated written agreement that meets the following conditions: 
      • Each written agreement must be signed by all the following parties:
        • the student,
        • the student’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the student is less than 18 years of age,
        • the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and
        • the certificated employee designated as having responsibility for the special education programming of the student, if applicable (EC Section 51747(g)(9)(A)).
        • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for fewer than 15 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed within 10 school days of the commencement of the first day of the student’s enrollment in independent study.
        • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for more than 14 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed before the commencement of independent study.
      • LEAs are only able to count participation in synchronous instruction towards the instructional time requirements for traditional independent study if it meets the conditions of EC Section 51747.5. See FAQ #1 under Instructional Time and Independent Study for more information.
      • Students are exempted from subdivisions (d) tiered reengagement procedures, (e) opportunities for synchronous instruction and live interaction, and (f) transition plan to in-person instruction of EC Section 51747 if the following conditions are met:
        • The student participates in independent study for fewer than 15 cumulative schooldays in a school year; or
        • The student is enrolled in a comprehensive school for classroom-based instruction and under the care of appropriately licensed professionals, participating in independent study due to necessary medical treatments or inpatient treatment for mental health care or substance abuse.
  3. Does Assembly Bill (AB) 181 make any new changes for course based independent study (CBIS) that could affect apportionment funding in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes. In order for students to generate average daily attendance (ADA) and for local educational agencies (LEAs) to avoid audit findings, LEAs must comply with conditions of apportionment. Pursuant to AB 181 and effective for FY 2022–23, CBIS programs must add or amend certain programmatic safeguards, many of which are also conditions of apportionment.

    The CBIS changes in FY 2022–23 are as follows:

    • LEAs must obtain a signed and dated written agreement that meets the following conditions:
      • Each written agreement must be signed by the following parties:
        • the student,
        • the student’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the student is less than 18 years of age,
        • the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and
        • the certificated employee designated as having responsibility for the special education programming of the student, as applicable (Education Code (EC) Section 51749.6(b)(1))
      • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for fewer than 15 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed within 10 school days of the commencement of the first day of the student’s enrollment in independent study
      • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for more than 14 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed before the commencement of independent study
  4. In the event of a school closure or material decrease due to COVID-19, can local educational agencies (LEAs) mitigate a loss of attendance by offering independent study to students? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    LEAs have the ability to submit a Form J-13A request for a COVID-19 related closure and/or material decrease in attendance and all other emergency conditions provided by Education Code (EC) Sections 41422 and 46392. EC Section 46393 requires LEAs to certify to offering independent study within ten days of the first day of a school closure or material decrease in attendance.

    LEAs are encouraged to provide access to instruction and the opportunity to earn academic credit through independent study for students who are excluded from school (or absent) or school is closed due to COVID-19.

    More information regarding the J-13A submittal and approval process is located on the Frequently Asked Questions-Form J-13A web page.
  5. Are local educational agencies (LEAs) required to claim average daily attendance (ADA) through synchronous instruction in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    No. In FY 2022–23 and subsequent years, LEAs may claim a day of ADA through either the time value of student work products, as personally judged in each instance by a certificated teacher employed by the LEA, or the combined time value of student work product and student participation in synchronous instruction (Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5(b)(1)).

    An local educational agency’s (LEA’s) ability to count synchronous instruction towards instructional time and attendance for apportionment is an option and a decision that must be made at the local level.
  6. Do the minutes of synchronous instruction provided to students count toward minimum day requirements, or is it only student work product that counts toward minimum day requirements for students participating in traditional independent study? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    In fiscal year (FY) 2022–23 and subsequent years, local educational agencies (LEAs) can count instructional minutes through either the time value of student work products, as personally judged in each instance by a certificated teacher employed by the local educational agency (LEA), or the combined time value of student work product and student participation in synchronous instruction.
  7. Can a local educational agency (LEA) claim average daily attendance (ADA) by only offering synchronous instruction to traditional independent study students? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    No. An LEA may only claim apportionment credit insofar as a student’s participation in a synchronous instructional offering augments the time value of student work product (Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5(b)(2)(B)(ii)).
  8. In order to count participation in synchronous instruction towards apportionment calculations, when must the participation occur? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Law specifies that local educational agencies (LEAs) add the combined daily instructional minutes a student participated in synchronous instruction (as defined by Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5(d)) and offered pursuant to EC Section 51747(e) to the daily time value of work products for each schoolday.

    The participation in synchronous instruction must be applied to the schoolday in which the participation in synchronous instruction occurred.

    For example, a student who participates in synchronous instruction on Monday, can only have those instructional minutes applied towards that schoolday. It cannot be applied towards any other schoolday.

  9. What evidence is needed for a local educational agency (LEA) that is including student participation in synchronous instruction towards the instructional time requirements for the purpose of claiming average daily attendance (ADA)? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Evidence of student participation for each hour or fraction thereof of synchronous instruction must be furnished and maintained (Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5(b)(2)(B)(i)).

    Evidence of student participation may include, but is not limited to, work produced or performed, as verified by a certificated employee of the LEA.

    On a student level, examples of evidence used to evaluate the student’s time and participation in synchronous instruction can be: notes, summaries, or projects.

    On an instructor level, examples of evidence used to evaluate the student’s time and participation in synchronous instruction can be: rubrics, notes, or other documentation.

  10. Can a student generate average daily attendance (ADA) if the guardian or student refuses to participate in synchronous instruction and live interaction? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Local educational agencies (LEAs) have the ability to determine whether or not independent study is the appropriate placement for a student. A student or guardian’s refusal of synchronous instruction and live interaction opportunities should be part of the local educational agency’s (LEA’s) consideration process for placing a student in independent study.

    If the local educational agency (LEA) does decide to place a student that refuses to participate in synchronous instruction and live interaction in an independent study program, the LEA must continue to ensure that all independent study requirements are met, including but not limited to the following:

    • Providing synchronous instruction and daily live interaction opportunities (Education Code (EC) Section 51747(e)).
    • Documenting each student’s participation in live interaction and synchronous instruction on each schoolday as applicable (EC Section 51747.5(c)).
    • Following tiered reengagement procedures for those students who trigger the procedures (EC Section 51747(d)).
      • One of the procedures is that LEAs conduct an evaluation of whether or not the student should be allowed to continue in independent study.

    All of the aforementioned requirements are conditions of apportionment and if left unmet, would result in ineligible ADA.

  11. What signatures are needed on an independent study written agreement? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23, a student participating in either in a traditional independent study or course based independent study (CBIS) program shall have a written agreement signed by:

    • the student,
    • the student’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the student is less than 18 years of age,
    • the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and
    • the certificated employee designated as having responsibility for the special education programming of the student, if applicable (Education Code (EC) Section 51747(g)(9)(A) and EC Section 51749.6(b))
  12. Can a teacher employed by a vendor be a teacher for traditional independent study or course based independent study (CBIS)? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    No. The teacher for traditional independent study must be a certificated employee of the school district, county office of education (COE), or charter school in which the student is enrolled (Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5 and California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, Section 11700(j)).

    The teacher for CBIS must hold the appropriate subject matter credential and be an employee of the local educational agency (LEA) at which the student is enrolled or by a certificated employee of an LEA that has a memorandum of understanding to provide the instruction (EC Section 51749.5(a)(3)).

  13. Is there a limit to the amount of average daily attendance (ADA) that can be claimed for funding in independent study for fiscal year (FY) 2022–23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Statute does not limit the number of students that can be served in independent study. Statute does, however, have some limits on the independent study ADA that can be funded and on which students are eligible to generate independent study ADA.

    The limits to ADA that can be funded are as follows:

    • There is a 10 percent cap on independent study ADA generated by students in an opportunity school or a continuation high school. A student who is pregnant or is a parent who is the primary caregiver for one or more of their children is not included within the 10 percent cap.
      • Note: Assembly Bill (AB) 181 allowed local educational agencies (LEAs) operating continuation and opportunity schools and programs the ability to exclude ADA from students participating in independent study programs due to an emergency as defined in Education Code (EC) Sections 41422 and 46392 in FY 2021-22 only.
    • Pursuant to EC Section 51745.6 there are independent study ADA to full time equivalent (FTE) ratio requirements that may limit ADA that can be claimed for apportionment.
      • If the ratio of independent study ADA to FTE certificated employees responsible for independent study exceeds a local educational agency’s (LEA’s) comparative ratio, the result is excess ADA (excess ADA cannot generate funding).
      • More information about the continuation and opportunity education ADA cap and the independent study ratio calculations is available on the California Department of Education's (CDE's) Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.
    • LEAs that participate in the course based independent study (CBIS) program must compute ADA for each student enrolled, in accordance with EC Section 51749.5(b).
      • If the total CBIS ADA is greater than 10 percent of the total ADA of the local educational agency (LEA), any CBIS ADA above 10 percent must be reduced by the statewide absence rate.
      • The statewide absence rate is made available on the CDE’s 2022-23 Funding Rates and Information web page along with a sample calculation.

    Charter schools with less than 80 percent classroom-based ADA require a State Board of Education (SBE) approved funding determination to be eligible to receive funding for nonclassroom-based ADA.

    EC Section 47612.7 temporarily prohibits the establishment of a new nonclassroom-based charter school from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2025. This moratorium does not apply to nonclassroom-based charter schools that started serving pupils prior to October 1, 2019, and are required to submit a new petition to comply with certain provisions on where a charter school may be physically located. For more information, please refer to the Temporary Prohibition on New NCB Charter Schools - Charter Schools web page.

    There are some limitations on generating ADA based on age, the setting in which a student is served, and/or the services needed by the student. These limitations are as follows:

    Age Eligibility Requirements
    • Continuously Enrolled: 21 years of age (School District/County Office of Education (COE))
    • Not continuously enrolled: 19 years of age (School District/COE/Charter)
    • Continuously Enrolled: 22 years of age (Charter)
    Setting Requirements
    • Independent study is an optional educational program in which no student may be required to participate (EC Sections 51747(g)(8) and 51749.6(a)(6)).
    • Students must have a classroom option (EC Section 51749.6(a)(6)).
    • Students must reside in the county or adjacent county (EC Section 51747.3(c)).
    • For school districts, students must be enrolled in a school within the district as well as the independent study program.
    • Students enrolled in a school district pursuant to an interdistrict transfer due to parent employment cannot generate ADA through independent study.
    • Home and hospital students receiving instruction pursuant to EC Section 48206.3 cannot generate ADA through independent study (EC Section 51745(d)).
    • Community day school students cannot generate ADA through independent study (EC Section 48663).
    Service Requirements
    • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with exceptional needs must specifically provide for independent study participation (EC Section 51745(c)).
    • Expelled students may only generate ADA through independent study if they are offered the alternative of classroom instruction (EC Sections 51747(g)(8) and 51749.6(a)(6)).
  14. When must a local educational agency (LEA) obtain a signed and dated written agreement in order to begin claiming average daily attendance (ADA) for a student? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2022–23, there have been legislative changes to the signature requirements for written agreements for students who are participating in independent study.

    • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for fewer than 15 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed within 10 school days of the commencement of the first day of the student’s enrollment in independent study. Although statute provides additional time to obtain written agreements, all of the requirements of independent study must be in place upon the commencement of independent study instruction in order to generate attendance for apportionment.
    • For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for more than 14 schooldays, the written agreement shall be signed before the commencement of independent study.
  15. Are there any statutory exceptions for students who participate in independent study? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes. The independent study requirements are different depending on the length of a student’s independent study participation. The provisions of Education Code (EC) Section 51747(d-f) do not apply to students who participate in independent study for fewer than 15 cumulative schooldays in a school year.

    The provisions of EC Section 51747(d-f) also do not apply to any student enrolled in a comprehensive school for classroom-based instruction who, under the care of appropriately licensed professionals, participates in independent study due to necessary medical treatments or inpatient treatment for mental health care or substance abuse (EC Section 51747(h)(2)(i)). Local educational agencies (LEAs) are required by statute to obtain evidence from appropriately licensed professionals of the need for students to participate in independent study pursuant to this subdivision.

    Note: These exceptions do not preclude a local educational agency (LEA) from meeting all other independent study conditions of apportionment.

  16. What days can be claimed for average daily attendance (ADA) when a local educational agency (LEA) obtains a late written agreement? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    For a student who is participating in independent study for more than 14 schooldays, the written agreement must be signed before the commencement of independent study. If the LEA does not obtain the signed written agreement before the commencement of independent study, all schooldays would be ineligible for ADA until the written agreement has been dated and signed by all required entities.

    For a student who is scheduled to participate in independent study for fewer than 15 schooldays, the written agreement must be signed within 10 schooldays of the commencement of the first day of the student’s enrollment in independent study. If the LEA does not obtain a written agreement within the required timeframe, the 10 schooldays would be eligible for attendance for apportionment once the written agreement has been signed. However, all other schooldays would be ineligible for attendance for apportionment until the written agreement is dated and signed by all required entities.

    For example, if the signed written agreement is obtained on the 15th schoolday, the LEA can claim attendance for schooldays 1-10 and schoolday 15 on.

  17. Can a local educational agency (LEA) that offers a traditional independent study program continue to claim average daily attendance (ADA) through evaluation of the work product? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes. While local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to offer opportunities in synchronous instruction pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 51747(e), there is no requirement that LEAs claim the participation in synchronous instruction towards their calculations of instructional time and attendance for apportionment.

    LEAs providing traditional independent study programs may continue to claim ADA through the time value of student work products, as personally judged in each instance by a certificated teacher employed by the LEA (EC Section 51747.5(b)(1)).

  18. How is a day of average daily attendance (ADA) earned by a local educational agency (LEA) for traditional independent study or course based independent study (CBIS) in fiscal year (FY) 2022-23? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    A day of attendance for apportionment is earned based on the following attendance accounting methodology:

    Traditional Independent Study ADA

    Appropriately certificated teachers of the LEA evaluate completed assignments turned in by the assignment’s due date and award attendance credit based on their determination of the time value of the work, or the combined time value of the work and the student’s participation in synchronous instruction.

    Completed assignments representing more attendance days for the assignment period may not be "banked" for future use or applied to earlier assignment periods. Late independent study work may not be applied towards earlier assignment periods when the due date for the assigned work has already passed.

    Local educational agencies (LEAs) report attendance for students in independent study using the local educational agency’s (LEA’s) attendance system as they would for students in classroom-based programs. However, there will be a delay in reporting independent study attendance since the attendance cannot be reported until the student submits their completed assignments and the teacher determines the time value of the work, or the combined time value of the work and the student’s participation in synchronous instruction.

    School District and County Office of Education (COE) Traditional Independent Study Attendance Reporting:
    • School districts and County Offices of Education (COEs) must use the time value method of attendance accounting (Education Code (EC) Section 51747.5(b)).
    • A full day of attendance may be claimed for completed independent study student work if a credentialed teacher determines that the time value of the work, or the combined time value of the work and the participation in synchronous instruction is equal to at least a “minimum day”.
    • A minimum day varies depending on grade level.
    • For continuation education, independent study is assigned in hours, not minimum day values.
      • For example, if the student completes two-thirds of the assigned 15 hours of work for a five-day week, the school district can claim 10 hours of ADA.
    • School districts and COEs must keep a daily or hourly attendance credit register, as appropriate to the program in which the students are enrolled, separate from classroom attendance records, and maintained on a current basis.
      • Time values of student work products are personally judged by a certificated teacher, and reviewed by the supervising teacher if they are two different persons (California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, 11703(b)(4)).
    • Prior to reporting attendance for the Second Principal Apportionment period (P-2), LEAs must perform independent study ratio calculations to determine if excess ADA needs to be deducted from reported ADA.
    Charter School Traditional Independent Study Attendance Reporting:
    • Charter schools must use the time value method of attendance accounting in (EC Section 51747.5(b)).
    • There is no minimum day for charter schools, but charter schools must meet the requirements for annual instructional minutes (EC Sections 46201 and 47612.5(a)(1)(A–D)).
      • The minimum amount of work necessary to constitute a day of nonclassroom-based attendance is within the charter school's and teacher's discretion to determine; however, the work must be completed on the scheduled school day for which it is claimed for ADA purposes.
    • Charter schools must comply with independent study laws and regulations (EC Section 47612.5(b)).
    • Schools must keep a daily attendance credit register, as appropriate to the program in which the students are enrolled, separate from classroom attendance records, and maintained on a current basis.
      • Time value of work products are personally judged by a certificated teacher, and reviewed by the supervising teacher if they are two different persons (CCR, Title 5, 11703(b)(4)).
    • Schools must maintain written contemporaneous records that document all student attendance and are made available for audit and inspection (EC Section 47612.5(a)(2)).
    • A “daily engagement log” (tracking each student’s daily engagement in educational activities for each day school is in session) is required by CCR, Title 5, 11960.
    • Prior to reporting attendance for P-2, LEAs must perform independent study ratio calculations to determine if excess ADA needs to be deducted from reported ADA.
    CBIS ADA:

    CBIS attendance credit is based on enrollment and satisfactory educational progress in courses certified to annually by the local governing board. The annual course certification must meet the statutory requirements pursuant to EC Section 51749.5(a)(4) which include requirements for rigor, educational quality, equity, alignment to standards, and certification to instructional time and course credits, as well as a plan for providing opportunities for synchronous instruction to all grade levels and live interaction to grades four through eight.

    Pursuant to EC Section 51749.5(b), students in CBIS must meet minimum day requirements in order to generate attendance. The minimum day can be met through CBIS courses or a combination of CBIS courses and traditional independent study or a combination of CBIS courses and in-person instruction.

    All LEAs with CBIS programs must compute ADA for each student enrolled. If the total CBIS ADA is greater than 10 percent of total LEA ADA, any CBIS ADA above 10 percent must be reduced by the statewide absence rate, available on the California Department of Education's (CDE's) Funding Rates and Information web page for each applicable FY.

    In addition, similar to traditional independent study requirements, LEAs offering CBIS must compute the ratio of independent study students to full-time equivalent certificated employees responsible for independent study and the comparative ratio for all other educational programs (EC Section 51745.6). LEAs are encouraged to use the Independent Study Ratio Calculation instructions provided on the CDE's Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page. These calculations help LEAs determine whether they have any excess ADA that cannot be claimed for funding.

Instructional Time and Independent Study

  1. Can synchronous instruction be counted towards the daily instructional minute requirements for traditional independent study students? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes, provided that the participation in synchronous instruction meets all statutory requirements.

    The requirements to count participation in synchronous instruction towards instructional time for traditional independent study are as follows:

    • Synchronous instruction is offered pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 51747(e).
    • Synchronous instruction meets the definition of classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person, or in the form of internet or telephonic communications, and involving live two-way communication between the teacher and student (EC Section 51745.5(d)).
    • Synchronous instruction is provided by a teacher or teachers of record.
      • A teacher of record can be the supervising teacher who coordinates, evaluates and generally supervises the student and the certificated teacher(s) that evaluate student work product for time value (EC Section 51745.5(d)).
    • The student’s participation in synchronous instruction augments the time value of student work product (EC Section 51747.5(b)(2)(B)(ii)).
    • Participation in synchronous instruction is applied to the schoolday on which the student participated.
    • Evidence of student participation in synchronous instruction for each hour or fraction thereof must be furnished and maintained.
      • Evidence of participation may include, but is not limited to, student work produced or performed, as verified by a certificated employee of the local educational agency (LEA).
  2. Can synchronous instruction be counted towards the daily instructional minute requirements for traditional course based independent study (CBIS) students? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes, as long as the synchronous instruction is provided by the certificated employee of the local educational agency (LEA) responsible for the CBIS instruction, and the time associated with synchronous instruction is certified to as part of the annual certification process by the local educational agency’s (LEA’s) governing board.  (Education Code (EC) Sections 51745.5(d) and 51749.5(a)(4))

  3. Is there a minimum number of minutes or hours of synchronous instruction or live interaction that must be provided to students in independent study? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    No. Statute does not specify a minimum number of minutes or hours of synchronous instruction or live interaction that must be provided to students participating in independent study.

  4. Do the instructional time requirements apply to students in independent study? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes. All students are required to be offered at least the minimum number of annual instructional minutes and days that apply to their grade level and setting.

    School districts and county offices of education (COEs) continue to be required to schedule all students for at least the minimum daily instructional minutes as applicable to that student’s grade level and setting. While charter schools are required to meet annual instructional minute and day requirements, charter schools do not have a specific minimum number of instructional minutes that must be met each day. All students participating in independent study must be offered the required number of annual minutes and days as well.

    School district and county office of education (COE) students in traditional independent study must have their work product evaluated for time value by a certificated teacher and must have the equivalent of at least a minimum day’s worth of work product for each day that traditional independent study attendance is claimed. School district and COE students in course based independent study (CBIS) programs must be enrolled in sufficient courses to meet minimum day requirements.

    Charter school students in traditional independent study must also have their work product evaluated for time value by a certificated teacher. Since charter schools do not have a minimum day requirement, the work product must be equivalent to a day’s worth of work as determined by an appropriately certificated teacher. Charter schools must also have records of student engagement for each day of attendance claimed for each student for both traditional and CBIS programs.

Independent Study Ratio Calculation

  1. Does Assembly Bill (AB) 181 make any changes to the independent study ratio calculation requirements? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    The average daily attendance (ADA) to full time equivalent (FTE) teacher ratio requirements and calculation methodology remain the same for all local educational agencies (LEAs). During a local educational agency’s (LEA’s) annual audit, auditors are directed to verify the results of the ratio calculations.

    For more information regarding ADA to FTE ratio calculations and instructions for performing the calculations please refer to the California Department of Education's (CDE's) Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.

  2. When does a local educational agency (LEA) calculate its independent study ratio? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    The independent study ratio calculation is done annually by the LEA at the time of, and in connection with, the second period (P-2) report of ADA. The results of the ratio calculation should be reflected in both the P-2 and Annual attendance data submitted to the California Department of Education (CDE) (Education Code (EC) Section 51745.6(a)(2)).

    While an LEA is only required to calculate its independent study ratio at P-2, CDE recommends that an LEA calculate its independent study ratio throughout the school year to ensure that it avoids potential excess average daily attendance (ADA), as excess ADA is not eligible for Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding.

  3. If a local educational agency (LEA) operates both traditional and CBIS programs, must it complete a ratio calculation for each? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    Yes. Education Code (EC) Sections 51745.6 and 51749.5 require local educational agencies (LEAs) that participate in either or both programs to complete an independent study ratio calculation.

  4. How are local educational agencies (LEAs) operating a Continuation or Opportunity school or program impacted by the changes made by Assembly Bill (AB) 181? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)
    AB 181 allows LEAs operating continuation and opportunity schools and programs the ability to exclude average daily attendance (ADA) from students participating in independent study programs due to an emergency as defined in Education Code (EC) Sections 41422 and 46392.

    Since the impacted LEAs have already submitted their Second Principal (P-2) Apportionment and Annual attendance reports, they will need to revise their independent study ratio calculation in accordance with AB 181 and submit corrected attendance data for the current fiscal year (FY).

    For more information regarding how to correct previously submitted attendance data, please contact PASE@cde.ca.gov.
  5. Are teachers employed by a vendor included in average daily attendance (ADA) to full time equivalent (FTE) teacher ratio calculations for traditional independent study? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    No. The FTE teacher calculation for independent study ratios is based on certificated employees of the local educational agency (LEA) who provide independent study instruction (Education Code (EC) Section 51745.6 and California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, Section 11700(a)).

    During the annual audit process, auditors must verify ratio calculations (EC Section 51745.6(e)).

    For more information regarding ADA to FTE ratio calculations and instruction for performing the calculations please refer to the Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.

  6. Are teachers employed by a vendor included in ADA to FTE ratio calculations for CBIS? (Posted 16-Sept-2022)

    No. The FTE calculation for CBIS ratios is based on certificated employees of the LEA(ECSection 51749.5(a)(13) andCCR, Title 5, Section 11700(a)).

    During the annual audit process, auditors must verify CBIS ratio calculations(EC Section51749.5(f)(1)).

    For more information regarding ADA to FTE ratio calculations and instruction for performing the calculations please refer to the Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.

Questions:   Principal Apportionment Section | attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 16, 2022
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