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AA & IT Independent Study FAQs

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

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.

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. 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) 2023-24? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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.

    LEAs report attendance for students in independent study using the 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 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, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 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.
    • For detailed information and instructions for performing independent study ratio calculations, please refer to the Independent Study Ratio Calculations.
    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 Section 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 (5 CCR, Section 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 5 CCR, Section 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.
    • For detailed information and instructions for performing independent study ratio calculations please refer to the Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.
    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(c), 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 fiscal year.

    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.

  2. Is there a limit to the amount of average daily attendance (ADA) that can be claimed for funding in independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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.
    • Pursuant to Education Code (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 Independent Study Ratio Calculations web page.
    • LEAs that participate in a course-based independent study (CBIS) program must compute ADA for each student enrolled, in accordance with EC Section 51749.5(c).
    • If the total CBIS ADA is greater than 10 percent of the total ADA of the LEA, any CBIS ADA above 10 percent must be reduced by the statewide absence rate.
    • The statewide absence rate is made available on the California Department of Education’s 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 approved funding determination to be eligible to receive funding for nonclassroom-based (NCB) ADA.
    • EC Section 47612.7 temporarily prohibits the establishment of a new nonclassroom-based charter school from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2026. This moratorium does not apply to NCB charter schools that started serving students 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 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)).
  3. Can a teacher employed by a vendor be a teacher for traditional independent study or course-based independent study (CBIS)? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    No. The teacher providing general supervision 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, 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)).

    The supervision requirements for traditional independent study and CBIS are verified during an LEA’s annual audit. Failure to comply with the supervision requirements may lead to a noncompliance finding and its associated fiscal penalty.

    For more information concerning which independent study requirements are part of the annual audit, please visit the K-12 Audit Guide External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  4. Are there geographical limitations on generating attendance for independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    Yes. Education Code Section 51747.3(c) limits the claiming of average daily attendance (ADA) for apportionment for students participating in independent study to students that reside in the county in which the ADA is reported or in the adjacent county to the county in which the ADA is reported.

  5. Can a student participate in independent study on a short-term basis? (Posted 25-Sept-2023)

    Yes. A student can participate in independent study on a short-term basis and may do so multiple times throughout the schoolyear provided all independent study requirements are met.

    Note the following requirements for students participating in independent study on a short-term basis.

    • In order to claim average daily attendance (ADA), a student must participate in traditional or course-based independent study (CBIS) for a minimum of three consecutive school days. This requirement does not apply to charter schools.
    • The requirements of tiered reengagement, synchronous/live instruction, and a plan to transition to in-person instruction go into effect on the 15th cumulative schoolday of independent study participation. These requirements are not dependent on the schooldays being consecutive and must be met in order to claim ADA.
  6. 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? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 that LEAs 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 Form J-13A submittal and approval process is located on the Frequently Asked Questions-Form J-13A web page.
  7. Can a local educational agency (LEA) that offers a traditional independent study only claim average daily attendance (ADA) through evaluation of the work product? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    Yes. While 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)).

  8. Are local educational agencies (LEAs) required to claim average daily attendance (ADA) through synchronous instruction? (Posted 25-Sept-2023)

    No. 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 Section 51747.5(b)(1)).

    Counting synchronous instruction towards instructional time and attendance for apportionment is optional; this decision will be made at the local level.

  9. 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 25-Sept-2023)

    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 LEA, or the combined time value of student work product and student participation in synchronous instruction.

  10. Can a local educational agency (LEA) claim average daily attendance (ADA) by only offering synchronous instruction to traditional independent study students? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)
    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 Section 51747.5(b)(2)(B)(ii)).
  11. In order to count participation in synchronous instruction towards apportionment calculations, when must the participation occur? (Posted 25-Sept-2023)

    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.

    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. The synchronous instruction cannot be applied toward any other schoolday.

  12. 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.

  13. Can a student generate average daily attendance (ADA) if the guardian or student refuses to participate in synchronous instruction and live interaction? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 LEA’s consideration process for placing a student in independent study.

    If the 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.
  14. What signatures are needed on an independent study written agreement? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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))
  15. 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? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 ADA.

    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.

  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. Are there any statutory exceptions for students who participate in independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 an LEA from meeting all other independent study conditions of apportionment.

Instructional Time and Independent Study

  1. Do the instructional time requirements apply to students in independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 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. Note that in December of 2004, the Department released correspondence clarifying that the instructional time requirements do apply to those students participating in independent study at a charter school.

  2. What are the required instructional minutes and required length of the school year for independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    All school district students are required to be offered at least 180 instructional days of instruction per year. All charter school students are required to be offered 175 instructional days per year. All students are also required to be offered a minimum number of instructional minutes of physical in-person instruction per year that varies by their grade level. This is both a site level and a local educational agency (LEA) level requirement.

    Independent study is not an alternative curriculum; students must meet the same required number of instructional minutes as their peers enrolled in-person instruction at the school site.

    To claim apportionment, all school districts and county offices of education (COEs) must offer at least a minimum day. In order to generate a day of attendance, a student of a school district or COE must be offered the required annual instructional minutes and days and be scheduled for at least a minimum day.

    In traditional independent study, a minimum day is based on the teacher’s determination of the time value of that work, or the combined time value of work and participation in synchronous instruction. For course-based independent study (CBIS), the combined equivalent daily instructional minutes for enrolled courses authorized per Education Code (EC) Section 51749.5 and enrolled courses authorized by all other laws and regulations shall meet the minimum instructional day requirements applicable to the LEA. Students enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall be offered the minimum annual total equivalent instructional minutes pursuant to EC sections 46208 and 47612.5.

    The required minimum day offering and scheduling thresholds are as follows:

    • Transitional kindergarten/kindergarten: 180 minutes (EC Section 46117)
    • Grades one through three: 230 minutes (EC Section 46112)
    • Grades four through twelve: 240 minutes (EC Sections 46113 and 46141)
    • Opportunity school: 180 minutes (EC Sections 46180)
    • Continuation education is assigned in hours, not by minimum day
      • “… A day of attendance is 180 minutes of attendance but no pupil shall be credited with more than 15 hours of attendance per school week, proportionately reduced for those school weeks having weekday holidays on which classes are not held.” (EC Section 46170)
    • Charter schools must meet annual instructional minute requirements (EC Section 47612.5(a)(1))
    • Schools are required to offer the following number of physical education minutes per grade level:
      • Students in grades one through six must be provided with at least 200 minutes of physical education instruction each 10 school days. (EC Section 33352(b)(1)).
      • Students in grades seven through twelve must be provided with at least 400 minutes of physical education instruction each 10 school days. (EC Section 33352(b)(2)).
      • For additional information, visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Physical Education FAQ web page.
    • For additional information on instructional time and attendance accounting, refer to the CDE Instructional Time and Attendance Accounting web page.
  3. Can synchronous instruction be counted towards the daily instructional minute requirements for traditional independent study students? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 evaluates 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 in 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.
  4. Can synchronous instruction be counted towards the daily instructional minute requirements for traditional course-based independent study (CBIS) students? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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 LEA’s governing board (Education Code sections 51745.5(d) and 51749.5(a)(4)).

  5. 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.

Independent Study Ratio Calculation

  1. Do class size ratios apply to independent study? (Posted 25-Sept-2023)

    No. Class size ratio requirements are not applicable to independent study.

    However, Education Code (EC) sections 51745.6 and 51749.5 require local educational agencies that participate in independent study programs to complete an independent study ratio calculation.

    In the interest of parity between in-person instruction and independent study, statute requires the calculation of the ratio of average daily attendance (ADA) to full-time equivalent (FTE) teacher comparison between independent study and all other educational programs (EC Section 51745.6).

    Independent study ratio calculations are done annually at the time of, and in connection with, the second period (P-2) report of ADA. The results of the ratio calculations should be reflected in the P-2 and Annual ADA data submitted to the CDE pursuant to EC Section 51745.6.For more information regarding ADA to FTE ratio calculations and instructions for performing the calculations please refer to the California Department of Education'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 average daily attendance (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 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 ADA, as excess ADA is not eligible for Local Control Funding Formula funding.

  3. If a local educational agency (LEA) operates both traditional and course-based independent study (CBIS) programs, must the LEA complete a ratio calculation for each? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    Yes. Education Code sections 51745.6 and 51749.5 require LEAs that participate in either or both traditional independent study and CBIS programs to complete an independent study ratio calculation.

  4. Are teachers employed by a vendor included in average daily attendance (ADA) to full time equivalent (FTE) teacher ratio calculations for traditional independent study? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    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, 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.

  5. Are teachers employed by a vendor included in average daily attendance (ADA) to full time equivalent (FTE) ratio calculations for course-based independent study (CBIS)? (Updated 25-Sept-2023)

    No. The FTE calculation for CBIS ratios is based on certificated employees of the local educational agency (Education Code (EC) Section 51749.5(a)(13) and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11700(a)).

    During the annual audit process, auditors must verify CBIS ratio calculations (EC Section 51749.5(g)(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: Monday, September 25, 2023
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