Legal Requirements for Independent StudyA list of basic requirements for operating a legally compliant independent study program.
California Education Code (EC) sections 51744–51749.6 require that local educational agencies (LEAs) that offer independent study must first adopt and implement written policies relating to independent study. The required written policies must be developed as specified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 11700-11705 and as provided in EC sections 51747 and 51749.5 .
In addition to the required written policies, LEAs shall also comply with the following legal requirements:
- Every pupil engaged in independent study must be enrolled
in a specified school of a school district or county office
of education (EC Section 51748
). This enrollment should
be evident from the written agreement.
- Pupils must be taught under the general supervision of a certificated employee of the LEA at which the pupil is enrolled, or by an LEA that has a memorandum of understanding to provide the instruction in coordination with the LEA at which the pupil is enrolled pursuant to EC Section 51749.5(a)(3)
- The Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for independent study
must fall within the teacher-to-ADA limits set by
EC sections 51745.6
to be eligible for apportionment.
- No ADA may be claimed from independent study until the
written agreement is completed
and signed (EC sections
), except that in the case of short-term independent study (fewer than 15 school days), LEAs have 10 days from the first day of independent study instruction to get all signatures on the written agreement. EC sections 51747(g)(9)
- ADA may be claimed for traditional independent study only to the extent of the time value of pupil work products, as personally judged in each instance by a certificated teacher employed by the LEA or a combination of time value of the work product and participation in synchronous instruction, as applicable by grade level. EC Section 51747.5
- ADA may be claimed for course-based independent study to the extent that the pupil is making satisfactory educational progress in annually certified courses, to include meeting the minimum instructional minute requirements. EC sections 51749.5
- A LEA may not claim ADA from independent study if it has provided any funds or other things of value to the
pupil or his or her parent, guardian, or caregiver that the
district does not provide to pupils who attend regular classes. EC Section 51747.3(a)
- No ADA is earned from the independent study of any pupil who meets residency requirements pursuant to subdivision (b) of EC Section 48204
, where a parent or guardian is physically employed within the boundaries of that school district, but resides outside the school district boundaries. EC Section 51747.3(c)
- LEAs shall document each pupil’s participation or nonparticipation in live interaction and synchronous instruction pursuant to EC Section 51747
on each schoolday, as applicable, and shall maintain written or computer-based evidence of pupil engagement. EC Section 51747.5
- See the California Department of Education’s Instructional Time and Attendance Accounting web page for additional independent study condition of apportionment requirements.