6158 AR - Independent Study/Short-term

Administrative Regulation No. 6158
Regulation reviewed:  June 6, 2007


The Governing Board authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy by which students in grades K-8 may reach curriculum objectives and fulfill promotion requirements. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan for students whose needs may be met best through study outside of the regular classroom setting on a short-term basis.

The district shall not provide independent study students and their parents/ guardians with funds or items of value that are not provided for other students and their parents/guardians. (Education Code 46300.6, 51747.3)


Students who meet the criteria listed below are eligible to participate in independent study. No individual with disabilities, as defined in Education Code 56026, may participate in independent study unless his/her Individualized Education Program specifically provides for such participation. (Education Code 51745) No student shall be required to participate in independent study. (Education Code 51747)

(cf. 6159 - Individualized Education Program)

No temporarily disabled student may receive individual instruction pursuant to Education Code 48206.3 by means of independent study. (Education Code 51745)

Criteria for Participation

Approval for a student’s participation in a short-term independent study shall be based on the following criteria:

1.      Evidence that the student will work independently to complete the program assignments

2.      Adequate notification (at least one week) given to certificated staff to design the short-term contract and subsequently evaluate its completion.

Written Agreements and Assignments

The written independent study agreement for each participating student shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following: (Education Code 51747)

1.      The manner, time and place for submitting the student’s assignments and for reporting his/her progress.

2.      The objectives and methods of study for the student’s work, and the methods used to evaluate that work.

3.      The specific resources, including materials, that will be made available to the student.

4.      The district’s independent study policy describing the maximum length of time allowed between an assignment and its completion and the number of missed assignments which will trigger an evaluation of whether the student should be allowed to participate in independent study.

5.      The duration of the independent study agreement, including the beginning and ending dates for the student’s participation in independent study under the agreement. Short-term independent study shall not be valid for any period longer three weeks.

6.      A statement of academic accomplishment appropriate to the agreement, to be earned by the student upon completion.

7.      A statement that independent study is an optional educational alternative in which no student may be required to participate. In the case of a student who is referred or assigned to any school, class or program pursuant to Education Code 48915 or 48917, the agreement shall also include the statement that instruction may be provided through independent study only if the student is offered the alternative of classroom instruction.

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

The curriculum and methods of study specified in the written agreement shall be consistent with the Governing Board’s policies, administrative regulations and procedures for curriculum and instruction. (5 CCR 11702)

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

Before beginning the independent study, each written agreement shall be signed and dated by the student, the parent/guardian or caregiver of the student under 18 years of age, the certificated employee designated as responsible for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student. (Education Code 51747)

The agreement shall state that the parent/guardian’s signature confers his/her permission for the student’s independent study as specified in the agreement.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students participating in independent study shall have the right, continuously, to enter or return to the regular classroom mode of instruction.

Independent study students who do not submit assigned work on time shall not be reported as truant. However, the site administrator or designee shall promptly and directly address any failure by the student to meet the terms of his/her written agreement. The following supportive strategies may be used:

1.      A letter to the student and/or parent/guardian, as appropriate

2.      A special meeting between the student, parent and the teacher

3.      A meeting between the student and the administrator, including the parent/guardian, if appropriate

When the student has missed the number of assignments specified in Board policy as precipitating an evaluation, the Superintendent or designee shall conduct an evaluation which may result in denial of the future independent study agreements.

Administration of Independent Study

Each student’s independent study shall be coordinated, evaluated and carried out under the general supervision of a certificated employee. (Education Code 51747.5)

The responsibilities of the site administrator shall be to:

1.      Ensure that the district’s independent study option is operated in accordance with law, Board policy and administrative regulation

2.      Approve the participation of students requesting independent study for a minimum of five consecutive school days

3.      Facilitate the completion of independent study written agreements

4.      Approve all credits earned through independent study and forward the information to the appropriate staff so that the information becomes part of the student’s record.

5.      Authorize the selection of staff who are assigned to supervise independent study 

6.      Supervise any staff assigned to independent study functions who are not regularly supervised by another administrator

7.      Complete or coordinate the preparation of all necessary records and reports

8.      Establish and maintain in a systematic manner all records required by law, Board policy and administrative regulation

9.      Monitor enrollment in independent study to stay within prescribed limits and to maximize income to the district without compromising the educational quality of independent study

10.    Prepare and submit reports as required by the Board or Superintendent

11.    Assure a smooth transition into and out of the independent study mode of instruction

Supervising Teachers

The site administrator shall approve the assignment of any teachers who directly supervise independent study on a regular basis. The principal may recommend teachers or students for independent study. The teacher may be the student’s regular classroom teacher, particularly for elementary students.

Independent study teachers shall:

1.      Complete designated portions of the written agreement and add additional information to the written agreement when appropriate

2.      Supervise and approve coursework

3.      Design/identify curriculum objectives

4.      Complete the independent study contact for students

5.      Assess all student work

6.      Personally judge the time value of assigned work or work products completed and submitted by the student

7.      Select and save with each agreement representative samples of the student’s completed and evaluated assignments

8.      Sign and complete the agreement when the student has reached his/her objectives or the agreement is terminated

9.      Maintain any required records and files on a current basis

When appropriate, independent study teachers shall determine and assign grades or other approved measures of achievement.



District records shall identify all students participating in independent study and shall specify the grade level, program placement and school in which each of these students is enrolled. (Education Code 51748)

Each school shall maintain records for the students at that school.

Records shall be maintained for audit purposes and shall include the following: (5 CCR 11703)

1.      A copy of the Board policy, administrative regulation, and procedures related to independent study

2.      A separate listing of students, by grade level and school, who have participated in independent study, identifying units of curriculum attempted and units of the curriculum completed by students in grades K-8

3.      A file of all agreements, with representative samples of each student’s work products bearing signed or initialed and dated notations by the supervising teacher, indicating that he/she has personally evaluated the work or that he/she has personally reviewed the evaluations made by another certificated teacher


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