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TO:            Superintendents of Schools


FROM:      J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:       March 1, 2002


RE:            Chapter 127 Instructional Program, Assessment and Diploma Requirements



Chapter 127 Instructional Program, Assessment and Diploma Requirements was designated as a major substantive rule by the Legislature last spring.  This means that after the hearing, comment period, and provisional adoption of the rule by the Commissioner, the rule is presented to the Legislative Council for consideration by the Legislature.  This is the process that was followed five years ago for Chapter 131, which includes all of the content standards and performance indicators of the Learning Results. 

On February 15, Chapter 127 was presented to the Legislature and it has been printed as LD 2136, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Amendments to Chapter 127 Instructional Program, Assessment, and Diploma Requirements, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education.  The hearing on this LD will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs in room 214 of the Cross State Office Building in Augusta.

A copy of the provisionally adopted rule is available on the Department’s web site or directly at <>.  On this page select “Proposed Replacement of Entire Rule” for the provisionally adopted rule.

Throughout the rulemaking process we received extensive feedback about the timelines for implementing assessment systems and awarding diplomas based on standards.  In response to this feedback the provisionally adopted rule provides the opportunity for school units to delay the requirement to award a diploma based on Health/Physical Education, Science & Technology, and Social Studies by one year.  This is at the very end of the proposed rule, in the section on waivers.  The school unit does not have to provide as much evidence of the need for a waiver and the Commissioner is required to grant a waiver for these content areas for one year.  The new timelines are as follows:


2003-04           Local assessment system adopted

2005-06           Annual Reading and Math assessments in grades 3 through 8 necessary to meet federal requirements

2006-07           Graduation based on standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics

2007-08           Graduation based on above, plus standards in Health / Physical Education, Science/Technology, and Social Studies

2010-11           Graduation based on above, plus standards in Career Preparation, Modern and Classical Languages, and Visual and Performing Arts, contingent upon funding of Essential Programs & Services


Recently we have received feedback about the inclusion in the provisionally adopted rule of the graduation requirements for students graduating prior to 2007.  Since the new graduation requirements do not take effect until the Class of 2007, the current requirements must be restated with language to indicate that they sunset with the Class of 2007.  A careful reading of the section headings supports this in Section 7, which relates to secondary school programs and diploma requirements.

If you have questions about this please do not hesitate to contact Deputy Commissioner Judy Lucarelli at 624-6606 or