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DAR File No. 32314

This filing was published in the 02/01/2009, issue, Vol. 2009, No. 3, of the Utah State Bulletin.

Education, Administration


Secondary School Completion and Diplomas


DAR File No.: 32314
Filed: 01/15/2009, 02:20
Received by: NL


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

The purpose of this amendment is to provide language allowing for designated school districts and charter schools to be exempted from certain U-PASS testing requirements consistent with Subaection 53A-1-603(5) for participation in an online pilot program. The amendments also explain student requirements when students move between exempt and nonexempt school districts or schools.

Summary of the rule or change:

Changes include adding a new Section R277-705-11 regarding student achievement testing exceptions which provide required assessments for exempt school districts and charter schools and requirements for students moving between school districts and charter schools.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

Subsections 53A-1-402(1)(b) and (c)

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

There will be some state costs for online classroom-based assessments as three school districts participate in online assessments and are exempt from other state assessment requirements. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) budget will absorb all costs to the school districts that are participating in the online assessments.

local governments:

There will be no costs to participating school districts. The USOE will absorb all costs for the pilot program within the USOE's existing budget.

small businesses and persons other than businesses:

There are no anticipated costs or savings to small businesses AND persons other than businesses by the amendments in this rule. The amendments apply to designated public schools only.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

There are no compliance costs for affected persons. It does not cost school districts, schools, or individuals to be exempted from certain state testing or to participate in an online assessment pilot program.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

I have reviewed this rule and I see no fiscal impact on businesses. Patti Harrington, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

250 E 500 S
SALT LAKE CITY UT 84111-3272

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

Carol Lear at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7835, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:


This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Carol Lear, Director, School Law and Legislation


R277. Education, Administration.

R277-705. Secondary School Completion and Diplomas.

R277-705-1. Definitions.

In addition to terms defined in Section 53A-1-602:

A. "Accredited" means evaluated and approved under the Standards for Accreditation of the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools or the accreditation standards of the Board, available from the Utah State Office of Education Accreditation Specialist.

B. "Board" means the Utah State Board of Education.

C. "Criterion-referenced test (CRT)" means a test to measure performance against a specific standard. The meaning of the scores is not tied to the performance of other students.

D. "Cut score" means the minimum score a student must attain for each subtest to pass the UBSCT.

E. "Demonstrated competence" means subject mastery as determined by school district standards and review. School district review may include such methods and documentation as: tests, interviews, peer evaluations, writing samples, reports or portfolios.

F. "Diploma" means an official document awarded by a public school district or high school consistent with state and district graduation requirements and the provisions of this rule.

G. "Individualized Education Program (IEP)" means a written statement for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the Utah Special Education Rules and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

H. "Secondary school" means grades 7-12 in whatever kind of school the grade levels exist.

I. "Section 504 Plan" means a written statement of reasonable accommodations for a student with a qualifying disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

J. "Special purpose schools" means schools designated by regional accrediting agencies, such as Northwest. These schools typically serve a specific population such as students with disabilities, youth in custody, or schools with specific curricular emphasis. Their courses and curricula are designed to serve their specific populations and may be modified from traditional programs.

K. "Supplemental education provider" means a private school or educational service provider which may or may not be accredited, that provides courses or services similar to public school courses/classes.

L. "Transcript" means an official document or record(s) generated by one or several schools which includes, at a minimum: the courses in which a secondary student was enrolled, grades and units of credit earned, UBSCT scores and dates of testing, citizenship and attendance records. The transcript is usually one part of the student's permanent or cumulative file which also may include birth certificate, immunization records and other information as determined by the school in possession of the record.

M. "Utah Performance Assessment System for Students (U-PASS)" means:

(1) systematic norm-referenced achievement testing of all students in grades 3, 5, and 8[, and 11] required by this part in all schools within each school district by means of tests designated by the Board;

(2) criterion-referenced achievement testing of students in all grade levels in basic skills courses;

(3) direct writing assessments in grades 6 and 9;

(4) beginning with the 2003-2004 school year, a tenth grade basic skills competency test as detailed in Section 53A-1-611; and

(5) beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance.

N. "Unit of credit" means credit awarded for courses taken consistent with this rule or upon school district/school authorization or for mastery demonstrated by approved methods.

O. "Utah Alternative Assessment (UAA)" means an assessment instrument for students in special education with disabilities so severe they are not able to participate in the components of U-PASS even with testing accommodations or modifications. The UAA measures progress on instructional goals and objectives in the student's individual education program (IEP).

P. "Utah Basic Skills Competency Test (UBSCT)" means a test to be administered to Utah students beginning in the tenth grade to include at a minimum components on English, language arts, reading and mathematics. Utah students shall satisfy the requirements of the UBSCT in addition to state and district graduation requirements prior to receiving a high school diploma indicating a passing score on all UBSCT subtests.

Q. "UBSCT Advisory Committee" means a committee that is advisory to the Board with membership appointed by the Board, including appropriate representation of special populations from the following:

(1) parents;

(2) high school principal(s);

(3) high school teacher(s);

(4) district superintendent(s);

(5) Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee;

(6) Utah State Office of Education staff;

(7) local school board(s);

(8) higher education.


R277-705-7. Utah Basic Skills Competency Testing Requirements and Procedures.

A. All Utah public school students shall participate in Utah Basic Skills Competency testing, unless exempted consistent with R277-705-11, and unless alternate assessment is designated in accordance with federal law or regulations or state law.

B. Timeline:

(1) Beginning with students in the graduating class of 2006, UBSCT requirements shall apply.

(2) No student may take any subtest of the UBSCT before the tenth grade year.

(3) Tenth graders should first take the test in the second half of their tenth grade year.

(4) Exceptions may be made to this timeline with documentation of compelling circumstances and upon review by the school principal and [USOE]Utah State Office of Education assessment staff.

C. UBSCT components, scoring and consequences:

(1) UBSCT consists of subtests in reading, writing and mathematics.

(2) Students who reach the established cut score for any subtest in any administration of the assessment have passed that subtest.

(3) Students shall pass all subtests to qualify for a high school diploma indicating a passing score on all UBSCT subtests unless they qualify under one of the exceptions of state law or this rule such as R277-705-7D.

(4) Students who do not reach the established cut score for any subtest shall have multiple additional opportunities to retake the subtest.

(5) Students who have not passed all subtests of the UBSCT by the end of their senior year may receive a diploma indicating that a student did not receive a passing score on all UBSCT subtests or a certificate of completion.

(6) Specific testing dates shall be calendared and published at least two years in advance by the Board.

D. Reciprocity and new seniors:

(1) Students who transfer from out of state to a Utah high school after the tenth grade year may be granted reciprocity for high school graduation exams taken and passed in other states or countries based on criteria set by the Board and applied by the local board.

(2) Students for whom reciprocity is not granted and students from other states or countries that do not have high school graduation exams shall be required to pass the UBSCT before receiving a high school diploma indicating a passing score on all UBSCT subtests if they enter the system before the final administration of the test in the student's senior year.

(3) The UBSCT Advisory Committee following review of applicable documentation shall recommend to the Board the type of diploma that a student entering a Utah high school in the student's senior year after the final administration of the UBSCT may receive.

E. Testing eligibility:

(1) Building principals shall certify that all students taking the test in any administration are qualified to be tested.

(2) Students are qualified if they:

(a) are enrolled in tenth grade, eleventh, or twelfth grade (or equivalent designation in adult education) in a Utah public school program; or

(b) are enrolled in a Utah private/parochial school (with documentation) and are least 15 years old or enrolled at the appropriate grade level; or

(c) are home schooled (with documentation required under Section 53A-11-102) and are at least 15 years old; and

(3) Students eligible for accommodations, assistive devices, or other special conditions during testing shall submit appropriate documentation at the test site.

F. Testing procedures:

(1) Three subtests make up the UBSCT: reading, writing, and mathematics. Each subtest may be given on a separate day.

(2) The same subtest shall be given to all students on the same day, as established by the Board.

(3) All sections of a subtest shall be completed in a single day.

(4) Subtests are not timed. Students shall be given the time necessary within the designated test day to attempt to answer every question on each section of the subtest.

(5) Makeup opportunities shall be provided to students for the UBSCT according to the following:

(a) Students shall be allowed to participate in makeup tests if they were not present for the entire UBSCT or subtest(s) of the UBSCT.

(b) School districts shall determine acceptable reasons for student makeup eligibility which may include absence due to illness, absence due to family emergency, or absence due to death of family member or close friend.

(c) School districts shall provide a makeup window not to exceed five school days immediately following the last day of each administration of the UBSCT.

(d) School districts shall determine and notify parents in an appropriate and timely manner of dates, times, and sites of makeup opportunities for the UBSCT.

(6) Arrangements for extraordinary circumstances or exceptions to R277-705-5 shall be reviewed and decided by the UBSCT Advisory Committee on a case-by-case basis consistent with the purposes of this rule and enabling legislation.


R277-705-9. Designation of Differentiated Diplomas and Certificates of Completion.

A. As provided under Section 53A-1-611(2)(d), districts or schools shall designate in express language at least the following types of diplomas or certificates:

(1) High School Diploma indicating a passing score on all UBSCT subtests.

(2) High School Diploma indicating that a student did not receive a passing score on all UBSCT subtests.

(3) Certificate of Completion.

(4) High school diploma indicating student achievement on assessments for school districts and charter schools exempted from UBSCT consistent with R277-705-11.

B. The designation shall be made on the face of the diploma or certificate of completion provided to students.


R277-705-11. Student Achievement Testing Exceptions.

A. The Board may exempt a school district or charter school from U-PASS testing requirements if a school district or charter school pilots an assessment system that incorporates:

(1) online classroom-based assessment that utilizes adaptive testing in all grades;

(2) online writing assessment in grades 4 through 12;

(3) assessments administered in grades 8, 10, and 11;

(4) college placement assessments in grades 11 to provide information for 12th grade high school course selections; and

(5) is subject to an accountability plan and high school graduation standards that are based on the assessment system described in R277-705-11A(1), (2), (3), and (4) above and developed and adopted by the Board.

B. Exemptions may not exceed three rural school districts, two urban school districts, and five charter schools.

C. Exemptions may not continue beyond July 1, 2010.

D. Students moving from an exempted school district or charter school to a nonexempted school district or charter school, or students moving from a nonexempted school district or charter school to an exempted school district or charter school during their 11th or 12th grade year may receive a diploma based on the requirements of their previous or new school district as determined by the parents and school administrators of the school they attend at the time of graduation.


KEY: curricula

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [December 11, 2006]2009

Notice of Continuation: February 2, 2007

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: Art X Sec 3; 53A-1-402(1)(b); 53A-1-603 through 53A-1-611; 53A-1-401(3)




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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Carol Lear at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7835, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at

For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules (801-538-3764). Please Note: The Division of Administrative Rules is NOT able to answer questions about the content or application of these administrative rules.

Last modified:  01/30/2009 9:46 AM