File No. 34936

This rule was published in the July 1, 2011, issue (Vol. 2011, No. 13) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Education, Administration

Rule R277-705

Secondary School Completion and Diplomas

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 34936
Filed: 06/15/2011 06:29:39 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

This rule is amended to remove all references to student state testing requirements. Testing requirements are provided for in existing and new Utah State Board of Education (Board) rules.

Summary of the rule or change:

The amendments include removing language throughout the rule that relate to student state testing.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Subsections 53A-1-402(1)(b) and (c)
  • Subsection 53A-1-401(3)

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

There are no anticipated costs or savings to the state budget. The amendments remove language relating to student state testing because that language is included in existing and new Board rules and unnecessary in this rule.

local governments:

There are no anticipated costs or savings to local government. Removing language relating to student state testing from this rule does not cost or save school districts or schools money. Language removed is provided for in existing or new Board rule.

small businesses:

There are no anticipated costs or savings to small businesses. This rule applies to public education and does not affect businesses.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

There are no anticipated costs or savings to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local government entities. Removing language relating to student state testing from this rule does not cost or save individuals money. Language removed is provided for in existing or new Board rule.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

There are no compliance costs for affected persons. Removing language from this rule and providing for the language in existing or new rules does not affect individuals.

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.

Larry K. Shumway, State Superintendent

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 Accreditation Commission 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]C. "Cut score" means the minimum score a student must attain for each subtest to pass the UBSCT.

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

[F]E. "Diploma" means an official document awarded by an LEA consistent with state and LEA graduation requirements and the provisions of this rule.

[G]F. "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]G. "LEA" means a local education agency, including local school boards/public school districts and schools, and charter schools.

[I]H. "Military child or children" means a K-12 public education student whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) satisfies the definition of Section 53A-11-1401.

[J]I. "Secondary school" means grades 7-12 in whatever kind of school the grade levels exist.

[K]J. "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.

[L]K. "Special purpose schools" means schools designated by regional accrediting agencies, such as the Northwest Accreditation Commission. 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.

[M]L. "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.

[N]M. "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, if applicable, 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.

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

(1) criterion-referenced achievement testing of students in all grade levels in:

(a) language arts (grades 3-11);

(b) mathematics (grades 3-7) and pre-algebra, elementary Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and geometry;

(c) science (grades 4-8) and earth systems, biology, chemistry, and physics; and

(2) an online direct writing assessment in grades 5 and 8;

(3) a tenth grade basic skills competency test as detailed in Section 53A-1-611 (suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year); and

(4) the use of student behavior indicators in assessing student performance.

(5) The U-PASS Performance Report is suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year.

P]N. "Unit of credit" means credit awarded for courses taken consistent with this rule or upon LEA authorization or for mastery demonstrated by approved methods.

[Q. "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).

R]O. "Utah Basic Skills Competency Test (UBSCT)" means a test to be administered to Utah students beginning in the tenth grade (suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year) 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 LEA graduation requirements prior to receiving a high school diploma indicating a passing score on all UBSCT subtests, for applicable school years (UBSCT requirements are suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year).

[S]P. "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) school district superintendent(s);

(5) Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee;

(6) Utah State Office of Education staff;

(7) local school board(s);

(8) higher education.

(UBSCT requirements are suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year.)


R277-705-2. Authority and Purpose.

A. This rule is authorized by Article X, Section 3 of the Utah Constitution, which places general control and supervision of the public schools under the Board; Section 53A-1-402(1)(b) and (c) which direct the Board to make rules regarding competency levels, graduation requirements, curriculum, and instruction requirements;[ Sections 53A-1-603 through 53A-1-611 which direct the Board to adopt rules for the conduct and administration of U-PASS;] and Section 53A-1-401(3) which allows the Board to adopt rules in accordance with its responsibilities.

B. The purpose of this rule is to provide consistent definitions, provide alternative methods for students to earn and schools to award credit, and to provide rules and procedures for the assessment of all students as required by law.


R277-705-4. Diplomas and Certificates of Completion.

A. LEAs shall award diplomas and certificates of completion.

B. Differentiated diplomas that reference the UBSCT before the 2010-2011 school year and after the 2012-2013 school year shall include:

(1) a high school diploma indicating on the diploma that a student successfully completed all state and LEA course requirements for graduation and passed all subtests of the UBSCT.

(2) a high school diploma indicating on the diploma that a student did not receive a passing score on all UBSCT subtests; the student shall have:

(a) met all state and LEA course requirements for graduation; and

(b) beginning with the graduating class of 2007, participated in UBSCT remediation consistent with LEA policies and opportunities; and

(c) provided documentation of at least three attempts to take and pass all subtests of the UBSCT unless[:

(i)] the student took all subtests of the UBSCT offered while the student was enrolled in Utah schools[; or

(ii) a student's IEP team has determined that the student's participation in statewide assessment is through the UAA.] (UBSCT requirements are suspended through at least the 2011-2012 school year).

C. LEAs shall establish criteria for students to earn a certificate of completion that may be awarded to students who have completed their senior year, are exiting the school system, and have not met all state or LEA requirements for a diploma.


R277-705-10. Student Rights and Responsibilities Related to Graduation, Transcripts and Receipt of Diplomas.

A. LEAs shall supervise the granting of credit and awarding of diplomas, but may delegate the responsibility to schools within the LEA.

B. An LEA may determine criteria for a student's participation in graduation activities, honors, and exercises, independent of a student's receipt of a diploma or certificate of completion.

C. Diplomas or certificates, credit or unofficial transcripts may not be withheld from students for nonpayment of school fees.

D. LEAs shall establish consistent timelines for all students for completion of graduation requirements. Timelines shall be consistent with state law and this rule.

E. LEAs shall work with enrolled military children to evaluate the students' coursework or to assist students in completing coursework to allow military children to graduate with the students' age-appropriate graduating class consistent with Section 53A-11-1404.

F. Consistent with Section 53A-11-1404(3), if a Utah school is unable to facilitate a military child's receipt of diploma by evaluating coursework in Utah schools and previous schools attended, the Utah school shall contact the military child's previous local education agency and aid, to the extent possible, the receipt of a diploma.

G. Graduation [or U-PASS] requirements are not retroactive.


R277-705-11. Student Achievement Testing Exceptions.

A. The Board may exempt an LEA from U-PASS testing requirements if an LEA 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 LEA to a nonexempted LEA, or students moving from a nonexempted LEA to an exempted LEA during their 11th or 12th grade year may receive a diploma based on the requirements of their previous or new LEA as determined by the parents and school administrators of the LEA they attend at the time of graduation.


R277-705-12. High School Assessment Pilot Program.

A. The Board shall implement the High School Assessment Pilot Program (Program) consistent with Section 53A-1-603(7) to allow LEAs to:

(1) administer the ACT exam to secondary students for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 schools years; or

(2) administer a computer adaptive testing of basic skills, or both the ACT and computer adaptive testing.

B. The pilot Program shall extend until July 1, 2015.

C. The Board shall develop an application for LEAs choosing to participate in the Program.

D. The Board shall re-direct the money saved by not administering the UBSCT to fund implementation of the Program.

E. LEAs participating in the Program shall assure:

(1) the LEA will continue required CRT testing;

(2) full participation and cooperation with evaluators and Board staff in implementing the Program;

(3) the local board or governing board has fully endorsed the LEA's participation in a public meeting; and

(4) the LEA agrees to provide participation data and results to the Board or the Utah State Legislature, or both, as a requirement of the Program.]


KEY: curricula

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [August 9, 2010]2011

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