DAR File No. 39936

This rule was published in the December 1, 2015, issue (Vol. 2015, No. 23) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Education, Administration

Rule R277-705

Secondary School Completion and Diplomas

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 39936
Filed: 11/10/2015 01:54:50 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

Rule R277-705 is amended to change language regarding accreditation that was being misinterpreted and to provide technical and conforming changes.

Summary of the rule or change:

Language regarding acceptance of credit awarded to students is changed to clarify that a school or provider needs to be accredited by an accrediting entity adopted by the Utah State Board of Education for a local education agency to accept credit awarded to a student by that school or provider. Technical and conforming changes, including removing repetitive language already in statute and renumbering, are also made throughout the rule.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Subsection 53A-1-401(3)
  • Article X, Section 3
  • Subsections 53A-1-402(1)(b) and (c)

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

The amendments clarify language that was being misinterpreted and provide technical and conforming changes which likely will not result in a cost or savings to the state budget.

local governments:

The amendments clarify language that was being misinterpreted and provide technical and conforming changes which likely will not result in a cost or savings to local government.

small businesses:

The amendments clarify language that was being misinterpreted and provide technical and conforming changes which likely will not result in a cost or savings to small businesses.

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

The amendments clarify language that was being misinterpreted and provide technical and conforming changes which likely will not result in a cost or savings to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local government entities.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

The amendments clarify language that was being misinterpreted and provide technical and conforming changes which likely will not result in any compliance costs for affected persons.

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

To the best of my knowledge, there should be no fiscal impact on businesses resulting from the amendments to this rule.

Brad C. Smith, 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:

  • Angela Stallings at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7656, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at angie.stallings@schools.utah.gov

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:

Angela Stallings, Associate Superintendent, Policy and Communication


R277. Education, Administration.

R277-705. Secondary School Completion and Diplomas.

R277-705-[2]1 . Authority and Purpose.

[A.](1) This rule is authorized by :

(a) Utah Constitution Article X, Section 3, [of the Utah Constitution, ]which [places]vests general control and supervision of [the ]public [schools under]education in the Board;

(b) Subsections 53A-1-402(1)(b) and (c), which direct the Board to make rules regarding competency levels, graduation requirements, curriculum, and instruction requirements; and

(c) S ubsection 53A-1-401(3), which allows the Board to adopt rules in accordance with its responsibilities.

[B.](2) The purpose of this rule is to:

(a) provide consistent definitions[,];

(b) provide alternative methods for a student[s] to earn credit and alternate methods for schools to award credit[,]; and

(c) [to ]provide rules and procedures for the assessment of all students as required by law.


R277-705-[1]2 . Definitions.

[A. "Accreditation" means the formal process for internal and external review and approval under the Standards for the Northwest Accreditation Commission, a division of Advance Education Inc., (AdvancED Northwest).

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

[C.](1) "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.

[D.](2) "Diploma" means an official document awarded by an LEA consistent with state and LEA graduation requirements and the provisions of this rule.

[E. "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).

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

[G. "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.

H.](3)(a) "Secondary school" means grades 7-12 in whatever kind of school the grade levels exist.

(b) Grade 6 may be considered a secondary grade for some purposes.

[I.](4) "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.](5)(a) "Special purpose school[s]" means a school[s] designated by a regional accrediting agenc[ies]y, [such as AdvancED Northwest]adopted by the Board.

(b) [These schools typically]"Special purpose school" includes a school:

(i) that serve s a specific population such as a student[s] with a disabilit[ies]y, youth in custody, or a school[s] with a specific curricular emphasis[.]; and

(ii) [Their courses and ] with curricula[are] designed to serve[their] specific populations [and]that may be modified from a traditional program[s].

[K.](6) "Supplemental education provider" means a private school or educational service provider[which]:

(a) that may or may not be accredited[,]; and

(b) that provides courses or services similar to public school courses[/]or classes.

[L.](7)(a) "Transcript" means an official document or record[(s)] generated by one or several schools which includes[, at a minimum]:

(i) the courses in which a secondary student was enrolled[,];

(ii) grades and units of credit earned[,]; and

(iii) citizenship and attendance records.

(b) [The]A transcript is[usually] one part of [the]a student's permanent record or cumulative file [which also]that may include :

(i) birth certificate[,]

(ii) immunization records ; and

(iii) other information as determined by the school in possession of the record.

[M.](8) "Unit of credit" means credit awarded for a course[s] taken :

(a) consistent with this rule[or];

(b) upon LEA authorization ; or

(c) for mastery demonstrated by approved methods.


R277-705-3. Required LEA Policy Explaining Student Credit.

[A.](1)(a) [All Utah]An LEA[s]governing board shall [have a policy, approved]establish a policy, in an open meeting[by the governing board], explaining the process and standards for acceptance and reciprocity of credits earned by a student[s] in accordance with [Utah ]state law.

(b) An LEA [P]polic[ies]y described in Subsection (1)(a) shall [provide for]include specific and adequate notice to a student[s] and a parent[s] of all policy requirements and limitations.

[B. LEAs shall adhere to the following standards for credits or coursework from schools, supplemental education providers accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission, and accredited distance learning schools:]

([1]2) (a) [Public schools]An LEA shall accept credits and grades awarded to a student[s] from a school[s] or a provider[s] accredited by [the Northwest Accreditation Commission or approved]an accrediting entity adopted by the Board [without alteration].

([2]b) An LEA polic[ies]y may establish reasonable timelines and may require adequate and timely documentation of authenticity for credits and grades submitted.

[C.](3) An LEA polic[ies]y shall provide various methods for a student[s] to earn credit from a non-accredited source[s], course work , or education provider[s. Methods, as designated by the LEA may] includ[e]ing:

([1]a) [S]satisfaction of coursework by demonstrated competency, as evaluated at the LEA level;

([2]b) [A]assessment as proctored and determined at the school or school level;

([3]c) [R]review of student work or projects by an LEA administrator[s]; and

([4]d) [S]satisfaction of electronic or correspondence coursework, as approved at the LEA level.

[D.](4) An LEA[s] may require documentation of compliance with Section 53A-11-102 prior to reviewing a student 's home school or competency work, assessment or materials.

[E.](5) An LEA polic[ies]y for participation in extracurricular activities, awards, recognitions, and enhanced diplomas may be determined locally consistent with the law and this rule.

[F.](6) An LEA has the final decision-making authority for the awarding of credit and grades from a non-accredited source[s] consistent with state law, due process, and this rule.


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

[A.](1) An LEA[s] shall award diplomas and certificates of completion.

[B.](2) An LEA[s] shall establish criteria for a student[s] to earn a certificate of completion that may be awarded to a student[s] who :

(a) ha[ve]s completed the[ir] student's senior year[,];

(b) [are]is exiting the school system[,]; and

(c) ha[ve]s not met all state or LEA requirements for a diploma.


R277-705-5. Students with Disabilities.

[A.](1) A student with a disabilit[ies]y served by a special education program[s] shall satisfy high school completion or graduation criteria, consistent with state and federal law and the student's IEP.

[B.](2) A n LEA may award a student[may be awarded] a certificate of completion consistent with state and federal law and the student's IEP or Section 504 Plan.


R277-705-6. Adult Education Students.

[A.](1) An [A]adult education student[s are] is eligible only for an adult education secondary diploma.

[B.](2) An adult education diploma[s cannot] may not be upgraded or changed to a traditional, high school-specific diploma[s].

[C.](3) A [S]school district[s] shall establish a polic[ies]y:

([1]a) allowing or disallowing adult education student participation in graduation activities or ceremonies[.]; and

([2]b) establishing timelines and criteria for satisfying adult education graduation[/] and diploma requirements.


R277-705-7. Student Rights and Responsibilities Related to Graduation, Transcripts and Receipt of Diplomas.

[A.](1) An LEA[s] shall supervise the granting of credit and awarding of diplomas, but may delegate the responsibility to schools within the LEA.

[B.](2) 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.](3) A [D]diploma[s or], a certificate[s], credit s, or an unofficial transcript[s] may not be withheld from a student[s] for nonpayment of school fees.

[D.](4)(a) An LEA[s] shall establish a consistent timeline[s] for all students for completion of graduation requirements.

(b) A [T]timeline[s]described in Subsection (4)(a) 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.](5) An LEA's [G]graduation requirements [are not]may not apply retroactive ly.


KEY: [curricula]high school credit, adult education, graduation requirements

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [November 7, 2013]2016

Notice of Continuation: November 10, 2015

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


Additional Information

More information about a Notice of Proposed Rule is available online.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2015/b20151201.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.

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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Angela Stallings at the above address, by phone at 801-538-7656, by FAX at 801-538-7768, or by Internet E-mail at angie.stallings@schools.utah.gov.  For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules.