Parents are often confused about the rules regarding course credits, graduation programs/plans, and what a school can do regarding course accommodations and content modification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) develops a Minimum Standards for the AAR document each year. The information in this post, much of it quoted heavily from the TEA document, can assist parents during ARD/IEP meetings to explore available options, if standard high school courses and/or content do not seem appropriate.
“Each school district shall report the academic achievement record of students who have completed a minimum (MHSP), recommended (RHSP), or advanced (distinguished) high school program (DAP) on transcript forms adopted by the State Board of Education. The words academic achievement record and transcript are interchangeable in this document. The Academic Achievement Record (AAR) is an official and permanent record of a student’s academic performance during high school and, in some cases, of high school courses completed prior to high school.” Section 1.1 (a)
“It is illegal to withhold the transcript because the student or the family owes money to the school or for any other reason. The student/guardian has a right to an exact, unaltered replica of the original file document including any signatures, embossed stamps, school seals, or other certifying documentation already affixed to the AAR. A school must not alter the AAR in any way when providing a copy to a student/guardian. An AAR provided to a student/guardian may not be marked unofficial.” Section 1.2(a)
“The AAR may be withheld from a university or entity other than the student/guardian or another public school district/charter if a student owes the district money related to instructional materials provided through a district’s instructional materials allotment”. Section 1.2 (b)
“The AAR is used to differentiate individual accomplishments, achievements, and high school program completion (TAC §74.11(a) and 74.14(a)). A standard, undifferentiated high school diploma is awarded to all students who have completed one of the three high school programs and have met assessment requirements. This includes students receiving special education services who complete the graduation requirements specified in their IEPs.” Section 1.4 (a)
“For students receiving special education services, an ARD committee defines the high school program and ensures that course content meets credit and curriculum requirements for each student. Courses with modified content apply to the Minimum High School Program (MHSP) only and cannot be counted toward the Recommended High School Program (RHSP) or the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) (TAC §74.61(e)).” Section 1.4 (a)
A “modification to a physical education course does not prohibit a student from completing either the RHSP or the DAP. A student with a physical limitation must still demonstrate proficiency in the relevant knowledge and skills in a physical education course that do not require physical activity (TAC Chapter 74).” Section 1.4 (a)
“Students with disabilities are required to meet the district standards set for all students even if those standards exceed state standards.” Section 1.4 (a)
“Districts must issue a certificate of attendance to a student who receives special education services and who has completed four years of high school but has not completed the student’s IEP (TEC §28.025(f)). Note that this certificate is not equivalent to either a diploma or a certificate of coursework completion and does not prohibit a student from earning one or both of those documents at a later date.” Section 1.4 (d)
“A notation of Completion of IEP may not be used in place of one of the three SBOE-approved high school program seals. Each student’s AAR must note which SBOE-approved high school program the student completed.” Section 1.5 (c)
“Unique codes exist in the PEIMS Code Table C022 for use in the event that an ARD committee determines that content for certain required foundation subject courses must be modified in order for the student to be successful in those courses. The courses with unique codes indicating modified content are limited to those courses for which a State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course (EOC) exam exists. A student first entering ninth grade in the 2011-2012 school year or later who completes a modified version of one of these courses must participate in the modified EOC exam (if a modified version exists).” EOC exams – Algebra I; Geometry; Biology; Chemistry; U.S. History; Physics; World Geography; English I; Algebra II; English II; World History; English III. Section 1.7 (b)
“Unique codes exist in the PEIMS Code Table C022 for use in the event that an ARD committee determines that in order for the student to be successful in a course, the course must consist of alternate content aligned to the TEKS for the course. The courses with unique codes indicating TEKS-based alternate content are limited to those courses for which a State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course (EOC) exam exists. A student first entering grade nine in the 2011-2012 school year or later who completes an alternate version of one of these courses must participate in the alternate EOC exam (if an alternate version exists).” Section 1.7 (c)
“In the 2011-2012 school year, courses other than those with an EOC exam that have been modified in content as a result of an ARD committee decision for a student receiving special education services should be coded in one of two ways, as appropriate:
(1) Districts may code a modified course using the standard course code available in the PEIMS Code Table C022. These courses may be coded in the student’s permanent record with the Special Explanation Code “V.” However, the “V” code must not be printed on the AAR. These standard courses with modified content may count toward state graduation credit according to the specifications in the student’s IEP and apply only to the MHSP. See Section 1.14 for more information.
(2) Districts may code a modified course using the codes currently available for locally developed courses that an ARD committee has determined are appropriate substitutions for SBOE-approved courses.
Districts may determine the most appropriate coding option based on the extent of the modifications.
(e) The following types of courses may be developed and implemented locally with no state-level approval:
- A course in which any student may participate but may not receive state credit towards graduation
- For students who entered grade 9 prior to the 2011-2012 school year, a course in which any student may participate that is identified through an IEP as an appropriate alternative to a course that meets state graduation requirements. See
Special Instructions on page 6 for more information.” Section 1.7 (d) & (e)
“The AAR may not contain information disclosing a student’s disability.” 1.14 (a) “The AAR may not contain information that indicates a student has attended a juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP).”1.14(b)
“Students with excessive absences will be given the grade earned, but in accordance with the decision made by the district attendance committee, may or may not be awarded credit (TEC §25.092). Explanation regarding credit withheld as a result of excessive absences must be included on the AAR in the notes section or as an attachment. … Transcripts sent to institutions of higher education may not contain notes and attachments.” 1.15 (c)(4)
“When a student transfers from a Texas public school district or charter school after a semester or full year is completed, the receiving district must honor credits already awarded by the sending district (19 TAC §74.26(a)(1)).” Section 1.15 (d) [Emphasis added by Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist]
“1.16(a) Use of Certain Special Explanation Codes
The IEP designed by an ARD committee defines the appropriate high school program for each student receiving special education services. The options for students who are receiving special education services include the following:
(1) Participation in a general education course with no modification of content: The “V” code should not be used. The student participates on the same basis as students in general education in a course that has a standard course number and title assigned in the PEIMS Code Table C022, with no course content modifications. Accommodations for instructional methods or accessibility may be used as recommended by the ARD committee. See Section 1.7 for more information.
(2) Participation in a general education course with ARD-directed modification of content:
(A) Non-EOC Courses—The “V” code may be recorded in the student’s permanent record but must not be printed on the AAR. Only a course that has a standard course number and title assigned in the PEIMS Code Table C022 and is locally modified in content as a result of an ARD committee decision for a student receiving special education services is coded in the permanent record with Special Explanation Code “V.” Courses with modified content cannot be counted toward the RHSP or the DAP.” Please note that under certain circumstances, a modification to a physical education course does not prohibit a student from completing either the RHSP or the DAP (TAC Chapter 74). See Section 1.4(a) for more information” 1.16(a)
“EOC-Courses—There is no need to use the “V” code.” 1.16 (a)
The V code means “A state-approved course in which content as described by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) has been modified as a result of an ARD committee decision.
This code is used only in the permanent records of students receiving special education services to indicate modifications in TEKS course content. The code is not used to indicate accommodations in instructional methods. It is not used to indicate where the course was taught such as in a resource, homebound, or self-contained setting. It is not used to indicate instructional accommodations for students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.” 1.16(b)
Additional Information Regarding Entries for Students Receiving Special Education Services
Students receiving special education services may earn a high school diploma in one of four ways. In each case, the appropriate seal indicates which of the three high school programs the student has completed. For guidance regarding graduation requirements for students receiving special education services, please visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/idea/gradguidance/.
“(a)A student who has satisfactorily completed credit and curriculum requirements applicable to students in general education as specified in TAC Chapter 74 and met state assessment requirements may graduate under the MHSP, the RHSP, or the DAP (TAC §89.1070(b)(1)).
(b) A student who has satisfactorily completed credit and curriculum requirements applicable to students in general education and who participates in required assessments may graduate under the MHSP. The student’s ARD committee must determine whether satisfactory performance on a required state assessment shall be required for graduation (TAC §89.1070(b)(2)).
(c) A student may graduate under the MHSP by satisfactorily completing credit and curriculum requirements applicable to students in general education or the curriculum requirements to the extent possible as determined by the student’s ARD committee, participating in required assessments as determined appropriate by the ARD committee, and fulfilling other requirements outlined in the IEP, including one of the following: (a) full-time employment and sufficient self-help skills to maintain employment without direct and ongoing support from the school district; (b) demonstration of specific employability and self-help skills that do not require direct ongoing support from the school district; or (c) access to services that are not within the legal responsibility of public education or to employment or educational options for which the student has been prepared by the academic program (TAC §89.1070(b)(3)).
(d) A student may graduate under the MHSP if the student no longer meets age eligibility requirements and has completed the requirements specified in the student’s IEP (TAC §89.1070(b)(4)).”
For information about assessment for students with disabilities, please refer to the guidance at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147497738.
Parents should question school staff, if appropriate, about the TEA courses listed on Table CO22 and locally developed courses.
The latest version of the TEA AAR document is at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5974