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Newport-Mesa USD |  BP  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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The Governing Board authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy for students, including adult education students, whose needs may be best met through study outside of the regular classroom setting. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan and enabling students to reach curriculum objectives and fulfill graduation requirements. As necessary to meet student needs, independent study may be offered on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis in conjunction with part- or full-time classroom study.

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

(cf. 6146.1 - High School Graduation Requirements)

(cf. 6200 - Adult Education)

The Superintendent or designee shall approve independent study for an individual student only upon determining that the student is prepared to meet the district's requirements for independent study and is likely to succeed in independent study as well as or better than he/she would in the regular classroom.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement, as prescribed by law, exists for each participating student. (Education Code 51747)

To foster each participating student's success in independent study, the Board establishes the following maximum lengths of time which may elapse between the date an assignment is made and the date by which the student must complete the assigned work:

1. One week for students in grades K-3

2. Two weeks for students in grades 4-8

3. Three weeks for students in grades 9-12, continuation or adult education

When circumstances justify a longer time, the Superintendent or designee may extend the maximum length of an assignment to a period not to exceed eight weeks, pursuant to a written request with justification.

Supervising teachers should carefully set the duration of independent study assignments, within the limits specified above, and establish an appropriate schedule for student-teacher conferences in order to help identify students falling behind in their work or in danger of failing or dropping out of school. Except in unusual circumstances, it is expected that the supervising teacher will meet with each participating student at least once a week to discuss the student's progress.

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

When any participating student fails to complete three consecutive independent study assignments in a period of 15 school days, or misses two appointments with his/her supervising teacher without valid reasons, an evaluation shall be conducted to determine whether it is in the student's best interest to remain in independent study.

The Superintendent or designee shall annually report to the Board the number of students participating in independent study, the average daily attendance (ADA) generated for apportionment purposes, the quality of these students' work as measured by standard indicators, and the number and proportion of independent study students who graduate or successfully complete independent study.

Home-Based Independent Study

The Superintendent or designee shall encourage parents/guardians desiring to teach their children at home to have their children participate in independent study. Such participation allows continued contact and cooperation between the school system and the home-based student.

Legal Reference:


17289 Exemption for facilities

42238 Revenue limits

44865 Qualifications for home teachers and teachers in special classes and schools; consent to assignment

46300-46300.6 Methods of computing ADA

47612.5 Independent study in charter schools

48204 Residency based on parent employment

48206.3 Home or hospital instruction; students with temporary disabilities

48220 Classes of children exempted

48340 Improvement of pupil attendance

48915 Expulsion; particular circumstances

48916.1 Educational program requirements for expelled students

48917 Suspension of expulsion order

51225.3 Requirements for high school graduation

51745-51749.3 Independent study programs

56026 Individuals with exceptional needs


6550 Authorization affidavits


11700-11703 Independent study


Modesto City Schools v. Education Audits Appeal Panel, (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1365

Management Resources:


Independent Study Operations Manual, 2000 edition


California Consortium for Independent Study:

California Department of Education, Independent Study:


adopted: September 8, 2009 Costa Mesa, California