August 15, 2000


Superintendents of LEAs
Chief Officers of Charter Schools


Henry L. Johnson, Associate Superintendent
Instructional and Accountability Services

Louis M. Fabrizio, Director
Division of Accountability Services

SUBJECT: Clarification of the 10/20 Day Rule

Upon recommendation of the Compliance Commission for Accountability we are providing this letter of clarification about the application of the 10/20 Day Rule for dropping students from courses for which End-of-Course (EOC) tests apply. The rule, adopted by the State Board of Education, was intended to discourage the removal of students from EOC courses during the instructional year. This was to avoid the impression that a school might have circumvented the requirement to test all students enrolled in EOC courses. However based on the discussions that led to the adoption of the rule we believe that the rule was not intended to preclude doing the right thing for students in individual extenuating situations.

Therefore exceptions are allowable in individual cases where circumstances are extenuating and it is clearly in the interest of the student to remove them from an EOC course. However, each case should be weighed individually and consideration should be given to assure that the accountability of the school is not compromised. Some examples of acceptable individual withdrawals after the 10th or 20th day might be:

  1. A student transferred into the school without sufficient records to inform a proper placement. Records do not arrive until after the 10th or 20th day respectively. In such cases, the school has the latitude to withdraw a student if the student has been inappropriately placed in an EOC course.
  2. A student is withdrawn to enroll in a higher level EOC course. The student will take the appropriate test for that course. In such a case the student may be better served and the school is still held accountable through the test given in the higher level course.
  3. There is a valid medical reason for removing a student from a course. In very rare cases, an individual student may be involved in a major medical emergency such as an accident that incapacitates the student for an extended period of time. In such instances, it may be in the student's best interest to be withdrawn from a course.

In all the above situations, the principal of the school should review each case individually and decide whether withdrawal is indicated for the student. If the student is withdrawn, sufficient documentation should be kept so that there is a record explaining why the student was withdrawn. These justifications should be summarized and forwarded to the LEA Testing/accountability Coordinator as supporting documentation to accompany the accountability files of the school. If the school later encounters any problem in meeting the ABCs testing requirements (i.e., 95% rule, 98% rule, excessive exemptions rule) then the Testing/accountability Coordinator should furnish a summary of these justifications in response to the annual ABCs notification from DPI identifying which schools appear to have violated testing requirements. The Division of Accountability Services will consider the explanations during its annual review of violations of the testing requirements for the ABCs.

We ask that you share this information with your principals and actively discuss the issues involved with proper student placement in the context of the ABCs. The State Board of Education, the Compliance Commission, and the agency continue to support the 10/20 Day Rule and want to assure the appropriate placement decisions for individual students. Therefore we encourage you to have your principals consider both the credibility of a school's accountability results as well as the interests of the individual student as they consider rare exceptions to the 10/20 Day Rule. If you have any questions you should contact Lou Fabrizio at 919.807.3771 or Gary Williamson at 919.807.3787.



Philip J. Kirk, Jr., Chairman, State Board of Education
Michael E. Ward, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Michael D. Priddy, Chairman, Compliance Commission
LEA Testing/accountability Coordinators
Regional Accountability Coordinators