Chief Sponsor: Howard A. Stephenson

House Sponsor: ____________


8     General Description:
9          This bill amends provisions regarding student assessments.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     requires the State Board of Education to apply for certain waivers and authorities
13     from the federal government regarding student assessments; and
14          ▸     under a certain circumstance, requires a student who is excused from taking certain
15     student assessments to take an alternate assessment.
16     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
17          None
18     Other Special Clauses:
19          This bill provides a special effective date.
20     Utah Code Sections Affected:
21     AMENDS:
22          53A-15-1403, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 444
23     ENACTS:
24          53A-1-909, Utah Code Annotated 1953

26     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
27          Section 1. Section 53A-1-909 is enacted to read:

28          53A-1-909. Federal student assessment requirements -- Waiver -- Authority to
29     implement an innovative assessment system.
30          (1) (a) Subject to Subsections (1)(b) and (c), the State Board of Education shall request
31     a waiver under Section 8401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20
32     U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq. from the requirement that the state annually measure the achievement
33     of not less than 95% of all students, and not less than 95% of all students in each subgroup of
34     students, who are enrolled in elementary and secondary public schools.
35          (b) The waiver request under Subsection (1)(a) shall be narrowly tailored to prevent an
36     education entity from being penalized under federal law for nonparticipation of a student who
37     is excused from taking an assessment as described in Section 53A-15-1403.
38          (c) The State Board of Education shall request the waiver described in Subsection
39     (1)(a) no later than 60 days after the day on which the United States Department of Education
40     publishes final regulations regarding the federal provisions described in Subsection (1)(a).
41          (2) (a) The State Board of Education shall apply for authority to establish an innovative
42     assessment system under Section 1204 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
43     1965, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.
44          (b) The application described in Subsection (2)(a) shall include a request to establish
45     an innovative assessment system that:
46          (i) is competency-based; or
47          (ii) validates when a student is ready to demonstrate mastery or proficiency and allows
48     for differentiated student support based on individual learning needs.
49          (c) The State Board of Education may use funds awarded under Section 1201 of the
50     Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq. to establish an
51     innovative assessment system.
52          Section 2. Section 53A-15-1403 is amended to read:
53          53A-15-1403. Parental right to academic accommodations.
54          (1) (a) A student's parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the
55     education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or
56     guardian. As such, a student's parent or guardian has the right to reasonable academic
57     accommodations from the student's LEA as specified in this section.
58          (b) Each accommodation shall be considered on an individual basis and no student

59     shall be considered to a greater or lesser degree than any other student.
60          (c) The parental rights specified in this section do not include all the rights or
61     accommodations that may be available to a student's parent or guardian as a user of the public
62     education system.
63          (d) An accommodation under this section may only be provided if the accommodation
64     is:
65          (i) consistent with federal law; and
66          (ii) consistent with a student's IEP if the student already has an IEP.
67          (2) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate a parent's or guardian's written request to
68     retain a student in kindergarten through grade 8 on grade level based on the student's academic
69     ability or the student's social, emotional, or physical maturity.
70          (3) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate a parent's or guardian's initial selection of a
71     teacher or request for a change of teacher.
72          (4) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate the request of a student's parent or guardian
73     to visit and observe any class the student attends.
74          (5) Notwithstanding Chapter 11, Part 1, Compulsory Education Requirements, an LEA
75     shall record an excused absence for a scheduled family event or a scheduled proactive visit to a
76     health care provider if:
77          (a) the parent or guardian submits a written statement at least one school day before the
78     scheduled absence; and
79          (b) the student agrees to make up course work for school days missed for the scheduled
80     absence in accordance with LEA policy.
81          (6) (a) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate a parent's or guardian's written request
82     to place a student in a specialized class, a specialized program, or an advanced course.
83          (b) An LEA shall consider multiple academic data points when determining an
84     accommodation under Subsection (6)(a).
85          (7) Consistent with Section 53A-13-108, which requires the State Board of Education
86     to establish graduation requirements that use competency-based standards and assessments, an
87     LEA shall allow a student to earn course credit towards high school graduation without
88     completing a course in school by:
89          (a) testing out of the course; or

90          (b) demonstrating competency in course standards.
91          (8) An LEA shall reasonably accommodate a parent's or guardian's request to meet
92     with a teacher at a mutually agreeable time if the parent or guardian is unable to attend a
93     regularly scheduled parent teacher conference.
94          (9) (a) [At] Subject to Subsection (9)(c)(iv), at the request of a student's parent or
95     guardian, an LEA shall excuse a student from taking an assessment that:
96          (i) is federally mandated;
97          (ii) is mandated by the state under this title; or
98          (iii) requires the use of:
99          (A) a state assessment system; or
100          (B) software that is provided or paid for by the state.
101          (b) In accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, the
102     State Board of Education shall make rules:
103          (i) to establish a statewide procedure for excusing a student under Subsection (9)(a)
104     that:
105          (A) does not place an undue burden on a parent or guardian; and
106          (B) may be completed online; and
107          (ii) to prevent negative impact, to the extent authorized by state statute, to an LEA or
108     an LEA's employees through school grading or employee evaluations due to a student not
109     taking a test under Subsection (9)(a).
110          (c) An LEA:
111          (i) shall follow the procedures outlined in rules made by the State Board of Education
112     under Subsection (9)(b) to excuse a student under Subsection (9)(a);
113          (ii) may not require procedures to excuse a student under Subsection (9)(a) in addition
114     to the procedures outlined in rules made by the State Board of Education under Subsection
115     (9)(b); [and]
116          (iii) may not reward a student for taking an assessment described in Subsection
117     (9)(a)[.]; and
118          (iv) if the State Board of Education establishes an innovative assessment system under
119     Section 53A-1-909, shall require a student who is excused from taking an assessment under
120     Subsection (9)(a) to take an alternate assessment that is developed by the State Board of

121     Education as part of the innovative assessment system.
122          (d) The State Board of Education shall:
123          (i) maintain and publish a list of state assessments, state assessment systems, and
124     software that qualify under Subsection (9)(a); and
125          (ii) audit and verify an LEA's compliance with the requirements of this Subsection (9).
126          (10) (a) An LEA shall provide for:
127          (i) the distribution of a copy of a school's discipline and conduct policy to each student
128     in accordance with Section 53A-11-903; and
129          (ii) a parent's or guardian's signature acknowledging receipt of the school's discipline
130     and conduct policy.
131          (b) An LEA shall notify a parent or guardian of a student's violation of a school's
132     discipline and conduct policy and allow a parent or guardian to respond to the notice in
133     accordance with Chapter 11, Part 9, School Discipline and Conduct Plans.
134          Section 3. Effective date.
135          This bill takes effect on July 1, 2016.

Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel