Superintendents of LEAs
Chief Officers of Charter Schools


Bob Bellamy, Associate Superintendent
Accountability and Technology Services

Louis M. Fabrizio, Director
Division of Accountability Services

SUBJECT: Clarification of the 10/20 Day Rule

The 10/20 Day Rule was established by the State Board of Education, upon the recommendation of the Compliance Commission for Accountability.  The rule (HSP-C-003) states that, effective with the 1999-2000 school year, students may drop a course with an end-of-course (EOC) test within the first 10 days of a block schedule or within the first 20 days of a traditional schedule. The 10/20 Day Rule was established to prohibit the removal of students from EOC courses later during the instructional year to avoid the impression that a school might have deliberately circumvented the requirement to test all students enrolled in EOC courses.  A clarification of the rule was originally distributed August 2000. This memo serves as a reminder of the 10/20 Day Rule and the related information that was previously distributed.

The rule is not intended to preclude doing the right thing for students in individual extenuating circumstances.  Consequently, 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.  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 are:

  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 A student is withdrawn to enroll in a higher level EOC course.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  In such instances, it may be in the student’s best interest to be withdrawn from a course.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.  If the student is withdrawn, sufficient documentation should be kept 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 a school later encounters any problem in meeting the ABCs testing requirements (i.e., 95% 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 and the Department of Public Instruction 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, please contact Lou Fabrizio at 919.807.3770 or Gary Williamson at 919.807.3787.




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