Q. Is it true that Michigan High School students with IEPs "must" pass Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry in order to earn a "regular diploma"?
A. No. Michigan students with IEPs can earn a diploma that includes modifications made to the Michigan Merit Curriculum, including modifications to all "core" content classes. The IEP must specify a “Personal Curriculum.”
The Personal Curriculum can be used in the following situations:
- To go beyond the academic credit requirements by adding more math, science, English language arts, or world languages credits.
- To modify the mathematics requirement.
- To modify, if necessary, the credit requirements of a student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
- To modify credit requirements for a student who transfers from out of state or from a nonpublic school and is unable to meet the MMC requirements.
A parent, legal guardian, emancipated student, or school personnel may request a PC at any time.
The state statute includes restrictions on when the mathematics and social studies requirements may be implemented as described in the “Allowable Modifications” section.
There are no modifications to credit requirements allowed in the following areas
(exceptions may apply for students with an IEP or transfer students):
- English language arts
- World languages
- Online learning experience
Modification restrictions are intended to protect the futures of students by ensuring that the personal curriculum option is not used as a convenient escape door for schools to shy away from providing access to the MMC for students who are more difficult to reach and teach.
Potential Adverse Effects of Using a Personal Curriculum: Parents and students should understand the possible consequences for modifications of the MMC credit requirements or high school content expectations. Personal curriculum modifications that reduce the number of content expectations mastered by the student, may affect the student’s:
- Performance on the Michigan Merit Exam (MME)
- Admission to college
- Eligibility for college scholarships
- Access to Michigan Promise scholarship money
- Admission to a trade school
- Ability to secure a job in the career of choice
- Eligibility for NCAA athletic programs
Modifications that erect barriers to student success may impact the district’s ability to:
- Achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
- Meet improvement targets informed by the Continuous Improvement and Monitoring System (CIMS), the State Performance Plan (SPP), and the Annual Performance Report (APR).
It is up to the local school district to determine whether a diploma will be awarded to a student with a personal curriculum.
See the following publications from the Michigan Department of Education:
Personal Curriculum Parent and Educator Guide. The chart on page 9 provides a succinct summary of the requirements and modifications for each class. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/PC_Guide_Final_5_12_09_277958_7.pdf
Mich. H.S. Grad. Requirements: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-38924---,00.html
Revised Personal Curriculum Documents, May 2009: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_30334_49879---,00.html