March 6, 2010
Q. Is it true that 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
- 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
Personal Curriculum Parent and Educator Guide. The chart on page
9 provides a succinct summary of the requirements and
modifications for each class.
Webpage for graduation requirements:
Revised Personal Curriculum Documents, May 2009: