February 17, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Clarification Regarding Memo #296-16 Subject: CTE Credential Requirement

This memo serves as clarification of guidance from the Virginia Department of Education in Superintendent’s Memo #296-16 Subject: CTE Credential Requirement of the Standard Diploma.  In response to a number of requests for clarification related to this requirement specifically as it relates to students with disabilities the Division of Special Education and Student Services has provided the following clarification for special education providers and Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams.

Earning a workforce credential (also known as a CTE Credential) is one requirement for the standard diploma.  The State Board of Education has provided some flexibility regarding earning this important credential.  This flexibility is found in Note 8 of the Standards of Accreditation.

  1. Students shall earn a career and technical education credential approved by the Board of Education, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to satisfy the standard diploma requirements. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.

Exceptions may be granted in rare cases when:

When any one of the above exceptions is deemed appropriate for a student earning a standard diploma, the student will receive competency-based instruction to satisfy the requirements for the credential.

When a career and technical education credential is required it may include an industry certification, or a state licensure test, or a national occupational readiness assessment such as the National Career Readiness Assessment or the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth.  The State Board of Education Approved List can be found on the VDOE website at:

Decision makers must be knowledgeable about the many potential exams in a career area.  For a student with an Individual Education Program (IEP), the IEP Team members, to include the student where appropriate, make decisions regarding courses of study.  The CTE Resource Center’s website at http://www.cteresource.org/verso/This link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website has information on these exams.  Each course has identified assessments that may qualify as a credential.  As an example, Leadership Development (9097) lists the following possible assessments under the Industry Certification tab:

Another example is Economics and Personal Finance (6120), requirement for the standard diploma.

Personal Living and Finances (3120), for those eligible for a credit accommodation may utilize one of the following:

The IEP team must review the student’s IEP and document responses to the following questions.