The legislation authorizing independent study was enacted in 1976, and originally was designed to serve child actors, aspiring Olympic athletes, and other students whose schedules precluded regular classroom attendance. Over the years, independent study has evolved to serve a wide range of students and meet the unique needs of students and families.
Independent study (California Education Code [EC] sections 51745–51749.6) is provided as an alternative instructional strategy, not an alternative curriculum. Independent study students work independently, according to a written agreement and under the general supervision of a credentialed teacher or teachers. While independent study students follow the district-adopted curriculum and meet the district graduation requirements, independent study offers flexibility to meet individual student needs, interests, and styles of learning.