UIL is issuing guidance related to the passage of SB 1697, which allows parents and guardians to elect for a student to repeat a grade, and its impact on UIL rules.
SB 1697 includes the following:
Sec. 28.02124. PARENTAL OPTION FOR STUDENT RETENTION.
(h) Except as provided by this section or other law, retention of a student pursuant to a parent's or guardian's election under this section shall be considered the same as retention of a student by a school district or open-enrollment charter school.
As such, students repeating a grade or course under the provisions of this bill must be treated the same as students who are retained by the school, for the purposes of UIL eligibility. SB 1697 DOES impact UIL eligibility rules for students in the seventh and eighth grades. It does NOT impact any UIL eligibility rules for high school students.
2021-2022 Seventh and Eighth Grade Students:
For the 2021-2022 school year only, a student in the seventh or eighth grade who repeats the grade under the provisions of this bill is treated in the same manner as a student who is retained by the school. The prohibition on repeating one of these grades for athletic reasons, as listed in Section 1478(b)(7) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, would NOT apply for the 2021-2022 school year to a student repeating seventh or eighth grade in accordance with a parent or guardian’s decision under the provisions of SB 1697.
Section 411(a) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, relating to eligibility for the first six weeks of the school year, still applies to students repeating seventh or eighth grade under these provisions:
Section 411: CREDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ELIGIBILITY DURING FIRST SIX WEEKS
The standards below determine academic eligibility for the first six weeks of the school year. Student in non-compliance may request a hardship appeal of their academic eligibility through the UIL.
(a) Grades Nine and Below. Students must have been promoted from the previous grade. (Refer to Official Interpretation 01-09-18 Appendix I).
Thus, any student repeating the seventh or eighth grade under the provisions of SB 1697 would NOT be eligible for UIL activities for the first six weeks of the 2021-2022 school year.
High School Students:
Students in ninth grade and above in the 2021-2022 school year repeating a course or grade under the provisions of SB 1697 are still subject to UIL eligibility rules. The age rule, four-year rule, and requirements for academic eligibility for the first six weeks of the school year are unchanged by SB 1697. All of these rules can be found in Subchapter M of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules. ALL OF THESE RULE STILL APPLY.