Lancaster High School

Independent Study » What is Independent Study?

What is Independent Study?

Independent Study is a strategy of educational delivery, not a program.  Legally, Independent Study may be offered in any instructional program as an optional strategy.

Independent Study students may be full-time or may attend only for a short time.  Participation is strictly voluntary and parents and students must sign the Master Agreement that outlines the obligations they agree to fulfill as participants in Independent Study. 

At Lancaster High School there are three types of Independent Study that are available:

Short-Term Independent Study (S.T.I.S.) (from 5-20 school days) is available to students attending the comprehensive campus. Parents of Lancaster High School students needing S.T.I.S. should contact the Lancaster High School attendance office for information.


Full-Time Independent Study students are served at the Lancaster High School Alternative Learning Center (Room 531, 520, 521, 542 office on the Lancaster High School campus).  Applications for Full-Time Independent Study are available in the Counseling office at Lancaster High School. Students in Independent Study are still residents of their home school.  They retain all of the rights of any other student on campus.

When a student is accepted into Full-Time Independent Study, he/she is withdrawn from their home school. As an absolute minimum a student will attend the Alternative Learning Center at least once per week.  During this appointment his/her homework will be reviewed for completeness and accuracy and their mastery of the assignment will be tested.  If the assignment is completed satisfactorily, a new assignment will be given.  It should be noted that if a student fails to show minimal mastery of the assignment content the assignment will be reassigned for the following week.

Student attendance is counted in Independent Study entirely differently than for students on a comprehensive campus.  If an Independent Study student satisfactorily completes a weekly assignment, he/she is credited with full attendance for that entire week.  If, however, a student fails to submit their assignment or if the assignment is incomplete or unsatisfactory, they are marked absent-unexcused for that entire week.  Physical presence at school DOES NOT constitute attendance.  It should be noted that there are NO "excused absences" in Independent Study.

A student in Independent Study is normally assigned work in one subject at a time, not the five or six that are assigned in the traditional program.  Students have demonstrated over the years that they are more successful when they concentrate on one subject at a time.

Each course offered in Independent Study is broken up into assignments.  As a general rule, each assignment is equal to 1/10th of a year-long course.  In high school a year-long course is worth ten credits towards the 230 credits required for graduation.  Therefore, each assignment is worth one credit.  Independent Study students are encouraged to complete two credits per week, so that they can not only keep up with their class but can progress a little in excess of the "normal" rate.  Independent Study participates in the credit retrieval program for six weeks during the summer. Independent Study students as well as students on the Lancaster High School campus who are behind on credits are encouraged to attend.  Summer School applications are usually available in the counseling office in May of each year.

APEX Computer Lab instruction is also available to students in Independent Study.  APEX is a company to which the Antelope Valley Union High School District subscribes that offers "on-line" instruction in a wide variety of subject areas.  Participation in the APEX computer program requires NO computer skills. Participation in the APEX computer lab program allows students to experience a different learning style and can also accelerate the earning of credits toward graduation.