Diplomas and Credentials Available to Students with Disabilities and Their Impact on Opportunity Eligibility
White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) February 19, 2013 - Several different diplomas and credentials are awarded to students with disabilities who complete high school in New York State. Students and their parents need to be aware of the differences between these diplomas and credentials and of the ways they can affect a student’s ability to pursue higher learning (and other) opportunities.
In New York State, the standard high school diploma is called a Regents Diploma. This is the only diploma available to students without disabilities and is earned by most students with disabilities as well. Students must complete the required high school credits and pass five required Regents exams with a score of 65 or higher. A Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation is awarded to students who score 65 or higher on eight or nine Regents exams. Many competitive colleges and universities desire Advanced Designations from applicants.
To minimize the impact of high-stakes testing on students with disabilities, New York State requires districts to offer a local diploma to students with an individualized education program or section 504 Accommodation Plan under the so-called “Safety Net” provisions. Students may earn a local diploma if they score 55 or higher on the five required Regents exams. Even a grade of 45 on one or two Regents exams (other than English or math) can qualify a student for a local diploma if the student scores 65 or higher on other Regents exams under the so-called “compensatory option”. Students still need to earn all the typical credits required to graduate.
Although the Regents diploma is preferred by college admissions departments, community colleges and some other institutions accept students with local diplomas. The local diploma is also accepted by the armed forces, by trade unions and for all similar opportunities for which a high school diploma is required.
Even with the Safety Net options, some students will not be capable of earning a local diploma. In these cases, two other types of credentials are available for students with disabilities. These credentials are not high school diplomas, and they therefore do not create eligibility for traditional higher education degree programs. However, alternative programs, such as Think College, do offer opportunities for students who are not eligible for degree programs to participate in campus and academic life.
Career Development & Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential:
Some students with disabilities may receive a Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. This credential signifies substantial high-school-level career and technical education and was designed as a supplement to a Regents or local diploma. However, students with disabilities who complete its specialized requirements without achieving the required scores on Regents exams may earn a CDOS even without meeting requirements for a diploma.
Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC):
Students with severe disabilities who attend school for 12 years or more and who are assessed using the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSSA) graduate with the Skills and Achievement Commencement (SACC) credential. The SACC indicates the student's functional level of achievement academically and in terms of occupational and career development.
Many students with disabilities are able to perform well academically in high school and advance their educations at a college or university. The path a student takes depends on his or her individual circumstances and awareness of the available options.
—Marion Walsh, Esq. and Sandi Rosenbaum
Was this article of interest to you? If so, please LIKE our Facebook Page by clicking here.
New York Contact:
Maria M. Brill
Littman Krooks LLP
New York City Office
655 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone
399 Knollwood Road
White Plains, New York 10603
(914) 684-2100 Phone
300 Westage Business Center Drive, Suite 400
Fishkill, NY 12524
(845) 896-1106 Phone
View Larger Map
- Helping Those with Mental Illness: Kendra’s Law and Involuntary Commitment
By Giulia Frasca, Esq. Mental Illness Awareness Week begins this week. Mental illness can have devastating consequences. For example, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental health conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, […]
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) includes siblings for job-protected Leave
Siblings are included in the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in some circumstances. The FMLA, enacted in 1993, provides for eligible workers to take unpaid leave for up to 12 workweeks per year because of their own serious health condition or to care for their spouse, parent or child with a […]
- Five Tips on Being a Successful Advocate for Your Child in College
By Marion M. Walsh, Esq. This September, many parents have dropped their children off for the first time at college and are adjusting to a new type of parenting and advocacy. For all parents, particularly parents of students with disabilities, the transition brings great pride, but also a significant amount of concern and worry. By taking […]
- Can I Qualify for Medicare if I have a Disability?
Medicare is well-known for providing health insurance for people age 65 and older. However, Medicare can also provide health coverage for younger people with disabilities, so if you have a disability, it is important to know how you may qualify for Medicare. The first step is to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security […]
- Celebrate and Applaud ADA This Week
By Marion Walsh, Esq. This week, we celebrate and applaud the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In our firm, we work each in every day to help individuals with disabilities achieve meaningful benefits and live a fulfilling life. The ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 guarantee civil rights protections to […]