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
- Summer Extended School Year Programs for Children with Disabilities
By Marion M. Walsh, Esq. The end of the school year can bring relief for many students and parents, but also uncertainty and trepidation about the summer months. The new school year technically beings on July 1, 2015, although most students will not begin school until September. Many students do regress academically, behaviorally or emotionally […]
- Trusts and Your Heir with Special Needs
Trusts are a common estate planning tool and are used to keep assets out of a probated estate or to reduce an estate tax burden. Trusts can also be used to protect one’s heirs. There are instances when it may not be in a person’s own best interests to inherit funds directly. A direct inheritance […]
- How Much Does It Cost Appoint a Guardian?
By Bernard A. Krooks, Esq. Clients often ask us how much it will cost to get a guardian appointed for a parent or other relative. It is hard to answer with precision, but it is a fair question. Let us see if we can give you some guidance. First, let’s not forget that you should […]
- Special Education Waiver Update: 2015-2016
By Stacy Sadove, Esq. Advocates and parents eagerly awaited the passage of the 2015-2016 New York State Budget. In particular, the budget proposed many changes with regard to education– through the Education, Labor & Family Assistance Bill. The modified budget passed shortly before 3am on April 1, 2015. A proposed special education waiver remained of […]
- Robot Teaches Social Skills to Children with Autism
A robot has been developed to teach children with autism about social interactions, and in some cases it has proven more successful than human therapists. Experts have long known that children with autism can find it difficult to talk with or even look directly at therapists, but they often readily engage with technology. The developers […]