Can my child use modifications and still earn a diploma?

Parent Question
Feb. 2, 2022Updated Mar. 15, 2022

According to IDEA 300.160, a state should “not preclude a student with the most significant cognitive disabilities who takes an alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards from attempting to complete the requirements for a regular high school diploma.” Being in a general education class in and of itself doesn’t constitute being on a diploma track. Just like any other student who accesses a diploma, students have to be able to show mastery of the coursework to the level that’s required. However, if a student has not been able to meet the standards for a course that is required for graduation, attorney Grace Clark says there is a workaround. “Students, along with their school, can petition for a waiver under California Education Code section 56101. For example, it could look like this: A student who had been on a modified math curriculum and was not able to pass Algebra I, despite support and remediation from their school, still receives a high school diploma after obtaining a waiver for Algebra I.” She explains that while this strategy depends on each individual student, it can be used to help students who receive modifications obtain diplomas. Clark adds that when considering whether a child should pursue a diploma, it’s essential to weigh “the likelihood that the child can meet all the standards necessary to graduate with the benefits of working at a pace that is appropriate for them, among same-aged peers.” What is best for your child will depend on their strengths, needs, and individual goals.

For more about this topic, check out our article Accommodations and Modifications in the Classroom.

Tags:

Join the Undivided Community to get more resources like this in your inbox


Promise Image
Each piece of content has been rigorously researched, edited, and vetted to bring you the latest and most up-to-date information. Learn more about our content and research process here.
A Navigator is your Partner at each turn
Every Undivided Navigator has years of experience supporting families raising kids with disabilities or parenting their own. Partner with an Undivided Navigator for a free Kickstart to learn first hand what support feels like!
tick-icon
Identify near-term goals and priorities
tick-icon
Develop a vision for your child and family
tick-icon
Map out strategies to execute near- and long-term goals
“It’s so helpful to have one place that you can go to get many answers.”–Leeza Woodbury, with Navigator Kelly since 2020
*Currently offering Navigator Kickstarts to residents of California