How can I make sure my child is given all opportunities to work toward a diploma?
If a student is able to pass a required class per state guidelines to obtain a diploma — with or without accommodations — they will be eligible for a passing grade. If the student receives modifications in the class, they may pass as long as the modification does not significantly alter what is being taught and what the student is required to produce.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations include a provision — 200.6 (d) — that says the state must “promote, consistent with requirements under the IDEA, the involvement and progress of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in the general education curriculum that is based on the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the student is enrolled.”
The important piece of the ESSA provision is that the student should be allowed to work toward a diploma and go as far as they can go — even if they don’t meet the requirements in the end, they will get a more individualized, standards-based education. Ricki Sabia, J.D., suggests making sure your child isn’t taken off the diploma track prematurely because “you just don’t know what a student is going to be able to accomplish.” She points out that states often give students with IEPs more time to graduate, and graduation requirements evolve over time.
For more information on this topic, check out our article Building a Goal-Oriented Future: Earning a Diploma or a Certificate of Completion.