Undivided: How students with disabilities can get a diploma

What are the new high school graduation requirements for students with disabilities?

Parent Question
Sep. 15, 2022

The new diploma pathway is intended only for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in a state’s alternate assessments (or CAAs) based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS). CAAs are also aligned with Core Content Connectors that follow the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

In sum, a diploma earned under the new pathway must be:

  • Standards-based
  • Aligned with state requirements for the regular high school diploma
  • Obtained within the time period (up to age 22) for which the state ensures the availability of a free appropriate public education

    The proposed state minimum requirements are:

  • Three years of English using the CA Alternate Achievement Standards
  • Two years of math (no algebra required) using the CA Alternate Achievement Standards
  • Three years of social sciences (does not require specific courses)
  • Two years of science using the CA Alternate Achievement Standards (does not require biology or physical science)
  • Two years of physical education (PE)
  • One year of a foreign language or visual and performing arts or CTE

    This diploma option will give students with significant cognitive disabilities the opportunity to earn a diploma that shows they have completed a rigorous standards-based program of study, and potentially provides them access to post-secondary education and employment opportunities that previously may have been denied to them. For more information, check out our article New Pathways to a Diploma for Students with Disabilities.


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