Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities: Ensuring Meaningful Diplomas for All Students

This policy brief was developed through a partnership with the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota and Achieve to provide guidance to state education policy leaders to help ensure that students with disabilities leave school with meaningful diplomas. The policy brief describes the diverse characteristics of students with disabilities and their high school and post-secondary attainment; explores the policy landscape across states; and provides recommendations to states about how to improve current approaches to high school graduation requirements for students with disabilities so that they graduate with college and career ready knowledge and skills.

Content Comments 

This clearly-written policy brief examines how students with disabilities are incorporated into state graduation requirements with the goal of ensuring these students graduate with meaningful diplomas. The authors point out that 85 to 90 percent can meet the graduation standards as long as they receive specially designed instruction and appropriate access, supports and accommodations, as required by IDEA. The brief provides SEA staff with guiding questions to ask of themselves as they examine their progress on this issue.