NCEO Synthesis Reports: Graduation Policies for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who Participate in States' AA-AAS (#97)

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A report analyzing the graduation requirements and diploma options for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in states' alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). The authors found that nearly 70% of states' policies indicated that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the AA-AAS can receive a regular diploma. The criteria for doing so in these states were extremely varied, from those that have the exact same requirements to those that allow the IEP team to set the criteria. In states with policies that indicated that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the AA-AAS could not receive a regular diploma, all but one state indicated that other end-of-school documents (e.g., certificates, special diplomas) were available to these students. The information the authors found and that was provided during the verification process provides important information for the field. Their findings should provide a basis for discussions within states as they consider their policies in light of college and career readiness imperatives.

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