NCEO Synthesis Reports: Alternative Routes to the Standard Diploma (#54)

Part of the NCEO Synthesis Reports series.
Jane L Krentz, Martha L Thurlow, Vitaliy Shyyan, Dorene L Scott


This year 2005 report investigated alternative routes that states provide for students, with or without disabilities, to get a high school diploma. The report studied 16 states that indicated previously in an NCEO survey that an alternate route was available to students. Of these 16 states, 10 had an alternative route for all students (including students with disabilities) as well as alternative routes just for students with disabilities. Three of the remaining six states had alternative routes for all students only, and three had alternative routes just for students with disabilities. Analysis includes state eligibility criteria, who initiates the alternate route request, who makes decisions, description of process, and the comparability of the alternate route to the standard route. A key finding in the comparability of alternate and standard routes was that 71% of the alternative routes for all students were judged comparable to the standard routes, whereas only 35% of the alternative routes for students with disabilities were judged to be comparable. Authors make several suggestions to states based on the analysis.


March 2005 
Number 54
National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)


  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • Diplomas and Graduation Requirements
    • Students with Disabilities