November 09, 2011

State Ed seeks comment on elimination of IEP diplomas

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

The State Education Department (SED) has issued proposed regulatory language for public comment that would phase-out the Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma for all students with disabilities and establish a new credential only available to students with severe disabilities participating in the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA). Termed the "Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential," this credential would document a student's academic and functional skills achievement.

IEP diplomas would no longer be issued after June 2013, and according to the proposed regulatory language, this policy would be implemented through two phases:

  1. The first phase would establish the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential for NYSAA students.
  2. The second phase would defer development of a credential, intended to be available for all other students, that documents attainment of the career development and occupational studies standards until the Regents decide whether they will change high school graduation requirements.

You are encouraged to provide comment to SED regarding this policy issue affecting students with disabilities. The following bullet points may be helpful in developing your comments. If possible, support your comments with specific examples on how these changes will negatively impact students in your school district and/or BOCES.

  • The proposed phase-in of this policy unnecessarily limits opportunities for those students with disabilities who are unable to obtain a Regents or local diploma.
  • IEP diplomas should not be eliminated until both phases of SED’s proposed policy implementation are complete.
  • While we recognize that the current IEP diploma limits post-secondary opportunities for students and that a more meaningful credential for students with disabilities who are unable to obtain a Regents or local diploma is necessary, the elimination of an IEP diploma for all students, but provide an alternative credential for only certain students with disabilities, is not fair to students.
  • Students with disabilities who are not eligible for the NYSAA must participate in the state testing program that assesses all other students. If a student with a disability is unable to succeed on the state tests, a "safety net" allows these students to obtain a local diploma with a 55-64 score on the Regents examinations. However, for those students who were unable to obtain a 55 score, the opportunity to use a Regents Competency Test (RCT) has been eliminated as a safety net provision. This will result in more students with disabilities who are unable to obtain a local diploma and will also not have an opportunity to receive an IEP diploma or alternative credential.
  • If implemented as proposed, there will be some students with disabilities who could have received an IEP diploma but will now leave school with no credential, not even the proposed Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.

The formal comment period on this proposal will end on November 21st. See the following link for more information on the proposal and how to submit your comment:
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/comment/alternatecredential-announce.htm