Just a few days before graduation time, the Board of Regents approved new rules to allow certain students with disabilities to meet the academic requirements to earn a local diploma without passing every Regents exam that is otherwise required for graduation.
The new option is available only to students with disabilities who have a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) and are receiving special education services. Under the new rules, eligible students will still have to take all five Regents exams and pass the English and math exams (with a score of 55 or a successful appeal of a score of 52–54). If they don't pass the other three required Regents exams — in science, social studies and an optional subject — students can still get a diploma if the superintendent determines they have met the state's learning standards for graduation.
Superintendents will consider the student's final course grades as well as other student work completed throughout the school year.
SED estimated the change could help up to 2,000 students statewide to graduate this year.
The union strongly supports multiple pathways to graduation for all students. The state's Common Core Task Force, which reviewed the state's testing system, recommended that the state provide more flexibility for assessing students with disabilities.