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Changes to High School Diplomas for Students with Disabilities Coming in 2013

February 1st, 2012

The Individualized Education Program diploma will be eliminated next school year, and many families are concerned about how this change could affect their teen’s future. The latest data shows that 5,566 students received IEP diplomas, and make up 2.9 percent of all high school graduates. In the past, the IEP diploma was given to students with disabilities who finished their individualized education program, but did not meet all the requirements to receive a high school diploma. The New York Board of Regents plans to give a new “Skills and Achievement Commencement Credentials” to students who graduate from their IEP programs.

The Regents committee asserts that the previous diploma was misleading as the students with disabilities did not complete the same state exams as other highschoolers. One of four different documents could be given to graduates who complete some high school courses but do not achieve all the academic requirements. State officials say that these changes will recognize individual capacities better.

Student advocates are not in favor of the new “Skills and Achievement Commencement Credentials”. They are worried that this change will lower the progress being made to raise student achievement. This could also potentially affect how students with disabilities are being assessed during job applications and interviews, college placement, and other opportunities.

Concerned individuals should meet with a special education advocate to understand how these changes could affect your child. They can review that your child’s special education needs are being met and that services are enabling them to be as independent as possible.

To learn more about New York special needs planning or New York special education advocacy, visit or

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This article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. If you need legal advice concerning this or any other topic please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at 914-684-2100 or 212-490-2020.