Special Education

New York State (NYS) Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential - Questions and Answers

NYS CDOS Commencement Credential - Questions and Answers
November 2013 (Updated February 2014) - PDF PDF Document (335 KB)


A. Eligibility

  1. Can a student with a disability receive the CDOS Commencement Credential if he/she continues in high school beyond four years?
  2. If a student is expected to be able to graduate with a Regents diploma, must that student participate in the requirements for the CDOS Commencement Credential?
  3. Can a student be awarded the CDOS Commencement Credential if he/she has met all of the criteria for the CDOS Commencement Credential; attended school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten; has not yet earned a diploma; and is not planning to return to school the next year?
  4. If a student turns 21 in August, would he/she be eligible to stay in school for another year?  
  5. May a student who earns the CDOS Commencement Credential as his/her only exiting credential participate in the high school graduation ceremony and “walk across the stage?”  May a student who doesn’t earn either a regular diploma or the credential participate in the graduation ceremony?

 B. Instruction

CDOS Learning Standards

  1. Are the CDOS Learning Standards aligned with the NYS Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)?
  2. If the student does not meet all standards (1, 2 and 3a) at the commencement level, is he/she eligible for an award of the CDOS Commencement Credential? 

Opportunities to Earn a Diploma

  1. What are appropriate opportunities to earn a Regents/local diploma? 
  2. Is seat time in general education classes a way to provide opportunities to earn a regular high school diploma and access to participate and progress in the general education curriculum if the student is not able to pass the curriculum?
  3. Are modified curriculum classes for students with disabilities considered access to participate and progress in general education?
  4. Does a student with a disability have to participate in Regents examinations, including those participating in expanded delivery of coursework over two - three years?
  5. When is a decision made to have a student stop working toward a diploma and concentrate on earning this credential?
  6. If a student with a disability has completed transition planning, the CTE coursework and work-based learning requirements to earn a CDOS Commencement Credential, and remains in or returns to school, must districts provide programming other than access to the general education curriculum for students who have not yet earned a Regents diploma?
  7. How will students have time to work toward both the CDOS Commencement Credential and a regular high school diploma?
  8. The regulations indicate that a school district that awards the credential to more than 20 percent of students with disabilities in the cohort, where the credential is not a supplement to a regular diploma, may be subject to redirection of a portion of their IDEA funds.  What portion of these funds will be reallocated?  How is the 20 percent ceiling being calculated?

Work-Based Learning

  1. If the student achieves the required 216 equivalent hours through coursework, can the individual “opt out” of the 54 hours of work-based learning?
  2. How can schools get approval of their work-based learning programs?
  3. Could a student with a disability use part-time/full-time employment outside of school to count toward the work-based learning requirement?  If so, could school supervision be a collection of documented evidence of hours completed per work supervisor (time card/anecdotal meeting with employer)?
  4. What are the duties of a job coach?
  5. Are teaching assistants qualified to accompany and/or monitor students during community work-based experiences, or will they need to be a job coach?
  6. Can a teacher aide serve as a job coach?
  7. Can a district contract with a community agency to provide job coaching services?
  8. Will teachers providing work-based learning experiences need to have a specific certification such as a work-based learning extension?
  9. Can a district arrange for students with disabilities to participate in work-based learning experiences provided by a community organization?  If so, can that experience be counted toward the work-based learning requirement for the CDOS Commencement Credential? (added 2/14)
  10. If a school district enters into a contract or formalized agreement with a community agency to provide work-based learning experiences as a transition service, who would be responsible for funding the activity? (added 2/14)
  11. Is there any funding mechanism in the System to Track and Account for Children (STAC) to reimburse districts and/or community agencies for specific transition services provided by a community agency? (added 2/14)


  1. Does the requirement for completion of CTE coursework and/or work-based learning experiences mean that the student will have to be enrolled in separate specific courses, or can the hours be completed through integration in other courses or settings?
  2. Could school district general education courses that integrate CDOS learning standards (e.g., English language arts (ELA) where an activity is creating a resume) count toward 2 units of study in CTE coursework?
  3. If a student is enrolled in a course(s) that would provide him or her with 216 hours of work-based learning, but the student is absent several times, does the student need to make up lost hours in order to meet the requirement for award of the credential?
  4. If a school district develops a locally approved CTE course, what must the coursework/curriculum include?
  5. Do schools or agencies need to get approval of their CTE courses in order to award the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential?
  6. If a two unit CTE course(s) for the CDOS credential is a board (locally) approved program, who can teach the course?

C. Career Plan

  1. When should the student begin a Career Plan?
  2. How often should the Career Plan be completed or reviewed during a student’s high school career? 

D. Employability Profile

  1. What documentation should districts collect to substantiate the information on a student’s employability profile? 
  2. Will the employability profile for the CDOS Commencement Credential serve as the Student Exit Summary?

E. Documentation

  1. Must a district maintain an ongoing record of the student’s skills in relation to the CDOS learning standards or only the final employability profile and/or career plan?
  2. Districts are required to maintain a copy of the career plan that was in effect during the school year that the student exits high school in the student’s permanent record.  How can the final career plan be maintained in the student’s record for those using CareerZone as a career planning tool?
  3. What documentation should be included in the transcript of the student earning the CDOS Commencement Credential?

F. National Credentials

  1. Can a district offer coursework and training to prepare a student to earn one of the National Work Readiness Credentials?
  2. If a district offers course(s) to prepare a student for the assessment for one of the National Work Readiness Credentials, would that be considered work-based learning?
  3. Must students participate in work-based learning experiences if they are earning the credential through successful completion of one of the National Work Readiness Credentials?

G. Students Exiting Before July 2015 and Transfer Students

  1. For students exiting prior to July 2015, the decision about whether or not to award the CDOS credential is up to the principal with input from relevant faculty.  What kind of evidence is required to demonstrate that the student has achieved each of the commencement level CDOS learning standards?

  2. How does a principal determine whether or not a student who transfers from another school district meets the requirements of the CDOS Commencement Credential?
Last Updated: February 12, 2014