Special Education

Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma

June 2016

SPECIAL EDUCATION FIELD ADVISORY

From: Patricia J. Geary

Subject: Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma

PDF Version of Advisory  PDF document

At the June 2016 meeting, the New York State Board of Regents approved through emergency action an amendment to section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to require superintendents to make a local determination as to the academic proficiency for eligible students with disabilities to graduate with a local diploma. 

For students with disabilities, otherwise eligible to graduate in June 2016 and thereafter, a school superintendent (or the principal of a registered nonpublic school or charter school, as applicable) has the responsibility to determine if a student with a disability has otherwise met the standards for graduation with a local diploma when such student has not been successful, because of his/her disability, at demonstrating his/her proficiency on the Regents examinations required for graduation. 

Superintendent Determination

All students with disabilities must be held to high expectations and be provided meaningful opportunities to participate and progress in the general education curriculum to prepare them to graduate with a regular high school diploma.  The majority of students with disabilities can meet the State’s learning standards for graduation.  

To be eligible for the Superintendent Determination, students must achieve a minimum score on the English Language Arts (ELA) and math Regents examinations. The superintendent’s determination provides for review of other documentation of proficiency for students with disabilities who, because of their disability, are unable to demonstrate proficiency even with testing accommodations, on one or more of the other three Regents examinations required for graduation.  The conditions of the review are as follows:

Applicability

This option would be open to students with disabilities with a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) only.  It does not apply to students with section 504 accommodation plans or students who have been declassified from special education.

Automatic Review

The superintendent must ensure that every student with a disability who does not meet the graduation standards through the existing appeal and safety net options is considered for the Superintendent Determination.  This determination does not need to be formally requested by the student or parent.

Conditions

  1. The student has a current IEP and is receiving special education programs and/or related services.
  2. The student did not meet the graduation requirements through the low pass (55-64) safety net option or the compensatory option [section 100.5(b)(7)(vi)(c) and (d)(7)].
  3. The student must have earned the required course credits and have passed, in accordance with district policy, all courses required for graduation, including the Regents courses to prepare for the corresponding required Regents exam areas (ELA, math, social studies, and science).
  4. The student must have received a minimum score of 55 on both the Regents ELA and math exams or a successful appeal of a score between 52 and 54.
  5. There must be evidence that the student participated in the other exams required for graduation pursuant to section 100.5(a)(5), but has not passed one or more of these as required for graduation.
  6. In a subject area where the student was not able to demonstrate his/her proficiency of the State’s learning standards through the assessment required for graduation, there must be evidence that the student has otherwise demonstrated graduation level proficiency in the subject area. 

Review and Documentation

The school principal and superintendent must review, document and provide a written certification/assurance that there is evidence that the student has otherwise met the standards for graduation with a local high school diploma.  In conducting a review to ensure the student has met the academic standards, the superintendent must consider evidence that demonstrates that the student:

  1. Passed courses culminating in the exam required for graduation, in accordance with the grading policies of the district.  In making this determination, the superintendent must consider the student’s final course grade as well as student work completed throughout the school year and/or interim grades on homework, projects, class work, quizzes, tests, etc., that demonstrate that the student has met the learning standards for the course; and
  2. Actively participated in the exam required for graduation.

The school principal and superintendent must sign the form prescribed by the Commissioner – “Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma”, which documents the evidence reviewed, certifies that the information is accurate and indicates that the superintendent has determined that the student has either met or has not met the requirements for a local diploma.  Where the superintendent determines that the student has not met requirements for graduation, the notice must inform the student that he/she has the right to attend school until receipt of a local or Regents diploma or until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21, whichever shall occur first.

The student and the parent of the student must receive a copy of this documentation and written notification of the superintendent’s determination whenever the superintendent determines that the student has or has not meet the requirements to earn a local diploma.  A copy of the form must be placed in the student’s record.  In addition, a copy of the form must be submitted to the Department no later than by August 31st. 

The form prescribed by the Commissioner for this purpose can be found at:

Superintendent Determination of Graduation Form PDF document

Audit

The Commissioner will periodically audit the determinations granted by superintendents to ensure that conditions described above are being met.

Allowance of Low Pass Appeal in Addition to Compensatory Option

Under current regulations, students with disabilities who make use of the compensatory option described above are not eligible to also make use of the low pass appeal wherein they are able to appeal scores of 52-54. The amendment removes this prohibition and allows these students to make use of both options in meeting graduation requirements.

Additional Information

For additional information, see attached questions and answers.  Questions regarding this memorandum may be directed to the Office of Special Education at SPECED@nysed.gov Attn:  Superintendent Determination or by calling 518-473-2878.

Attachment-Questions and Answers PDF document   Revised June 20, 2016

A student also has the option to appeal a score of 52-54 on up to two Regents exams pursuant to section 100.5(b)(7)(vi)(c).  While the appeal option exists, it is not required in order for a student to be considered for the Superintendent Determination option.

A student also has the option to appeal the ELA and/or math scores pursuant to section 100.5(d)(7). While the appeal option exists, it is not required in order for a student to be considered for the Superintendent Determination option.

A student with a disability who has not yet earned a diploma may reenroll in school until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21 and graduate through this option, provided the student has a current IEP, is receiving special education programs and services and is participating in the required coursework.   

 

Last Updated: June 21, 2016