ERIC Number: ED486235
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar
Alternative Routes to the Standard Diploma. Synthesis Report 54
Krentz, Jane; Thurlow, Martha; Shyyan, Vitaliy; Scott, Dorene
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
Mandatory exit exams are in place, or will soon be, in 27 states. Students must pass them as one condition for receiving a standard diploma. Because the standard diploma is considered a property right, states must carefully consider the opportunities that students have to pass graduation exams. Federal legislation has resulted in increased emphasis on the participation of all students in statewide assessments, including those with disabilities. Attention also is being paid to the use of accommodations during exit exams, and the extent to which these exams are designed to be accessible to the greatest possible number of students. There have been several court cases in which states were challenged about the extent to which they allowed appropriate accommodations. While universally designed and accessible tests and appropriate accommodations are important to ensure that exit exams give students the opportunities needed to earn a standard diploma, they alone may not be adequate. As a result, a number of states provide alternative routes that students can take to earn a standard diploma. The purpose of this study was to investigate the alternative routes used by states for all students (including students with disabilities) and those that are allowed only for students with disabilities. Perhaps of most interest was the analysis of the comparability of the alternative routes and the standard routes to the diploma. Although this study used only broad criteria for its analysis, it is nevertheless noteworthy that 71% of the alternative routes for all students were judged comparable to the standard routes, whereas only 35% of the alternative routes for students with disabilities were judged to be comparable. This tendency of many states to identify non-comparable routes for students with disabilities leads to questions about the assumptions and beliefs that underlie the alternative routes. Sections in this report include: (1) Overview; (2) Method; (3) Alternative Route States and Eligibility to Participate; (4) Eligible Student Groups; (5) Initiating the Alternative Route to a Standard Diploma; (6) Alternative Route Decision Making; (7) Nature of Alternative Routes to a Standard Diploma; (8)Comparability of Alternative Routes and Standard Routes; and (9) Discussion. Appended are: State Profiles; Web Sites of States with Alternative Routes; and Comparison of Sources on Alternative Routes.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Exit Examinations, Graduation Requirements, Academic Accommodations (Disabilities), State Standards, Testing Accommodations, Testing Programs, Nontraditional Education, Disabilities
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-624-8561; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site: http://nceo.info.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC.; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Washington, DC.