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ERIC Number: ED504306
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 53
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 67
Revisiting Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Youth with Disabilities: A National Study. Technical Report 49
Johnson, David R.; Thurlow, Martha L.; Stout, Karen E.
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
This paper examines the results of a national study on the current status of state graduation policies and diploma options for youth with disabilities. It examines state policies in relation to their intended benefits as well as possible unintended consequences, and compared the findings with a similar study conducted by Johnson and Thurlow in 2002. The rationale for both studies was based on three assumptions: (1) State and local district graduation requirements for students with and without disabilities continue to evolve, and there is a need to follow these policy trends and examine their impact on youth with disabilities; (2) State and local districts are also evolving a range of differentiated diploma options for students with and without disabilities, and these options need to be examined to assess their potential impact on youth with disabilities; and (3) As state and local districts proceed in implementing these policies and procedures, additional information is critically needed to examine both their intended and unintended consequences for youth with disabilities. The present study seeks to learn the range and variation in state graduation requirements and diploma options across the United States for students with and without disabilities; the intended and unintended consequences that result for students when they are required to pass exit exams to receive a high school diploma; and the intended and unintended consequences of using single or multiple diploma options for students with disabilities. Recommendations produced from this study are as follows: (1) Clarify the assumptions underlying state graduation requirements and diploma options; (2) Ensure students with disabilities an opportunity to learn the materials they will be tested on in state and local assessments; (3) Make high school graduation decisions based on multiple indicators of students' learning and skills; and (4) Clarify the implications of developing and granting alternative diploma options for students with disabilities. It will be important to study the consequences--beyond the perceptions of those setting policies and those working with students--by examining data on the scores of students on high school exit exams, for example, and by following students across time. Continued attention to this important policy area for students with disabilities is essential. (Contains 11 tables.) [This paper is based on a research project entitled, "Intended and Unintended Consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act on Systems, Education and Students with Disabilities" from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.]
National Center on Educational Outcomes. University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS)
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes; Council of Chief State School Officers; National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001