Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Skills Achievement Commencement Credential (formerly IEP Diploma)?
Some students, due to the nature of their disability, are not able to meet the necessary requirements set by the State of New York to earn a Local/Regents Diploma. As an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed in conjunction with the Committee on Special Education, comprehensive goals and benchmarks are developed and evaluated on a regular basis throughout the school year. Satisfactory completion of the goals and standards, as established in the IEP, can result in that student earning an IEP Diploma and becoming eligible to participate in graduation ceremonies at the end of his/her program. Students obtaining an IEP Diploma often do not take formal NYS and/or Regents examinations, but are rather assessed through the NYS Alternate Assessment process.
At their January 2010 meeting, the Board of Regents supported the development of a credential that would document student achievement of the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) learning standards and acknowledge successful completion of academic and career and technical education (CTE) programs and coursework that is available to all students as a supplement to the regular high school diploma. The Regents also supported a replacement for the IEP diploma for students with disabilities unable to earn a regular diploma. When this was publicly discussed, there was considerable support for the adoption of a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential for students with severe disabilities, but not quite as much support for the provision of a CTE commencement option available only for students with disabilities. Widespread support was expressed for the consideration of multiple pathways to a diploma and specifically, the development of a credential that would document student achievement against the CDOS standards, which would be made available to all students, including those without disabilities.
What is an Extension of the Safety Net for Students with Disabilities?
The Board of Regents, at their October 2012 meeting, approved the emergency adoption of an amendment to section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. These regulations, effective October 31, 2012, provide an additional option for a student with a disability to earn a local diploma through the use of a “compensatory option” if the student:
1. scores between 45-54 on one or more of the five required Regents exams, other than the English language arts (ELA) or mathematics exam*, but scores 65 or higher on one or more of the required Regents exams, in which case the lower score(s) can be compensated by the higher score(s)**; and
2. obtains a passing grade, that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school, for the course in the subject area of the Regents examination in which he or she received a score of 45-54; and
3. has a satisfactory attendance rate, in accordance with the district’s or school’s attendance policy, for the school year during which the student took the examination in which he or she received a score of 45-54, exclusive of excused absences; and
4. is not already using a passing score on one or more Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) to graduate with a local diploma. (A student may not use the compensatory score option if he or she is using a passing score on one or more RCTs to graduate with a local diploma.)
* A score of at least 55 must be earned on both the ELA and mathematics exams.
** A score of 65 or higher on a single examination may not be used to compensate for more than one examination for which a score of 45-54 is earned.
Checklist for Eligibility for the Compensatory Safety Net Option
The student is eligible for the compensatory safety net option if he/she meets ALL of the following requirements.
- The student: is classified as a student with a disability and has an individualized education program; or was declassified in grade eight or later and the committee on special education recommended that the student continue to be eligible to graduate with a local diploma through the safety net options; or as a Section 504 Accommodation Plan and is recommended for the safety net on his/her Section 504 plan.
- The student earned at least a score of 55 on both the English language arts and math Regents examinations that are required for graduation.
- The student earned a score of 65 or higher on one or more required Regents examinations1 to compensate, on a one-to-one basis, for each required Regents examination in which he or she received a score of 45-54.
- The student earned a passing grade, as determined by the school, in the subject area of the required Regents examinations in which he or she received a score of 45-54.
- The student has an attendance rate that was deemed to be satisfactory, based on the district’s or school’s attendance policy, during the school year in which he or she received a score of 45-54 on the required Regents examination.
- The student is relying only on Regents examination scores, and not the Regents Competency Test, to obtain a local diploma.
1 Regents examinations required to earn a regular high school diploma include Comprehensive English; Mathematics; Global History and Geography; Science; and U.S. History and Government.