Diploma and/or Credential Options for Students with Disabilities | Policy 7625

The District is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities are provided appropriate opportunities to earn a Regents or Local Diploma or other exiting Commencement Credential in accordance with the Commissioner’s Regulations. To this end, graduation and transition plans shall take into account the various pathways available to these students.

In addition to all graduation options afforded to general education students, including the Regents Diploma and various honors and/or designations, the following diplomas and/or credentials are also available for students with disabilities.

Local Diploma

To earn a Local Diploma, students with disabilities must:

a) Complete the same twenty-two (22) units of credit required for a Regents Diploma; and
b) Achieve a score of 55 or higher on one or more of the five (5) examinations required for a Regents Diploma.

Note: Students with disabilities entering Grade 9 prior to September 2011: A passing grade on a Regents Competency Test (RCT) may be used in lieu of a passing grade on a Regents examination. The school may administer the RCT before or after the corresponding Regents exam, however, the student must take the required Regents exam. The RCT option remains available until the applicable student graduates or turns twenty-one (21) years old.

Local Diploma Compensatory Option (Safety Net)

To earn a Local Diploma using the compensatory option, students with disabilities must:

a) Complete the same twenty-two (22) units of credit required for a Regents Diploma;
b) Achieve a score of at least 55 on both the English (ELA) and Math Regents exams;
c) Achieve a score between 45-54 on one or more of the other required Regents exams (US History and Government, Global History, and a Science), in which case each score of 65 or higher on any other Regents exam may compensate for a single 45-54 required exam;
d) Obtain a passing grade for the course in the subject area of the Regents exam in which he or she received a score of 45-54;
e) Have a satisfactory attendance rate in accordance with the District’s or school’s attendance policy for the school year; and
f) Not already be using a passing score on any RCTs, if such exam is available to the student (entered Grade 9 prior to September 20ll).

Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential

The Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential may be earned by a student with a disability to document his or her preparation for entry-level employment after high school. This credential can be awarded in conjunction with a Regents or Local Diploma, or may be issued by itself.

When awarding the CDOS Commencement Credential using option one, the student shall demonstrate evidence of the following requirements, which shall be verified by the District:

a) The student has a developed, annually reviewed and, as appropriate, revised Career Plan to assure the student is actively engaged in career exploration;
b) The student has demonstrated commencement level knowledge and skills of the CDOS learning standards. To evidence this level of knowledge and skill, a student must demonstrate: career development, integrated learning, and universal foundation skills. In addition a student may also, but is not required to, demonstrate additional career skills by completing a career-specific major;
c) The student has successfully completed at least two (2) units of study (216 hours) in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, including a minimum of 54 hours of documented school supervised work-based learning experiences, which may, but is not required to, be completed in conjunction with the CTE courses; and
d) Within one year prior to a student’s exit from school, at least one Employability Profile must be completed by designated school staff or other individuals knowledgeable about the student’s employment skills and experiences.

A student’s CTE courses and supervised work-based learning experiences must be documented on his or her transcript and the Career Plan and Employability Profile must be placed in a student’s permanent record. The State Education Department (SED) has provided models of the Career Plan and Employability Profile forms as well as charts of work-based learning programs and nationally- recognized work-readiness credentials, located at:

Instead of the above (a-d) requirements, a District may utilize option two by awarding a CDOS Commencement Credential to a student who has completed a nationally-recognized work-readiness program or certification. Districts cannot exclusively offer option two and must still provide opportunities for students to fulfill the CDOS Commencement Credential through option one’s requirements.

Skills and Achievement (SA) Commencement Credential

To issue the Skills and Achievement (SA) Commencement Credential the District must ensure that the student:

a) Meets the definition of a student with a severe disability;
b) Has been recommended by the Committee of Special Education (CSE) to take the New York State Alternative Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe disabilities;
c) Has been given appropriate opportunities to participate in community experiences and development of employment and other instructional activities to prepare the student for post-secondary living, learning and employment; and
d) Has been issued a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance. A model summary form by SED is located at:


Awarding the SA or CDOS Commencement Credentials

The SA and CDOS Commencement Credentials may be issued at any time after such student has attended school for at least twelve (12) years, or at the end of the school year in which the student turns twenty one (21) years old. When a student is under twenty-one (2I) and is issued SA Commencement Credential or the CDOS Commencement Credential without the Regents or Local Diploma, the credential award must be accompanied by a written statement of assurance. This statement must indicate that the student remains eligible to attend the public school within the District, without payment of tuition, until the student has either earned a diploma or until he/she turns twenty-one (21), whichever occurs first.

The CDOS and SA Commencement Credentials must be similar in form to the diplomas issued by the District, except that they shall not use the term “diploma” on them. The SA Commencement Credential must contain a clear annotation that it is based on alternate academic achievement standards. The CDOS Commencement Credential shall indicate that it has been endorsed by the New York State Board of Regents as a certificate of readiness for entry-level employment.

Education Law Sections 3202 and 4402
8 NYCRR Sections 100.1, 100.2, 100.5, 100.6, 200.4 and 200.5

NOTE: Refer also to Policy #7220 — Graduation Requirements

Adopted: 06/23/2014