NCEO Technical Reports: Diploma Options, Graduation Requirements, and Exit Exams for Youth with Disabilities: 2011 National Study (#62)
A report documenting results from the fifth in a series of similar studies on state graduation policies and diploma options conducted by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). The present study was undertaken to update the status of graduation policies across the nation. It follows up on previous work, the last study having been conducted in 2006-2007. Three research questions served as the focus of this national study of high school graduation requirements and diploma options for students with and without disabilities: (1) What is the range and variation in state graduation requirements and diploma options across the United States for students with and without disabilities? (2) What are the intended and unintended consequences that result for students when they are required to pass exit exams to receive a high school diploma? And (3) What are the intended and unintended consequences of using single or multiple diploma options for students with disabilities? Results indicated some changes in graduation requirements and diploma options from the previous survey. Trends found include: (a) state and local graduation policies and assessment practices continue to be modified and revised on a regular basis, (b) graduation requirements are increasing in rigor across states, (c) states are continuing to experiment by making available a range of diploma options for students with and without disabilities, and (d) the participation of students with disabilities in high stakes exit exams is increasing and states are granting additional testing allowances and broader use of accommodations.