Although an estimated 85 to 90 percent of students with disabilities can, with the proper instruction, supports, and accommodations, meet the same graduation standards as all other students, the national graduation rate for students with disabilities has risen from 56.9 percent in 2006 only to 66.3 percent in 2014. In addition to these low graduation rates, questions persist as to whether students with disabilities are being given access to a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for college and career. States do a disservice to students with disabilities when they are not given the opportunity to earn a regular diploma with adequate supports or when they are held to lower expectations.
This new report from Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) report analyzes the diplomas available to students with disabilities in each state for the graduating class of 2015. The report also compares the course and assessment requirements for earning a regular diploma in each state for students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities. Achieve and NCEO’s analysis suggests that expecting less of students with disabilities, through a less rigorous diploma offering, does them a disservice because they leave school thinking that they are ready for college or career when they are likely not prepared.