Education: NCEO Releases Report on State-Defined Alternate Diplomas

The National Center on Education Outcomes released a report titled “Status of State-Defined Alternate Diplomas in 2018-19.” State-defined alternate diplomas were established in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 as the only credential other than a regular high school diploma that can be included in calculating graduation rates. State-defined alternate diplomas may only be made available to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAS). The report found that eight states (AR, LA, MS, NV, NH, TN, UT, and WV) currently have alternate diplomas for students with significant cognitive disabilities. It also found that these states are clearly defining the requirements for earning the diploma, but they are not providing informational resources that help educators implement the requirements or that help families decide whether to pursue the option. Among other things, the authors recommend states report on the number of students pursuing the alternate diploma, receiving the alternate diploma, and their post-school outcomes.

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