Education officials in New York are considering replacing the IEP diploma with one that more specifically outlines a student’s capabilities.

Currently IEP diplomas are awarded to special education students who reach the age of 21 or complete 12 years of school, but have not achieved the academic requirements of a regular diploma. Instead, these students have completed an academic plan specially tailored for them and outlined in their individualized education plan or IEP.

But a New York state report issued earlier this year found that too many special education students are on paths to receive IEP diplomas, oftentimes early in their school lives. This decision can be detrimental because students on track for an IEP diploma cannot opt to take high school classes for credit that would apply toward a regular diploma.

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Further, officials say the odds of getting an IEP diploma versus a traditional one vary greatly depending on the part of the state where a student lives.

Many students who are put on the path for an IEP diploma and their parents do not understand how their diploma will be different from a typical diploma. But it can severely limit an individual’s ability to continue onto higher education or employment.

Now, the state’s Board of Regents is considering replacing the IEP diploma with a new model that would give students increased flexibility by more clearly spelling out a graduate’s capabilities and allowing them to pursue further education or jobs that match their skills, reports the (Albany) Legislative Gazette. To read more click here.