Policy Recommendation: High School Graduation and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

A high school diploma is increasingly essential for success in the 21st century economy. Nearly 90 percent of the fastest-growing, highest-paying jobs require some sort of education beyond high school. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all students with disabilities to have a transition plan that includes effective transition services to promote successful post-school employment or education.

Even so, the graduation rate for students with disabilities remains both unacceptably low and slow to improve. In 2008–2009, just 64 percent of students with learning disabilities left high school with a regular diploma compared to 73.9 percent of students in the general population.

NCLD provides key Policy Recommendations for ensuring that more students graduate from high school with a regular diploma and are prepared for college or career training. Download your FREE copy of NCLD’s Issue Brief: High School Graduation.

Passing a high school exit exam in order to receive a regular high school diploma is now necessary in 26 states, impacting 68 percent of all students. While exit exams can support reform efforts and provide important information about student performance, many risks emerge when the score of a single test is used to make high-stakes decisions about an individual student.

This document provides an overview of how high school exit exams affect students with learning disabilities. Download your FREE copy of NCLD’s Policy Brief: High School Exit Exams and Students with LD.