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Delano Joint HSD  |  AR  6146.4  Instruction

Differential Graduation And Competency Standard For Individuals With Exceptional Needs   

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1. Any students who possess current or future Individualized Education Programs shall be considered for differential proficiency standards. This includes, but is not limited to, students in the following service classifications:

a. Communicatively Handicapped (limited to students identified as Severe Oral Language Handicapped).

b. Learning Handicapped (limited to student service in Resource Specialist and Special Day Class program).

c. Physically Handicapped.

d. Severely Handicapped.

2. It is the responsibility of the appropriate Special Education case manager to develop differential standards for students enrolled in programs under their supervision. Other staff members shall be involved in this process. This would include the student's regular classroom teacher(s), the special education teacher(s), the Director of Special Education Services or other representative of the district designated by the site principal or his/her designee, the student's parents, the student when deemed appropriate, and other competent persons who are knowledgeable concerning the special education needs of the student.

3. In making a determination of whether the student's diagnosed learning handicaps or disabilities are "such as would preclude them from attaining the district's regular proficiency standards," the following factors shall be taken into consideration:

a. Examine the student's most recent annual progress review. Given the amount of time before the student's anticipated graduation date and the regular and special education services that the district is able to provide during that period, determine the likelihood that the student will have a reasonable opportunity to meet the district's regular standard.

b. Review student's strengths and weaknesses as related to the district's proficiency test format, content, and directions for administration. The student should be given the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in the district's regular standards.

4. Upon review, if it is determined by the Individualized Education Program planning team that the student has not demonstrated evidence of the ability to attain the district's regular proficiency standards, the team shall develop differential proficiency standards appropriate to the needs and potential of the student. This may include, but is not limited to, the following options:

a. Alternative mode of assessment (this may be determined on initial Individualized Education Program), i.e., oral administration for blind students; large print; eliminate time restrictions, documentation on classroom work.

b. Regular standards with program modifications, i.e., required summer school, additional year(s) of attendance, elimination of electives in favor of remediation.

c. Basic work skill development within a structured vocational and work experience program while completing minimum proficiencies in independent study.

5. Differential performance standards are subject to revision during the annual review of the student's IEP. If differential standards are established, the student and his/her parents are to be informed of the student's right to attempt the district's regular standards without forfeiting the right to meet the differential standards.

6. If a student is removed from Special Education Services to enroll in another program, maintaining the differential standards may be appropriate, provided that the differential standards were written while the student was receiving special education services. Students who have been identified as eligible for differential standards should not be penalized for moving out of special education programs by being required to demonstrate proficiency in the districts regular standards. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) of such a student should shall reflect the fact that the differential standards will be maintained until such time as an IEP team determines that the standards are no longer required.

7. Students shall not be referred for the special education assessment process in order to qualify for differential standards and then be returned to the regular school program.

8. Once an "exceptional" student has met the combination of the district's competency standards and any differential standards prescribed in his/her IEP, he/she shall be eligible for the same diploma as a student who met the district's standards in their entirety.

9. All exceptional students shall receive equivalent credits for classes satisfactorily completed either in the Special Education program or the regular education program. The credits shall be computed in the same manner as credits are computed for students in the regular program and exceptional students shall be required to complete the same number of credits as students in the regular educational program in order to graduate.


approved: April 27, 1993 Delano, California

revised: January 22, 2008