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College and Career Readiness for Students With Disabilities, GED Test-takers

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January 6, 2014

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College and Career Readiness for Students With Disabilities, GED Test-takers

While the national dialogue on college and career readiness tends to focus on the needs of the general high school student population, there are other populations who are also impacted by the college and career readiness discussion, including students with disabilities and youth and adults taking the GED test.

States policies and practices must encourage students with disabilities to meet college and career ready standards and attain credentials that signal their preparation for postsecondary education and the workplace, proclaims a new policy brief from the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota and Achieve. According to the report, about 85-90 percent of students with disabilities are able to meet graduation standards targeted to the general student population, provided they receive the support and accommodations required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. However, only 64 percent of students with disabilities who exited high school in the 2010-2011 school year left with a standard diploma.

The publication encourages states to align their standard diploma with college- and career-ready expectations. It also encourages alternatives to exit exams or end-of-course assessments, so that students can meet diploma requirements through different methods, rather than lowering standards for students with disabilities. Finally, the brief raises concerns about alternative diplomas for students with disabilities that may have questionable value in postsecondary education and the workplace and recommends limiting the number of diploma options as well as defining the intention and rigor of alternatives.

In addition, the new computer-based 2014 GED Testing Program features full alignment with the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education,  recommended by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as online career pathways resources and a personalized  roadmap  from preparation through testing and onto college or the workforce. However, several states, troubled by the cost increase and the lack of pen-and-paper testing, are dropping the GED testing in favor of an alternative testing program, according to Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

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