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Modified Diploma and Extended Diploma

During the 2007 Legislative session HB 2848 Modified Diploma bill was passed. The bill created statewide high school graduation or diploma options for students who demonstrate a clearly defined inability to achieve a standard diploma (Oregon High School Diploma). Students receiving special education services would have the option to be awarded the Oregon High School DiplomaModified Diploma, Extended Diploma, or Alternative Certificate upon completion of public education curriculum.

A comparison of the four options can be found at Oregon Diploma Options.  For more information on the modified diploma rule, access Modified Diploma: The Details.

Update (as of April 22, 2014): Recent information from the US Department of Education has clarified federal financial aid eligibility requirements, and Oregon students who receive a Modified or Extended Diplomas are now eligible to apply for federal financial aid. In addition, students may also be eligible to apply to some branches of the military.  A student must receive a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, and a high school diploma is the basic qualification awarded to students who graduate from a state/private school after completing formal instruction. Based on this information, the Oregon Department of Education has determined that the Modified and Extended Diploma meet this definition (OAR 581-022-1130; ORS 329.451). Conferment of a Modified Diploma or an Extended Diploma does not guarantee admittance to a post-secondary institution, but does allow a student to be eligible for federal financial aid or may allow for some branches of military service.

The announcement, which effectively reverses a 2012 change in federal financial aid law, came after federal officials clarified it is up to states to determine what is considered a diploma, and after Oregon officials provided evidence that modified diplomas require a completed course of study aligned with the state’s academic standards.

The following information was received as a handout through Representative Sara Gelser, Chair of the House Education Committee, on March 2, 2010 at the FACT Family Center presentation, “Understanding Diploma Options and Their Implications for Families.”

Oregon Modified Diploma

Eligibility: Students must have a demonstrated inability to meet grade level expectations, even with appropriate adaptations. The eligibility for the modified diploma can be considered no earlier than grade 6 and no later than grade 10.

Exception: A student who encounters significant learning barriers following an illness or injury after grade 10 may be eligible for a modified diploma.

Course Requirements for Oregon Modified Diploma

English/Language Arts: 3 credits
Mathematics: 2 credits
Science: 2 credits
Social Sciences: 2 credits
Physical Education: 1 credit
Health: 1 credit
Second language/arts/career and tech ed: 1 credit
Electives: 12 credits
Total Credits: 24
Coursework may be significantly modified to meet the needs of the student. When this occurs, the credit shall be transcripted as modified credit.

Other information about the Modified Diploma:

  • These credit requirements apply to students who entered grade 9 on or after July 1, 2007.
  • If a student is on an IEP, she retains the right to special education services through the age of 21, even if she completes a modified diploma.
  • A student eligible for a modified diploma may not be denied the opportunity and appropriate supports to pursue a modified or standard diploma.
  • A student and her team may change the determination to pursue a modified diploma at any time.
  • Signed parental consent must be obtained before awarding a Modified Diploma.  Consent must be given in the year the diploma is granted.
  • Every high school in the state must offer needed courses to students pursuing a Modified Diploma.  This includes having appropriate accommodations for students with instructional barriers in mainstream math, English, science, social science, health, and arts and second language courses in EVERY high school.
  • Students receiving Modified Diploma must be allowed to walk with their peers in the general district commencement ceremony.

Oregon Extended Diploma

Eligibility: A student must be consistently unable to keep up with grade level expectations as a result of instructional barriers or a medical condition that creates a barrier. In addition, the student must have participated in an alternate assessment beginning by the 6th grade, and lasting for 2 or more assessment cycles.

Exception: If a previously ineligible student experiences an injury or illness that changes the student’s ability to meet grade level expectations even with appropriate adaptations and supports and the student requires alternate assessments, eligibility may be considered.

Course Requirements for Oregon Extended Diploma
While in grade nine through completion of high school, complete 12 credits, which may not include more than six credits earned in a self-contained special education classroom and shall include:

Mathematics: 2 credits
English: 2 credits
Science: 2 credits
Social Sciences (history, geography, economics or civics): 3 credits
Health: 1 credit
Arts or second language: 2 credits
Electives: 12 credits
Total Credits: 12 credits
Coursework may be significantly modified to meet the needs of the student. When this occurs, the credit shall be transcripted as modified credit.
Other information about the Extended Diploma:

  • If a student is on an IEP, she retains the right to special education services through the age of 21, even if she completes an extended diploma
  • The law does NOT require a student to leave high school upon the completion of 12 credits. The 12 credits are a minimum—NOT a maximum.
  • A student eligible for an extended diploma may not be denied the opportunity and appropriate supports to pursue a modified or standard diploma.
  • A student and her team may change the determination to pursue an extended diploma at any time.
  • Signed parental consent must be obtained before awarding an Extended Diploma. Consent must be obtained in the year the diploma will be granted.
  • Every high school in the state must offer needed courses to students pursing an Extended Diploma. This includes having appropriate accommodations for students with developmental disabilities in mainstream math, English, science, social science, health, and arts and second language courses at EVERY high school.
  • No more than 6 courses can be taken in a self contained classroom for credit towards the Extended Diploma.
  • Students receiving an Extended Diploma must be allowed to walk with their peers in the general district commencement ceremony.

Family and Community Together (FACT) is a family leadership organization for individuals and their families experiencing disability, working collaboratively to facilitate positive change in policies, systems and attitudes, through family support, advocacy and partnerships.