Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities

Applicable Laws

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and ADAAA (Amendments Act) of 2008)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
I.D.E.A. is about SUCCESS A.D.A. is about ACCESS

Required Documentation

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE

I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan and/or 504 Plan)

High School I.E.P. and 504 plans are not always sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify information needed for each category of disability.

School provides evaluation at no cost to student.

Student must get evaluation at their own expense.

Documentation focuses on determining whether student is eligible for services based on specific disability categories in I.D.E.A.

Current documentation must provide information on specific nature of condition or disability and functional limitations, and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations.

Self-Advocacy

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers. Student must self-identify to the Office of Disability Services.
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school. Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student.
Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance. Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance.

Parental Role

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process. Parent does not have access to student records without student's written consent.
Parent advocates for the student. Student advocates for self.

Instruction

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignments. Professors are not required to modify curriculum design or alter assignment deadlines.
Students are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often re-taught, in class. Students are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class.
Students seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough. Students need to review class notes and text material regularly.

Grades and Tests

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE

I.E.P or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading.

Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. How tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are appropriate academic adjustments when supported by disability documentation.

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.

Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.

Makeup tests are often available.

Makeup tests are rarely an option, without permision from the professor.

Teachers often take the time to remind you of assignments and due dates.

Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded.

Study Responsibilities

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an I.E.P. or 504 plan. Tutoring DOES NOT fall under Disability Services and is not considered an academic adjustment or accommodation. Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources as they are available to all students.
Student's time and assignments are structured by others. Students manage their own time and complete assignments independently.
Students may study outside of class as little as zero to two hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. Students need to study at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour in class.

Adapted from AHEAD guidelines 2010