Oregon modified high school diploma
The Oregon modified high school diploma, also known as the OAR 581-022-1134 Modified Diploma, is a document that is given to students who are severely developmentally disabled. It was given following a 2007 Oregon law, and after some misuse was termed "diploma lite" by The Oregonian.
Modified high school diplomas are awarded to students with severe disabilities who cannot pass regular academic classes even with special education accommodations and support. Students who earn modified high school diplomas take nonacademic classes in high school, are not eligible for federal financial aid in college and are not accepted into the military due to their lack of intellectual capacity.
Most special education students are helped through accommodations and support to earn standard (not modified) high school diplomas. The modified high school diplomas are awarded only to the most severely developmentally disabled students.
In 2009, five Portland-area high schools (Marshall, Roosevelt, Madison, Jefferson, and Reynolds high schools) were found to have used a loophole in the modified diploma program where the schools called non-disabled students disabled in order to award them a modified high school diploma, averaging one modified diploma per eight graduates. Schools awarded the modified diploma so they would not have to report a non-disabled student as having failed to graduate.
The parent of the severely developmentally disabled student will be notified if the student is eligible for a modified high school diploma when the student is in the sixth grade. Between the completion of 6th grade and two years before the student's anticipated completion of high school (age 21 for severely developmentally disabled people in Oregon), the parents must choose if they wish to pursue the diploma. After the 8th grade, the student's progress is reviewed annually by their parents and school team.