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Services in High School vs. College

High School vs. College Disability Comparison

Laws and Responsibilities

High SchoolCollege
Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- Accessibility and reasonable accommodations
Covers age 3-21 or until regular high school diploma requirements are metCovers students with disabilities regardless of age. Schools may not discriminate in recruitment, admission, or after admission solely on the basis of a disability
School attendance is mandatoryStudents decided to attend and will probably pay tuition
Districts are required to identify students with disabilities through free assessment and the IEP processStudents are responsible for revealing and providing current documentation of a disability- they must be self-advocates
Students receive special education and related services to address their needs based on an identified disabilityFormal special education services are not available
Services include individually designed instruction modifications and accommodations based on the student's IEPReasonable accommodations and modifications may be made to provide equal access and participation
Individual students' needs recorded in the IEP may be addressed by program support for school personnel

No formal program support for school personnel is provided

Progress toward IEP goals is monitored and communicated to the parent(s) and/or the studentStudents are required to monitor their own progress
Schools assist in connecting the student with community support agencies if this is identified as a transition need according to the IEP or 504 planStudents are responsible for making their own connections with community support agencies


High SchoolCollege
Usually follow a school-directed schedule and proceed from one class to anotherIndividual students must manage their own time and schedules
General education classes dictated by state/district requirementsClass based on field of study; requirements may vary
Typically, a school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters. Summer classes may be offered by are not used to accelerate graduation

Academic year is divided into two separate 15 week semesters plus a week for final exams

Class attendance is usually mandatory and monitored carefully

Attendance policies vary with each instructor

Hint: Lack of attendance may impact performance

Classes generally have no more than 30-35 studentsClasses may have 100 students or more
Textbooks are typically provided at little or no expense

Textbooks can be expensive

Hint: An anticipated range for a full-time student is $250-$500 per semester

Guidance is provided for students so they will be aware of graduation requirements

Graduation requirements are complex and vary for different fields of study

Hint: YOU are responsible for monitoring your progress and seeking advice

Modifications that change course outcomes may be offered based on the IEP

Modifications that change course outcomes will not be offered

Hint: Modified high school courses may not be accepted in the admission process


High SchoolCollege
Grade and check completed homeworkMay assume homework is completed and students are able to perform on a test
May remind students of incomplete assignments

May not remind students of incomplete assignments

Hint: It's YOUR responsibility to check with your instructor to see if requirements are being met

May know students' needs and approach students when they need assistanceAre usually open and helpful but expect students to initiate contact when assistance is needed
May be available before, during, and after classMay require students to attend scheduled office hours
Have been trained in teaching methodsHave content knowledge but not necessarily formal teaching methods
Often provide students with information missed during absenceExpect students to get information from classmates when they miss a class
Present material to help students understand what is in the textbook

May not follow the textbook, but lectures enhance the topic area

Hint: You need to connect lectures and textbook

Often write information on the board or overhead to be copied for notes

May lecture non-stop- if they write on the board, it may be to support the lecture, not to summarize it

Hint: Good notes are a must, or a recording device may be used with permission

Teach knowledge and facts, leading students through the thinking processExpect students to think independently and connect seemingly unrelated information
Often take time to remind students of assignments and test datesExpect students to read, save ,and refer back to course syllabus


High SchoolCollege
Frequent coverage of small amounts of material

Usually infrequent (2-3 times a semester). May be cumulative and cover large amounts of material.

Hint: YOU need to organize material to prepare for tests

Some classes may require only papers and/or projects instead of tests

Make-up tests are often availableMake-up tests are seldom an option and may have to be requested
Test dates can be arranged to avoid conflicts with other eventsUsually, scheduled tests are without regard to other demands
Frequently conducts review sessions in class emphasizing important concepts prior to testsFaculty rarely offer review sessions in class; Campus tutoring resources and/or study groups are available- students are responsible for seeking out these resources.


High SchoolCollege
Given for most assigned workMay not be provided for all assigned work
Good homework grades may assist in raising overall grade when test grades are lowerTests and major papers provide the majority of the grade
Extra credit options are often availableGenerally speaking, extra credit options are not used to raise a grade
Initial test grades, especially when low, may not have an adverse effect on course grade. Sometimes exams can be retaken to receive a higher score

All tests are important- retaking a failed exam is seldom an option. 

Graduation requirements may be met with a grade of D or higher

Requirements may not be met only if the student's average meets department standards

Hint: Generally 2.0 or higher