For High School Staff

The chart below summarizes the main differences between disability services and accommodations in K-12 institutions and higher-education institutions. Please feel free to use this information as you advise students of the transition they will need to make from high school coming into college.

High School College
IDEA provides opportunities to succeed. ADA and Sections 504 and 508 provide access to school.
Education is a right and must be accessible to you. Education is not a right. Students must apply and be qualified to do college level work.
Core modifications of classes by the school required. No modifications are allowed, only accommodations.
School must identify disability. Student must self-identify to Disability Services.
Documentation is IEP. The school provides evaluation at no cost to student. Student provides documentation that meets school’s standards. If evaluation is necessary, it’s at the student’s expense.
School develops the IEP. Student identifies needs and asks for services. No IEP or 504 Plan exist at the college level.
Student is assisted by parents and teachers. Student must seek assistance from Disability Support Services.
School arranges accommodations. Student self-advocates and must arrange for accommodations.
Parents have access to student records. Parents have no access to student records or information without the student’s consent.
Parents advocate for student. Student must self-advocate.
Grades may reflect effort, attendance or modified curriculum. No modified curriculum.
Teachers remind students of assignments and due dates. Instructors expect students to read the course syllabus. They typically do not remind students of upcoming events.

Recommendations for Secondary School Personnel

These recommendations are based on a report titled “The Documentation Disconnect for Students with Learning Disabilities: Improving Access to Postsecondary Disability Services” issued by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. While the main focus of this report is on students with LD, the list below is helpful for any type of disability for which a student has received accommodations within the K-12 system. It is recommended that you:

  1. Recognize that postsecondary service providers need information that addresses the following key legal questions:
    • Does the student have a disability as defined by Section 504 and ADA?
    • Does the disability result in functional limitations to one of the major life activities (such as seeing, hearing, learning, etc.)?
    • What accommodations should be provided to effectively address these functional limitations in the postsecondary context?
  2. Inform the students and family that the purposes and requirements for documentation differ from secondary to postsecondary education.
  3. Inform students and parents that reevaluations and updated standardized assessments are not required under IDEA as part of the transition services.
  4. Develop a list of community resources where students and families could seek help from in obtaining documentation for the student’s disability and whether a sliding scale is available that can be provided to families.
  5. Provide information in the student’s K-12 documentation that describes how the disability affects the student’s learning and life in general. How does the disability functionally limit the student’s performance?
  6. Collect and organize documentation data in an ongoing manner as part of the transition process to make the Summary of Performance more effective and the process less burdensome.
  7. Provide a comprehensive overview of the student’s functional performance. Collect the most recent formal and informal measures to describe the student’s abilities.
  8. Inform the student and family that it is their responsibility to maintain documentation records, which may not be available after graduation.
  9. Include a history of the use and effectiveness of accommodations in the comprehensive overview.
  10. Include clear recommendations in the documentation and explain the rationale for the accommodation requests in transition documents, because postsecondary service providers indicate the importance of these variables in their decision-making process.
  11. Document any course substitutions or modifications, grades, and teacher reports, as well as the rationale for changes. Describe the student’s difficulties and the interventions that occurred.
  12. earn more about the laws regulating postsecondary institutions and communicate with postsecondary service providers to discuss practices that will meet mutual needs at both levels to facilitate student success.
  13. Advise students and parents to contact prospective postsecondary institutions early in their selection process to determine what documentation is required.

Contact Support Services

Telephone: 269-965-4150