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Appeals, Safety Nets, and Superintendent Determination

Appeals

Eligible students may appeal to graduate with a lower score on a Regents examination. This section includes information related to special appeals, traditional appeals, and appeals resources.

Special Appeals

Any student who meets the following eligibility conditions may appeal to earn a diploma with a lower score on a Regents examination. These conditions are specific to the special appeal.
  • The student must have taken the Regents examination during the June 2022, August 2022, January 2023, June 2023, or August 2023 test administration periods.
  • The student must have a score of 50-64 on the Regents examination that is the subject of the appeal and was taken during one of the above administrations.
  • The student must have a course average in the subject under appeal (as evidenced in the official transcript that records grades achieved by the student in each quarter of the school year) that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school.

Note: This will be a limited rule in effect for exams taken during these specific administration periods only (June/August 2022, January/June/August 2023). Special appeals may be applied towards any diploma type (local, Regents, and Regents with Advanced Designation). Special appeals do not count towards the maximum number of appeals that can be applied to specific diploma types. 

Traditional Appeals

All New York State students are eligible to appeal a lower score on a Regents examination if they meet the following criteria:

  • have taken the Regents examination under appeal at least two times;
  • have at least one score on the Regents examination under appeal within the point range appropriate for the appeal:
All student appeal 60-64
English language learners seeking appeals in ELA only * 55-59
Students with disabilities eligible for the Low Pass Safety Net Option 52-54
  • have taken advantage of academic help provided by the school in the subject tested by the Regents examination under appeal; and
  • have passed the course for which the appeal is being sought.

* In order to be eligible for the Local Diploma via Appeal for English Language Learners, the student must have entered the United States in high school (grade 9 or after) and must still be identified as an English language learner during the 2nd attempt at passing the Regents Exam in English Language Arts.

Resources

Forms

Frequently Asked Questions 

Reference the "appeals" section of the Graduation Requirements FAQ.

Safety Nets

Students with disabilities have three safety net options available to support acquisition of the local diploma.  Safety net options include the Low Pass Safety Net, the Low Pass Safety Net with Appeal, and the Compensatory Safety Net

Low Pass Safety Net

Applicability

The Low Pass Safety Net Option is available to:

  • students with disabilities with a current individualized education program (IEP),
  • students with a Section 504 accommodation plan, if documented on the plan, and
  • students declassified from special education while in grades 8-12, if recommended and documented by the committee on special education (CSE).

Requirements

The Low Pass Safety Net Option allows a student with a disability to meet the testing requirements for a local diploma by achieving a score between 55 and 64 on one or more of the required Regents examinations.

Additional Considerations

  • Non-Regents examinations (e.g., NYSED-Approved Regents Examination Alternative assessments or NYSED-Approved Pathway assessments are not subject to the Low Pass Safety Net Option.
  • A student with a disability who makes use of the Low Pass Safety Net Option may also use the Compensatory Safety Net Option to meet graduation requirements for a local diploma.

Diploma Type

The Low Pass Safety Net Option leads to the local diploma.

Low Pass Safety Net with Appeal

Applicability

The Low Pass Safety Net Option with Appeal is available to:

  • students with disabilities with a current individualized education program (IEP),
  • students with a Section 504 accommodation plan, if documented on the plan, and
  • students declassified from special education while in grades 8-12, if recommended and documented by the committee on special education (CSE).

Eligibility Conditions

To be eligible to appeal a score of 52-54, a student with a disability must meet all other conditions of appeal as follows:

  • have taken the Regents examination under appeal at least two times; 
  • have at least one score on the Regents examination under appeal within the 52-54 score band;
  • present evidence that the student has taken advantage of academic help provided by the school in the subject tested by the Regents examination under appeal; and
  • have a course average in the subject under appeal that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school (as evidenced in the official transcript that records grades achieved by the student).

Additional Considerations

  • The decision to grant or deny an appeal is made at the district level and is not subject to State Education Department approval.
  • Non-Regents examinations are not subject to the appeals process.
  • A student with a disability who makes use of the Low Pass Safety Net Option with Appeal may also use the Compensatory Safety Net Option to meet graduation requirements for a local diploma.

Diploma Type

The Low Pass Safety Net Option with Appeal leads to the local diploma. 

Resources

Compensatory Safety Net

The Compensatory Safety Net Option allows a student with a disability who scores between 45-54 on one or two of the required Regents examinations (except for ELA or mathematics) to compensate the low score with a score of 65 or higher on another required Regents examination to graduate with a local diploma. 

Applicability

The Compensatory Safety Net Option is available to:

  • students with disabilities with a current individualized education program (IEP),
  • students with a Section 504 accommodation plan, if documented on the plan, and
  • students declassified from special education while in grades 8-12, if recommended and documented by the committee on special education (CSE).

Eligibility Conditions

To be eligible for the Compensatory Safety Net Option, a student with a disability must meet all conditions as follows:
  • meet the assessment requirements in ELA and mathematics, typically this is done by obtaining a score of at least 55 (or an approved appeal of 52-54) on both the ELA and Mathematics Regents examinations;
  • obtain a passing grade that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the school for the course in the subject area of the Regents examination in which he or she received a score of 45-54; and
  • have a satisfactory attendance rate, in accordance with the district’s or school’s attendance policy, for the school year during which the student took the examination in which he or she received a score of 45-54, exclusive of excused absences. 

Additional Considerations

  • A score of 65 or higher on a single examination may not be used to compensate for more than one examination for which a score of 45-54 is earned.
  • A student with a disability who makes use of the Compensatory Safety Net Option may also use the Low Pass Appeal Option (i.e., appeal scores of 52-54) to meet graduation requirements for a local diploma.
  • Regents examinations required to earn a local or Regents diploma include English; Mathematics; Science; and Social Studies. Students may also use one additional Regents examination to fulfill the pathway requirement. Additional information can be referenced on the Diploma Types webpage.

Diploma Type

The Compensatory Safety Net Option leads to the local diploma.

Example

Required Regents Exam or Pathway Score
English Language Arts  60
Algebra I 55
Living Environment 70
US History 46
CDOS Commencement Credential earned

Rationale:  This student can use the Compensatory Safety Net Option.  The student earned scores of 55 or above on both English Language Arts and Algebra I (mathematics) Regents exams. The student’s score of 70 in Living Environment compensates for the lower score of 46 in US History.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Reference the "safety nets for students with disabilities" section of the Graduation Requirements FAQ.

Superintendent Determination Option

Superintendent Determination Option for Graduation with a Local Diploma

The Superintendent Determination Option allows a superintendent (or the principal/head of school of a registered nonpublic school or charter school, as applicable) to make a local determination that a student with a disability has otherwise met the standards for graduation with a local high school diploma when such student has not been successful, because of their disability, at demonstrating their proficiency on one or more of the Regents examinations required for graduation. 

Applicability

This option is available to students with disabilities with a current individualized education program (IEP) only. It does not apply to students with section 504 accommodation plans or students who have been declassified from special education.

Written Request

The superintendent may only consider an eligible student for a local diploma through the superintendent determination option upon receipt of a written request from the student's parent or guardian. Such request must be submitted in writing to the student’s school principal or chairperson of the district’s committee on special education (CSE). Schools and districts may utilize the sample form, Parent Request for Superintendent Determination Option for Graduation with a Local Diploma. A written request received by the school principal, chairperson of the CSE, or any other employee of the school, must be forwarded to the school superintendent immediately upon its receipt.

Eligibility Conditions

To be eligible for the Superintendent Determination Option, a student with a disability must meet all conditions as follows:

  1. the parent/guardian submitted a written request that their child be considered for a superintendent determination;
  2. the student has a current IEP and be receiving special education programs and/or related services;
  3. the student did not meet the graduation requirements through the existing appeal options;
  4. the student has earned the required course credits and has passed, in accordance with district policy, all courses required for graduation, including the Regents courses to prepare for the corresponding required Regents examination areas (English language arts (ELA), mathematics, social studies, and science);
  5. the student:
    • earned a minimum score of 55 on the ELA and mathematics Regents examinations*; and/or
    • successfully appealed a score between 52 and 54 on the ELA and mathematics Regents examinations; and/or
    • successfully appealed a score between 52 and 54 on the ELA and mathematics Regents examinations; and/or
    • was unable to achieve a minimum score of 55 or did not initiate an appeal of a score between 52 and 54 on the ELA and/or mathematics Regents examinations, but they completed the requirements for the New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential;
  6. the student has participated in all Regents examinations required for graduation but has not passed one or more of these examinations; and
  7. the student has otherwise demonstrated competency in the subject area(s) where the student was not able to demonstrate their proficiency on the State's learning standards through the Regents examination(s).

*Exemptions from the ELA and/or Mathematics Regents examinations also satisfy this condition. 

Review and Documentation

Upon receipt of a written request from an eligible student’s parent or guardian, the superintendent must, in consultation with the school principal, review, document and provide a written certification/assurance that there is evidence that the student has otherwise met the standards for graduation with a local high school diploma. In conducting a review to ensure the student has met the academic standards, the superintendent must consider evidence that demonstrates that the student:
  • passed the course(s) culminating in the examination(s) required for graduation, in accordance with the grading policies of the district. Such evidence may include student work completed throughout the school year and/or interim grades on homework, projects, class work, quizzes, tests, etc., that demonstrate that the student has met the learning standards for the course; and
  • actively participated in the Regents examination(s) required for graduation.
The superintendent must sign the form prescribed by the Commissioner of Education, Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma (Updated June 2023), which documents the evidence reviewed, certifies that the information is accurate, and indicates that the superintendent has determined that the student has either met or has not met the requirements for a local diploma.
 
The student and the parent of the student must receive written notice of the superintendent’s determination with the copy of the completed superintendent’s determination form and, where the superintendent determines that the student has met the requirements for graduation, the district must provide prior written notice that the student is not eligible to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) after graduation with a local diploma. Where the superintendent determines that the student has not met the requirements for graduation, the written notice shall inform the student and their parent that the student has the right to attend school until receipt of a local or Regents diploma or until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21, whichever shall occur first.
 
A copy of the form must be placed in the student’s record. In addition, a copy of the form must be submitted to the Department no later than August 31.
 
Transition Planning
To ensure appropriate transition planning for the student, the development of transition goals and services must include a discussion with the student’s parents of:
  • the graduation requirements that apply to the student depending upon the year in which he or she first enters grade nine;
  • how the student is progressing toward receipt of a diploma including:
    • the courses the student has passed and the number of credits the student has earned as required for graduation;
    • the examinations required for graduation that the student has taken and passed; and
  • the appeal, safety net, and superintendent determination options that may be available to the student to allow the student to meet the graduation examination requirements.
At the CSE meeting in which transition services will be discussed, the student’s parents must be provided with written information explaining the graduation requirements. Such information must include the eligibility criteria and processes for seeking an appeal to graduate with a lower score on a Regents examination and for requesting that a student be considered for a local diploma through the superintendent determination option. Parents must also be informed that graduation from high school with a local diploma or Regents diploma will terminate their child’s entitlement to FAPE and their eligibility for special education services.
 
Superintendent Determination Resources

Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

Reference the "superintendent determination for eligible students with disabilities" section of the Graduation Requirements FAQ.

For further questions and comments, email emscgradreq@nysed.gov or call (518) 474-5922.