News Article


Public Feedback on the Alternate Academic Diploma Policy

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has made available to states a diploma option for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed on the alternate assessment. In order to take advantage of this option, the Tennessee Department of Education proposed the adoption of an alternate academic diploma at the October State Board of Education meeting. In order to receive an alternate academic diploma, a student must participate in the alternate assessments; earn the prescribed 22-credit minimum required by the state board; receive special education services or supports and make satisfactory progress on an IEP; have satisfactory records of attendance and conduct; and complete a transition assessment(s) that measures, at a minimum, postsecondary readiness in the areas of postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community involvement. Students who earn an alternate academic diploma within four years plus a summer will be included in graduation rate.


The current high school policy can be viewed on the state board’s website (here). Members of the public may submit written comments and feedback prior to the second and final reading of the proposed diploma adoption by emailing them to and copying To ensure consideration, feedback must be received by Dec. 15, 2017.

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