Differences Between High School and College Accommodations

High School College
Applicable Laws
IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
IDEA ensures success; students are entitled to services ADA ensures equal access; protects from discrimination
Required Documentation
IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and/or 504 Plan Documentation guidelines specify the information needed for each category (IEP/504 Plan alone is insufficient)
The school provides evaluation at no cost to the student Students must obtain evaluation at their own expense
School retests over time Additional accommodations and/or a change in the impact of the disability may warrant additional documentation
The student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers Students must self-identify to the Support Services department
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and requesting accommodations belongs to the student
Teachers approach the student if they believe assistance is needed Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect students to initiate contact if assistance is needed
Parental Role
Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodations process The parent does not have access to student records without the student’s written consent
Parent advocates for student Student advocates for self
Disability Service Provider Role
The school seeks out students and reminds/creates/coordinates additional resources as needed Support Services determines eligibility for reasonable accommodations under the ADA and Section 504 upon request from the student
Primary responsibility for accommodations belongs to the school Support Services does not duplicate resources found elsewhere on campus; refers students to resources as students identify potential need
Teachers may modify the curriculum and/or alter the curriculum pace of assignments Instructors are not required to modify the design or alter assignment deadlines
Teachers prompt students about grades assignments, and due dates Students must monitor their own progress and manage their time
The student is expected to complete assignments that are then discussed and often re-taught in class The student is responsible for substantial amounts of homework which may not be directly addressed in class
Attendance is legally mandated Attendance is the student’s responsibility; the student accepts the consequences of non-attendance
Test and Grades
IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are not available; accommodations on HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when supported by disability documentation
Teachers often take time to remind students of assignments and due dates Instructors expect students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus, which spells out exactly what is expected when things are due, and how the student will be graded