Accommodations in High School vs College

The objective of accommodations at the post-secondary level is to provide “access.”  This may differ from the approach experienced in K-12 education, which may focus more on “success.”

The Colorado School of Mines follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the ADAAA (2008).  Once enrolled in college, students move from the protection of Public Law 94-142 to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The following highlights the differences:

High School Applicable Laws

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.)
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act

College Applicable Laws

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act

High School Required Documentation

  • I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan)
  • 504 Plan
  • School conducts evaluations at prescribed intervals.
  • School provides evaluation at no cost to the student.

College Required Documentation

  • Student is responsible for obtaining and submitting documentation.
  • For the accommodation review process, documentation should describe the student’s disability, current functioning, and limitations.
  • I.E.P. and 504 plans are helpful, but additional documentation may be needed.
  • Any evaluation expenses incurred are the responsibility of the student.

High School Student Role

  • Student is identified and supported by parents/teachers.
  • School is primarily responsible for accommodations.

College Student Role

  • Student must self-identify to Disability Support Services.
  • Students requesting accommodations must follow Disability Support Services policies and procedures.

High School Parental Role

  • Parents can access student records and participate in the accommodation process.
  • Parents advocate for student.

College Parental Role

  • The student is responsible for requesting and arranging their own accommodations, not the parent.
  • Students advocate for themselves, with support from Disability Support Services as needed.

High School Teachers

  • Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignments.
  • Teachers use a multi-sensory approach.
  • Teachers arrange regular conferences with student and parents to report and discuss student’s progress demonstrated through frequent quizzes, midterms, finals, and graded assignments.
  • Teachers take and report attendance.

College Professors

  • Professors do not modify the fundamental nature of a program.
  • Professors tend to rely on lecture and may or may not use a multisensory approach.
  • Grades are generally based on fewer tests and assignments, and students must independently monitor their learning in the course.
  • Students are responsible for requesting and arranging individual conferences with their professors.
  • The student is responsible for adhering to course policies around attendance.

High School Grades

  • Grades may be modified based on curriculum.

College Grades

  • Grades reflect the quality of work submitted.