Making the Grade in the Era of Proficiency: Report Cards, Transcripts, and Students with Disabilities

Volume 30, No. 2

Since the enactment of legislation in 2012 requiring the implementation of proficiency-based diplomas, school units have been working hard to identify graduation standards and define levels of proficiency, and to align courses with these standards. Part and parcel to this work have been discussions about how best to report student progress toward these standards, both informally within the classroom and through more formal means such as report cards and high school transcripts.

Although there is still uncertainty about the ultimate fate of the implementation of the proficiency based-diploma, given the bills that were introduced this past legislative session, it appears that schools are still subject to the phased-in timeline for implementing the proficiency-based diploma. Beginning with the class of 2020-2021, students must demonstrate proficiency in the “core four” subjects in order to receive a diploma, with a phase-in for other content areas over the course of the following four years. The statute requires the DOE to develop rules implementing this section of the law. As schools revamp their reporting systems in this proficiency era, there are some important reminders to keep in mind about report cards and transcripts so as not to run afoul of federal disability laws…..To continue reading, visit

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