I put together a quick explanation of CDOS, (Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential), a challenge as the person I spoke to at NYSED provided information that was inconsistent with the information provided by a Special Education teacher in my school district.
The CDOC program is another example of the NYS Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department believing that all students can be fit into the same mold and will meet the same standards because the teachers and the school district should be able to have all students meet the same criteria.
Many years ago, students would earn a local diploma if they passed all the course work, but did not pass all the required regents exams. More recently, students (more specifically, student with an IEP) could earn a local diploma if they passed the required course work, earned at least 22 credits, and could pass a combination of 5 Regents or 5 Regents Competency Tests.
Students entering the 9th grade as of 2011 will no longer have the option of the Regents Competency Tests. They must take Regents exams, earn at least a 55 on them in ELA, Math, US History, Global History and Science. There is a Compensatory Safety Net option, but I have received a few explanations on this option. It has something to do with you can substitute a 45 on some Regents if you get a 65 on ELA and Math.
That puts most of these students in the 11th grade, which means they are probably taking both the 2005 Standards English Regents and the English Common Core Regents per this memo from NYSED.
I believe we are all familiar with the problems with the Common Core aligned testing to date. The sample exam is 42 pages.
I am not able to obtain a sample of the CCSS ELA regents, but the scoring key indicates it is 78 pages long. http://www.nysedregents.org/hsela/
So, students who may not fully comprehend Shakespeare, or be able to plow through a treatise on “The Formation of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project” will now never get a diploma. Passed the coursework? Sorry, not good enough. You are not college and career ready so no more local diploma.
The math regents? It has been reported that students with out IEPs who took the Algebra 1 Common Core regents can pass with a 33. It was reported to be difficult. A contraband copy was posted and I will append if I can find it, but I did find this blog. http://mrburkemath.blogspot.com/2014/06/june-2014-common-core-algebra-1-regents.html
If anything, the math regents should not be intentionally tricky.
So, what does a CDOS mean to the average person? Well, there are a number of unknowns. It is not a diploma, so students who can only earn a CDOS are not counted as a 4 year graduate. They can remain in school until they are 21, to keep trying to pass those pesky Common Core regents. At an average cost of $18,825 in New York State, that puts an additional burden on a school district of $56,475 per student, should a student opt to stay for three years. My unofficial survey indicates that several school districts will end up with about 4% of the student population falling into the CDOS rabbit hole. Class size varies greatly from school to school, so lets say we have a school with a population of 2,000, with 500 students per class. If 4% only qualify for a CDOS, that will add 20 extra students to the population, who could have received a local diploma only a couple of years ago. And, that adds $376,500 for the school budget.
And, where does this student go? Is a CDOS recognized by other states or the federal government as a valid credential? I could not find any reference to a CDOS on the NYS Labor Department site.
Try and find a job without a high school diploma? Would you like fries with that?
Part of the reason for unions and the civil service was to provide living wage jobs and benefits to those who are not strong academically, but want a good job and are willing to work. There is no accommodation for a CDOS in this scenario.
The Board of Regents has put students with disabilities, learning differences, academic challenges, whatever you would like to call it, in a box with no options. The unintended consequences? Higher welfare rolls? More unemployment? Higher school budgets? More High school dropouts?
Maybe, the Board of Regents will finally listen to the people of New York State and fix this before it is too late.