Differences Between High School & College

Topic K-12 College/University

What the Law says.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures free and appropriate public education for children with disabilities in the K-12 educational system. The ADA and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act also apply. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protect college students with disabilities from discrimination by providing equal access to programs and services.
Who is this law for? Students whose disabilities impact their ability to do well in school. Any student with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Who is responsible for helping students with disabilities? Parents and teachers identify students needing assistance. Schools pay for needed accommodations and testing Students must self-identify as needing assistance due to a disability. Institutions are responsible for providing equal access.
What type of plan is made for a student who has a disability that impacts their performance? Individual education plans are developed and updated throughout the student’s school years. Reasonable accommodations are determined through documentation and an interactive process between the student and the institution. Accommodations generally remain in place while the student is enrolled unless a change is requested.

 Accommodation Process

Topic K-12 College/University
Who starts the modifications or accommodations? Once a disability is documented, services are provided to the student. The school is ultimately responsible for identifying a student’s educational needs Once accommodations are approved, students are responsible for requesting the accommodations each time they are needed while following established processes.

Students must advocate for themselves and request what they need.

Does a student’s family know about the accommodations? Until the child reaches age of majority, families must be invited to attend the IEP meeting to discuss support for their child. Parents are not notified of services unless the student grants written permission that information may be released.
Are assignments changed? Assignments and tests may be changed as a modification. A student may have different standard of course mastery. Students have the same assignments and take the same exams as their peers. Students are expected to complete them by the established deadline.

 Academic Expectations

Topic K-12 College/University
Can a student make up work and obtain class notes when they miss class Teachers are required to provide students with missed assignments and notes. Generally, course materials are posted in the online learning management system utilized by the institution. If not, students are expected to ask for materials from missed classes from their instructor and notes from their peers. Assignments and exams are allowed to be made up according to the professor’s course policy as established in the syllabus.
Do students have to read the textbook Students are usually assigned short and frequent readings. Most high school teachers will teach and review the reading in class. Students are told what they need to know Generally, students are assigned readings from the textbook. They are expected to read and comprehend it on their own time. Most of the materials are generally covered in the lecture; so, it is important to take good notes from the textbook and during lecture.  Alternate format may be a reasonable accommodation.
What if I don’t understand what my teacher is teaching me Teachers may approach you if they believe you need help, or you “appear” to look confused. Professors expect you to come to them if you need assistance. They usually have office hours each week and students are welcome to stop by for assistance or request an appointment. This information is generally available on the course syllabus.