Northeastern University

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After High School, the Rules Change

After high school, a variety of rules and responsibilities associated with learning disabilities assistance change including, laws and responsibilities, classes, instructors, studying, tests and grades. We hope the information below is a helpful guide to understanding these changes. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Laws and Responsibilities 

High School


Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)

Section 504 and Americans with Disabilities
Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)

Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE)

Accessibility and reasonable accommodations

Covers ages 3-21 or until regular high school diploma requirements are met.

Covers students with disabilities regardless
of age; schools may not discriminate in recruitment admission, or after admission solely on the basis of a disability.

School attendance is mandatory.

Students decide to attend and will probably pay tuition.

Districts are required to identify students with disabilities through free assessments and the IEP process.

Students are responsible for disclosing and providing current documentation of a disability.

Students receive special education and related services to address needs based on an identified disability.

Formal special education services are not available.

Services include individually designed instruction, modifications, and accommodations based on the IEP.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to provide equal access and participation.

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High School


Usually follow a school-directed schedule and proceed from one class to another.

Individual students must manage their own time and schedules.

General education classes dictated by state/district requirements.

Classes based on field of study; requirements may vary.

Class attendance is usually mandatory and monitored carefully.

Attendance policies may vary with each instructor, (HINT: lack of attendance may impact performance.)

Classes generally have no more than 30-35 students.

Classes may have 100 or more students.

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High School


Grade and check completed homework.

May assume homework is completed and students are able to perform on a test.

Often take time to remind students of assignments and test dates.

Expect students to read, save, and refer back to syllabus.

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High School


Study time outside of class may vary, as little as 1-3 hour/week

Generally, need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.

Instructors may review class notes and text material regularly.

Students should review class notes and text material regularly.

Expected to read short assignments that are discussed and re-taught.

Substantial amounts of assigned reading and writing may not be directly addressed in class.

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Tests and Grades

High School


Frequent coverage of small amounts of material.

Usually infrequent (2/3 times per semester).
May be cumulative and cover large amounts of material.

Initial test grades, especially when low, may not have adverse effect on grade.

First tests are often "wake up" calls to let you know what is expected and may account for a
substantial part of your final grade.

Parents and teachers may provide support and guidance in setting priorities.

Students are responsible for setting their own priorities.

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Gugerty, John. News You Can Use, Excerpts from: Opening Doors to Postsecondary Education and Training: Planning for Life After High School. A Handbook for Students, School Counselors, Teachers, & Parents. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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