College and High School Differences for Students with Disabilities

High School


Your parents and teachers have much responsibility for your success. You have a right to a high school education and a diploma. The law under which this is done is the IDEA.

Who Initiates Accommodations

Teachers or other school staff identify you as needing accommodations.


Your parents are responsible for making sure the school is accommodating you appropriately.

Parents may access any information the school has about your disability and the services provided you.


Your disability will be discussed with your parents, teachers, and members of your IEP or 504 plan. It may also be discussed with the person who diagnoses your disability and specifies accommodations.

Feedback on your Academic Progress

Teachers give you frequent feedback.

Teachers check your completed homework.

Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance.

Teachers take time to remind you of assignments and due dates.

Teachers remind you of your incomplete work.


Guiding principle: you are told in class what you need to learn from assigned readings.

You spend 30 hours a week in class, and may only spend as little as 0 to 2 hours outside of class studying.

You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often re-taught, in class.

Tests and Grades

Testing is frequent and covers small amount of material.

Makeup tests are often available.

Mastery is seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught.

Standards for grading may be changed, or credit may be given for effort.

High School

Higher Education


You are responsible for your own success or failure. You have an equal opportunity to achieve a college degree. The laws under which this is done are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA.

Who Initiates Accommodations

You, the student, must identify yourself and present documents to justify specific accommodations.


Your parents are no longer responsible for making sure you are being accommodated. This is now your responsibility both to initiate and to make the appropriate office aware if you are not being accommodated.

Parents must have your permission to obtain any information about your services.


Your disability information is covered by FERPA, the student right to privacy act. It may not be discussed even with your parents without your written permission. Your disability and appropriate accommodations will only be disclosed to your teachers if you give permission.

Feedback on your Academic Process

You must ask the instructor for feedback.

Professors may not always check your homework, but they will assume you can perform the same tasks on tests.

Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need help.

Professors expect you to use the syllabus and know due dates.

Professors may not remind you of incomplete work.


Guiding principle: It's up to you to read and understand the assigned material; the lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you have done so.

You spend 12 to 16 hours a week in class, but you need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour you are in class.

You are assigned a substantial amount of reading and writing which may not be directly discussed in class.

Tests and Grades

Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material, which you have to organize.

Read the syllabus. If makeup tests are available, you need to negotiate them.

Mastery is seen as the ability to apply what you learned to new situations and solve new problems.

Grading standards will not be changed, and credit is not usually given for effort.

Higher Education

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access,, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).