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Graduation Ceremony

Graduating High School

To get a high school diploma, your child must: meet all school district requirements and pass the grade 10 MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) and one high school Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests. The MCAS is given at different grade levels to measure your child's progress in school. Subjects include Math, English, and Science.

Students have 3 options when taking the MCAS: take the standard MCAS, take the MCAS with accommodations or take the MCAS Alternative Assessment (MCAS-Alt) - a collection of the student's work (i.e. a portfolio) that shows their academic knowledge and skills.

If the student is not able to meet the state requirements, by passing the grade 10 MCAS or submitting a portfolio, the student is eligible for a Certificate of Attainment, showing they have met the local requirements for graduating high school. Students who are on track to receive a Certificate should receive services until the student turns 22.

Chapter 688 Referral

Chapter 688 Referral is a referral placed by your child's school to an adult agency that your child's IEP team thinks will be able to meet your child's needs once they graduate from high school or turn 22. The referral is NOT an application. The family is still responsible for completing and submitting an application to the recommended agency. A Chapter 688 Referral is NOT required in order to apply to an adult agency. Talk with your child's developmental behavioral pediatrician to determine which agency may be appropriate for your child.


The school team must submit the referral at least 2 years before the child graduates from high school or turns 22​. Youth who have an IEP who, due to their disability, require adult services after they graduate from high school, should have a Chapter 688 Referral placed by their school team.

The school can submit a Chapter 688 Referral to one of the following adult agencies:

  • Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)

  • Department of Mental Health (DMH)

  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)

  • Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)

  • Department of Children and Families (DCF)

Transition Assessments

transition assessment is an evaluation of a student's needs, preferences, and interests associated with current and future working, educational, living, personal and social environments. The evaluation guides the transition process and determines goals and services to be included in the IEP.

IDEA 2004 requires students to receive an age-appropriate transition assessment related to education, employment, and independent living. 

Types of Transition Assessments

  1. Adaptive behavioral assessments (ex. Adaptive Behavior Evaluation Scale (ABES), school or home version; Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS))

  2. Career interest assessment (ex. Career Wonders Interest Survey, RIASEC Test)

  3. Aptitude tests

  4. Intelligence tests

  5. Achievement tests

  6. Career maturity or readiness tests

  7. Self-determination assessments (ex. ARC Self-Determination Scale)

  8. Independent living readiness assessment

Talk to your child's school to determine what types of assessments will be best for your child. 

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