A diploma, whether it is for high school, medical school, or barber college, is a certification from the school that issued it. That diploma states that the school is certifying that the person thereupon named has met the standards for that diploma. Or have they?
Nowadays, that isn’t what a diploma means. It was decided years ago, with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that it was unfair and discriminatory to treat students with intellectual disabilities (what used to be referred to as retarded) the same as other students. So this law was passed to make things more equitable. (Not equal, which is the same standard, but equitable, meaning that they have the same outcome.)
In order to make students with disabilities more likely to have the same outcome, they are granted accommodations. These accommodations can vary. It can mean that they are granted extra time, or are allowed to test in a private room with no one watching them, or that they are even give multiple choice tests with one or more of the wrong choices eliminated. Furthermore, the law goes on to say that there can be no mention of the accommodations on the student’s transcript, diploma, or other certifications. Don’t want them having the stigma of people thinking they had it easier than other students, you see.
As a result, not every student is being evaluated by the same standard. This means that a diploma is no longer a certification, as there is no guarantee that two students who have received that diploma were measured against the same yardstick. Remember that next time you are having your hair cut or being treated by a healthcare professional.
There was a student in my nursing class who received the accommodation of testing in a private room, and was also allowed to have her cell phone in the room with her. She graduated with a 94% test average, the highest in the class. I wonder why. No one on staff could challenge her on it, or she would scream about IDEA and racial discrimination.
The same happened when I was a teacher. All a student needed was a letter from a physician, saying that a student had a learning disability, and the student got all kinds of accommodations. There were some families who had 4 or 5 kids, all with extensive accommodations. It’s the newest way to get your kid that high GPA they’ve always wanted.
It doesn’t just extend to the classroom. Even licensing exams are given with accommodations. The implications are obvious. Your doctor or nurse might be wholly unable to provide you with competent care, but at least we didn’t hurt their feelings by making them seem inadequate.
This also makes licensure and the certification that goes with it wholly worthless.