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Program Monitoring - Disproportionality

 

Significant Disproportionality

The State must have in effect, consistent with the purposes of 34 CFR Part 300 and with section 618(d) of the Act, policies and procedures designed to prevent the inappropriate over identification or disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of children as children with disabilities, including children with disabilities with a particular impairment described in 34 CFR 300.8 of the IDEA regulations. [34 CFR 300.173]  [20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(24)]

Each State that receives assistance under Part B of the Act, and the Secretary of the Interior, must provide for the collection and examination of data to determine if significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the State and the local educational agencies (LEAs)  of the State with respect to:

[34 CFR 300.646(a)]  [20 U.S.C. 1418(d)(1)]

In the case of a determination of significant disproportionality with respect to the identification of children as children with disabilities, or the placement in particular educational settings of these children, in accordance with §300.646(a) of the IDEA regulations, the State or the Secretary of the Interior must:

Missouri's definition of significant disproportionality (selection criteria):

AREA

DATA EXAMINED

CRITERIA

Identification

All special education

  • 3 consecutive yrs of risk ratio > 3.5
  • cell size of at least 30 for both the racial/ethnic/disability group being examined and the comparison group

Identification in Specific Disability Categories

6 disability categories (Autism, ED, LD, MR, OHI, Speech/Language)

  • Same as above

Placement

placements (inside regular 40-79%, inside regular < 40%, separate school placements)

  • Same as above

Discipline

(Criteria for significant disproportionality for discipline by race)

Ratio of discipline rates for students with disabilities to the discipline rates for nondisabled students by each racial/ethnic category.

Across districts with more than 5 discipline incidents, a mean and standard deviation of the ratios is calculated for each racial/ethnic category.  If a district has a ratio greater than the mean plus one standard deviation for three years in a row, they would be considered to have significant disproportionality for that racial/ethnic category.   

 

Significant Disproportionality Review Process Timeline:

SUGGESTED DATE OF ACTION

ACTION

February 1-March 15

  • Request significant disproportionality data analysis from Data Coordination Director by specified Compliance staff member
  • Data Coordination staff collect and analyze data by obtaining data from MOSIS and apply the State’s significant disproportionality criteria (as described above)
  • List of potential districts as having significant disproportionality are identified (not officially identified until district has verified data)
  • Disproportionality workgroup examine the data, criteria analysis, and review the districts potentially identified as having significant disproportionality.  Workgroup consists of specific Division of Special Education (DSE) staff from Compliance, Data, Effective Practices sections, and the Coordinator of Services.  A list of potential districts is identified.
  • Identification letter sent to districts to notify of potential significant disproportionality status and request district verification of data submitted by a specified date (approximately 3 weeks from this DSE notification letter) 

March 15-30

DESE reviews data verification information received from districts.  It is assumed the data submitted is correct for any district that does not respond to the DSE's request for verification. 

March 30-April 15

Based upon data verification results, specified Compliance staff member confirms initial identification list with Data Coordination Director.  This Compliance staff member sends letter to identified districts confirming identification of significant disproportionality, informing of the 15% requirement to reserve funds for Early Identification Services, and informing of the required review of practices, policies, and procedures. The review process is explained in detail within this letter.

April 15-May 31 The district is required to complete a District Self-Assessment using the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems’ (NCCRESt) Equity in Special Education Placement tools (Form A and B) available at http://www.nccrest.org/publications/tools/assessment.html.  The required District Self-Assessment tool must be returned to Heidi Atkins Lieberman, Assistant Commissioner, P. O. Box 480, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102 no later than May 31st.
September 15-December 15 Schedule on-site reviews of districts' policies, procedures, and practices. Independent contractor will be selected to conduct these reviews.
December 15-January 15 DESE review of final reports issued by independent contractor.
January 15-January 30 Final reports issued to districts.

 

Significant Disproportionality Review Process:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contracts the significant disproportionality reviews to be conducted with a specific vendor. This vendor is responsible for coordinating the district reviews of policies, practices, and procedures that impact eligibility determinations and placement decisions. The vendor also serves as the contact point for districts undergoing review.

The district review process for significant disproportionality consists of the following steps: 

Step 1.  The district is required to complete a District Self-Assessment using the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems’ (NCCRESt) Equity in Special Education Placement tools (Form A and B) available at http://www.nccrest.org/publications/tools/assessment.html.  The required District Self-Assessment tool must be returned to Heidi Atkins Lieberman, Assistant Commissioner, P. O. Box 480, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102 by [date].

Step 2.  Through a contract with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a specified contractor conducts the on-site review of the policies, procedures, and practices in your district that impact eligibility determinations and placement decisions.  The contractor uses the District Self-Assessment tools, along with other methodologies (focus groups, interviews) to complete the review of each district’s policies, procedures, and/or practices. 

Step 3.  The contractor will use all informational sources, including the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems’ (NCCRESt) Equity Rubric http://www.nccrest.org/publications/tools.html to develop a final report for your district.  The “District Findings and Report” will summarize the group’s findings and recommendations regarding any policy, practice, or procedure that your district has in place that might be contributing to inappropriate identification and or inappropriate placement of students in racial or ethnic groups in special education.  District reports will be completed and submitted to Division of Special Education by the independent contractor.

Step 4.  DSE, Compliance Section staff will review each “District Findings and Report” and determine compliance with IDEA.  The State Education Agency will have the final decision making regarding the district’s compliance and will order corrective action plans when necessary. An additional condition of any issued Corrective Action Plan or Improvement Plan is a requirement to districts to send in documentation of any revisions made to existing policies, procedures, and practices and provide evidence of how the district has publicly reported these revisions. 

 

Step 5.  Districts identified as having significant disproportionality of racial and ethnic students in special education due to inappropriate identification are required to use fifteen percent (15%) of their total IDEA funds to address their respective disproportionality issues through early intervening services as allowed under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004.   

Step 6.  Targeted technical assistance will be available to districts who are required to have corrective action plans through the Regional Professional Development Center Special Education Consultants. 

Districts identified as having significant disproportionality may not take advantage of the allowable 50% reduction of Maintenance of Effort. For more information about adjustments, see § 300.205.

 

Disproportionate Representation

 

Disproportionate Representation Process Timelines:

SUGGESTED DATE OF ACTION

ACTION

February 1

  • District Identification for disproportionate representation
  • Initial identification and notification to verify data letter sent by February 28 

March 1-15

DESE reviews data verification information

March 15

Based upon data verification results, DESE confirms initial identification--send letter to disproportionate representation districts

October 1

Letter explaining file review process sent to first year districts identified as having disproportionate representation or significant disproportionality

October 12- December 31

File reviews of districts (IMACS or send in hard copy of file)

(complete by December 31)

January 15

Finalize reports, forward to Director, Compliance for approval

February 1

------------------------

February 1

Final reports to districts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

New identification process begins again

 

Missouri's definition of Disproportionate Representation (selection criteria):

As a function of special education monitoring, states are to identify school districts with data showing “disproportionate representation” in the area of identification and then monitor those school districts focusing on that area to ensure eligibility determinations for special education are proper.  States determine the criteria to identify districts as having disproportionate representation.

The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) requires each state to analyze data for all disabilities and for each of the following specific disability categories individually:  learning disabilities, autism, speech/language, emotional disturbance, mental retardation, and other health impairments.  This data is analyzed across all racial/ethnic categories for both under representation and overrepresentation of students receiving special education and related services.

Beginning in 2007-2008, the method used to identify districts with disproportionate representation employs a risk ratio.  The risk ratio, when applied to a disability category, answers the question, “What is a specific racial/ethnic group’s risk of receiving special education and related services for a particular disability as compared to the risk for all other students?”

Based upon data for the seven categories listed above, districts are identified as having disproportionate representation if a risk ratio of at least 2.5 or greater (overrepresentation) or less than .25 (under representation) is obtained for two consecutive years

Districts are requested to review and verify submitted data submitted to the Division of Special Education (DSE) to ensure it is correct.  Should you have additional questions regarding the data that was used to identify your district, please contact the Data Coordination Section at 573-751-7848.

Disproportionate Representation Review Process:

Beginning with districts that were identified during the 2006-2007 school year and reviewed during the 2007-2008 school year, the first year a district is identified as having disproportionate representation, the district is subject to a full review similar to a basic compliance file review to determine whether the district’s disproportionate representation is or is not the result of inappropriate identification.  If the district was identified in the previous year as having disproportionate representation and participated in this file process review to determine if eligibility determinations for special education were proper and the findings of this review revealed no inappropriate identification, the district will not be required to participate in another review the following year.  If the district is identified the year following a fifth consecutive year or any lapse occurs regarding identification within this five year period, the district is again subject to the full review process.

If a district is not required to participate in an additional file review during the current year, the district is encouraged to consider the following resources.  Technical assistance from your Regional Professional Development Center Improvement Special Education Consultant is available to aid in developing strategies to increase instructional effectiveness for all students.  A self assessment tool from the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) that allows schools to conduct a self-assessment of their programs and practices in five domains: (a) School Governance, Organization, Policy and Climate, (b) Family Involvement, (c) Curriculum, (d) Organization of Learning, and (e) Special Education Referral Process and Programs is available at http://www.nccrest.org/publications/tools/assessment.html.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has made available numerous resources to improve instructional effectiveness through the use of tiered intervention models that may be accessed at http://www.dese.mo.gov/3tieredmodels/.  While accessing these resources is not a requirement, districts identified as having disproportionate representation are encouraged to use these resources for the purpose of enhancing instructional effectiveness in order to increase student achievement thereby assisting the district in discontinuing its follow-up status.

Review Process Steps:

The review process for your district will consist of the following steps:

Step 1. The following questions, concerning policies, practices, and procedures relating to referral, evaluation, and identification for special education should be sent to the attention of Rick Lewis at Rick.Lewis@dese.mo.gov or mailed to Rick Lewis, Supervisor, Compliance, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Special Education, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

  1. Describe changes that have been made to the district's policies, practices, or procedures to address the disproportionate identification of minority students with disabilities?
     
  2. Describe the process for review and analysis of district data related to disproportionate representation.  Describe the finding of this data analysis and how this information is shared with district staff.

  3. Check the types of academic and behavioral models that are used with students prior to referral for special education. Then describe any current and plans for future efforts regarding these models or list other interventions.

          ______PBS
          ______RtI
          ______Reading First
          ______Other

  4. List all recent and any future related professional development opportunities for staff related to the prevention of inappropriate referral and identification of special education students. 

 

Step 2.  The district will select the following types of student files for submission of specific documentation to the DSE for review:

Step 3.  Specific information to be submitted from the selected student files includes all information related to the student’s referral, evaluation and identification but not the student’s IEP.  This includes all referral information (including provision of Procedural Safeguards), review of existing data, Notice of Action/Consent for initial evaluation, meeting notifications for the eligibility staffing, and the evaluation report.  If you are sending documentation for a transfer student who was not initially evaluated by your district, you will need to send the evaluation report used to establish eligibility in your district, documentation of your district’s review and acceptance/rejection of the previous district’s evaluation report, and, if your district conducted its own evaluation to determine eligibility, send documentation of the review of existing data and meeting notification for the eligibility staffing.  In addition, for all students selected, please complete and submit the Demographic Information Cover Sheet that is given immediately following these steps.

Step 4.  Selected student file documentation should be faxed to the attention of Rick Lewis at 573-526-5946 or mailed to Rick Lewis, Supervisor, Compliance, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Special Education, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

Step 5.  The student information submitted will be reviewed by a supervisor in the DSE Compliance Section.  A comparison of compliance findings from that review related to identification of [identified racial/ethnic group] students as compared to races other than the identified group will be used to determine if the district’s over identification is the result of inappropriate identification. Additionally, any non-compliance identified for either group, not specifically related to inappropriate identification of [identified racial/ethnic group] students, will also be noted.  In either case, if non-compliance is identified, a corrective action plan will be required. 

Step 6.  Targeted technical assistance will be available through the Regional Professional Development Center Compliance Consultants to districts that are required to have corrective action plans. 

 

Demographic Information Cover Sheet

 

Missouri Division of Special Education

Disproportionality Review

Current School Year

This form must be completed for each student file.

District Name:___________________________County/District Code:________

 

Student Information

MOSIS:_________________________________________

First Name:________________________ Last Name:___________________________

DOB:__________________________Age:________________________________

Race

___ Asian

___ Black

___ Hispanic

___ Indian

___ White

Disability Category

___  Autism

___  Deaf/Blind

___  Emotional Disturbance

___  Hearing Impairment/Deafness

___  Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disability

___  Multiple Disabilities

___  Orthopedic Impairment

___  Other Health Impairments

___  Specific Learning Disability

___  Speech and/or Language Impairment

___  Sound System Disorder

___  Speech/Fluency

___  Speech/Voice

___  Traumatic Brain Injury

___  Vision Impairment/Blindness

___  Young Child with Developmental Delay

Transfer

Is this student a transfer?   ___  Yes    ___  No                  

If yes, what type of transfer?  ___ In State Transfer      ___ Out of State Transfer

Documentation received at enrollment:

___ No evaluation report and no IEP received at enrollment

___ Evaluation report received – no IEP received at enrollment

___ IEP received – no evaluation report received at enrollment

___ Evaluation report and IEP received at enrollment