Special Education

Overview of the Annual Performance Report Development:

See Overview of the Development of the Annual Performance Report (APR) in the Introduction section, page 1.

Monitoring Priority: FAPE in the LRE

Indicator 11: Percent of children who were evaluated within 60 days of receiving parental consent for initial evaluation or, if the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeline.
(20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B))

Measurement:

  1. # of children for whom parental consent to evaluate was received.
  2. # of children whose evaluations were completed within 60 days (or State established timelines*).

Account for children included in (a) but not included in (b).  Indicate the range of days beyond the timeline when the evaluation was completed and any reasons for the delays.

Percent = [(b) divided by (a)] times 100.

*The State’s established timelines to complete the initial evaluation and eligibility determinations is 30 school days for preschool students and 60 calendar days for school-age students.

New York State’s (NYS) Calculation:

  1. NYS’ formula calculating results for this indicator is as follows:
    # of children for whom parental consent to evaluate was received (Does not include students whose evaluations were completed past the State-established timelines for reasons that are in compliance with State requirements.)
  2. # of children whose evaluations were completed within 30 school days for preschool children and 60 calendar days for school-age students.
    Percent = [(b) divided by (a)] times 100.

Data Source:

Beginning with the 2007-08 year, NYS collects data for this indicator via the Student Information Repository System (SIRS) and verifies these data by displaying them in a VR11 report, which was developed in the PD Data System.  SIRS is NYS' individual student data reporting system.

NYS’ Method Used to Collect Data

NYS collects individual student data through SIRS.  School districts report specific dates when special education events occur such as the date of referral, date of written parent consent for an initial individual evaluation and the date of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting to discuss evaluation results.  Information is also collected regarding the number of days from receipt of parent consent to evaluate the child and the date of the CPSE or CSE meeting to discuss evaluation results. If the number of days exceeds the State established timelines, reasons for delays are collected.  Some reasons are considered to be in compliance with State requirements and other reasons are not in compliance.  Each school district’s compliance rate is calculated.  NYS requires documentation from each school district whose compliance rate is less than 100 percent that demonstrates each student’s evaluation was completed and that it complies with the regulatory time lines associated with timely completion of initial individual evaluations.

Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) Measurable and Rigorous Target
FFY 2009
(2009-10 school year)
100 percent of children with parental consent to evaluate will be evaluated within State required timelines.

Actual Target Data for FFY 2009:

In FFY 2009, 77 percent of students with parental consent to evaluate received their initial individual evaluations within State required timelines.

  • 68.4 percent of preschool children had their initial evaluations completed within 30 school days of the date of the parent’s consent to evaluate; and
  • 85 percent of school-age students had their initial evaluations completed within 60 calendar days of the date of the parent’s consent to evaluate.
Children Evaluated Within 60 Days (or State-established timeline) during FFY 2009

a. Number of children for whom parental consent to evaluate was received

10,154

b. Number of children whose evaluations were completed within 60 days (or State-established timelines)

7,818
Percent of children with parental consent to evaluate, who were evaluated within 60 days (or State-established timeline)  (Percent = [(b) divided by (a)] times 100) 77%

Account for children included in (a) but not included in (b) in the above table:

There are 2,336 students in (a.) and not in (b.) of the above table.  These are students for whom evaluations were not completed within State established timelines for reasons which are not in compliance with State requirements. The chart below provides information regarding the extent of delays and reasons for not completing the initial evaluations of children within the State established timelines.

Reasons for Delays, FFY 2009 Number of Children by Number of Days of Delay in Completing Evaluations, FFY 2009 Total Percent
of
Total
1-10 11-20 21-30 Over 30
An approved evaluator was not available to provide a timely evaluation. 118 136 97 201 552 23.6%
Evaluator delays in completing evaluations. 246 196 127 176 745 31.9%
Delays in scheduling CPSE or CSE meetings. 445 266 139 189 1,039 44.5%
Total 809 598 363 566 2,336  
Percent of Total 34.6% 25.6% 15.5% 24.2%   100%

Discussion of Improvement Activities Completed and Explanation of Progress or Slippage that Occurred for FFY 2009:

Explanation of Progress or Slippage:

In 2009-10, NYS’ compliance rate improved to 77 percent, an increase of two percentage points over the State’s rate of 75 percent in 2008-09.  This improvement is significant because the State measures its performance each year based on a different representative sample of school districts.  Therefore, with the exception of NYC, the State’s results only reflect compliance for those districts where the State has not previously monitored for this indicator and does not reflect improvements made by other districts that have corrected their noncompliance.  (Ninety-five percent (95%) of findings of noncompliance identified in 2008-09 and 99 percent of findings identified in 2007-08 have been corrected.)  Improvement for this indicator, therefore, demonstrates the proactive attention given to this compliance issue through the State’s improvement activities.

The percent of preschool children that did not have their evaluations completed within the State required timeline significantly impacted the State’s results for this indicator. Factors impacting this rate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The State’s timeline for preschool evaluations (30 school days) is shorter than the federally-required 60 calendar days, which further contributes to evaluation delays.
  • State law allows the parent of a preschool child to select the approved evaluator to conduct the individual evaluation.  Parents do not always select approved evaluators who are able to complete the individual evaluation within the State’s required timeline.

A review of the length of delays indicates the following:

  • 34.6 percent of all delays in completing initial evaluations were for 1-10 days;
  • 25.6 percent for 11-20 days;
  • 15.5 percent for 21-30 days; and
  • 24.2 percent for more than 30 days.

The percentages in length of the delays as reported above are very comparable to the length of delays reported in last year’s APR.

A review of the reasons for the delays indicates:

  • 23.6 percent of delays were because an approved evaluator was not available to provide a timely evaluation;
  • 31.9 percent because of evaluator delays in completing the evaluations; and
  • 44.5 percent related to timeliness of scheduling CPSE or CSE meetings to discuss evaluation results.

There has been some improvement in the percentages of delays caused by evaluator delays in completing the evaluations, an issue which the State has been directly addressing statewide through its oversight of approved evaluators. 

However, there was a significant increase in the percent of delays resulting in lack of approved evaluators available to provide a timely evaluation.  One major root cause of this reason for delays relates to personnel shortages, particularly in New York City (NYC) and the other Big Four cities.  The State and NYC are implementing court settlement actions under the Jose P. court case relating to availability of professionals in personnel shortage areas (e.g., speech and language and bilingual evaluators). An additional root cause factor for these delays is the State’s inability at this time to approve any new evaluators to address availability of approved evaluators, in part due to corporate professional practice limitations for private approved evaluation programs (which the State is attempting to address through legislation).

Correction of FFY 2008 Findings of Noncompliance (if State reported less than 100% compliance):

NYS issued notifications of noncompliance for this indicator to 98 school districts in the 2008-09 school year.  Correction of noncompliance in these districts is reported in the table below. 

The chart below provides information on the timely correction of FFY 2008 findings of 165 findings of noncompliance in 98 school districts.  (The State counts a finding of noncompliance for timely evaluations of preschool students as one compliance issue and for school-age students as a separate compliance issue, which explains why the numbers of findings for this indicator exceeds the number of school districts.) 

  1. Number of findings of noncompliance the State made during FFY 2008 (the period from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009)
165
(98 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2008 findings the State verified as timely corrected (corrected within one year from the date of notification to the local educational agency (LEA) of the finding)  
114
(68 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2008 findings not verified as corrected within one year [(1) minus (2)]
51
(30 school districts)
Correction of FFY 2008 Findings of Noncompliance Not Timely Corrected (corrected more than one year from identification of the noncompliance):
  1. Number of FFY 2008 findings not timely corrected (same as the number from (3) above)
51
(30 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2008 findings the State has verified as corrected beyond the one-year timeline (“subsequent correction”)
45
(27 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2008 findings not verified as corrected [(4) minus (5)]
6
(3 school districts)

Actions Taken if Noncompliance Found Is Not Corrected:
For findings for which the State has not yet verified correction, explain what the State has done to identify the root cause(s) of continuing noncompliance, and what the State is doing about the continued lack of compliance, including, as appropriate, enforcement actions taken against an LEA that continues to show noncompliance. 

The State provided electronic notification at three-month intervals to each school district as a reminder of the noncompliance that needed to be corrected and the next steps that would be taken should timely correction not occur.  If a school district was unable to correct its noncompliance within 30 days of its nine-month notice, the State required the district to develop a corrective action plan that included the reasons for the district’s failure to provide each student with an individual evaluation within the State’s required timelines.  The corrective action plan was required to address consideration of the school district’s procedures and practices for conducting timely individual evaluations, staff training and supervision that relate to the findings of noncompliance; and in addition, for delays in preschool evaluations, the corrective action plan had to identify those approved evaluators that did not complete the preschool child’s individual evaluation within the required time period and the reasons for such delays.  The corrective action plan also had to identify the actions the district would take to demonstrate compliance, including the strategies related to these categories of factors/reasons and, for each strategy, identification of who is responsible and the timeline for completing the strategy.

For the 30 districts that did not correct noncompliance within 12 months of identification, special education monitoring staff conducted reviews to determine the status of the above-referenced corrective action plans. During the reviews, special education monitoring staff reviewed the districts’ determination of root causes for the delays and, as appropriate, required additional corrective actions to resolve any remaining instances of individual noncompliance as well as to resolve any systemic reasons causing the school district to go beyond the State-established timelines for evaluation.  In addition, each of the school districts was provided with technical assistance resources available to assist with the district’s responsibility to correct the noncompliance for this indicator, including:

As of this report, only three (of 30) school districts have continuing noncompliance from the FFY 2008.  To assist districts to meet their corrective action plans, for two of the four districts, the State convened meetings with the State funded ECDC, school district staff and preschool providers to discuss targeted technical assistance to improve the districts’ timely evaluation of preschool students.  In one district, a major root cause was a shortage of bilingual evaluators for preschool students. (rev. 4/11)

One of the remaining districts is NYC, with findings of noncompliance of both preschool and school-age students.  The State and NYC are implementing court settlement actions under two court cases:  DD and Jose P., both relating to timely evaluations and placements of students with disabilities.  In addition, NYSED has directed the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) to:

  • develop a tracking system with specific targets throughout the school year for meeting evaluation and placement timelines.  Data will be provided to the responsible administrators at set intervals throughout the school year and they will be held accountable for performance at the cluster, network and school level;
  • redirect a portion of its IDEA flow-through funds to hire additional CPSE administrators and clerical staff to reduce individual staff caseloads in order to meet mandated timeframes for evaluation and placement; and
  • track the evaluation timeframes for approved preschool evaluation sites and notify sites of their compliance rates.  The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and NYCDOE then follow-up with the providers and require corrective action.  Failure to improve performance can result in the removal of the evaluators' approval status.

Verification of Correction of Noncompliance Found in FFY 2008 (either timely or subsequent):
For those findings for which the State has reported correction, describe the process the State used to verify that the LEA:  (1) is correctly implementing the specific regulatory requirements; and (2) has completed the initial evaluation, although late, unless the child is no longer within the jurisdiction of the LEA, consistent with OSEP Memorandum 09-02.

The State required school districts with less than a 100 percent compliance rate for this indicator to submit a statement of assurance from the School Superintendent of correction of the identified noncompliance.  Prior to the school district’s submission that it has corrected the noncompliance, it was required to conduct a review to ensure that each identified student, whose initial evaluation was not completed in compliance with State timelines, and for whom data was not already available in SIRS, had since had his or her initial evaluation completed.  The district was also required to monitor and document over a three-month period that all students (or a representative sample for the Big Four districts) had their individual evaluations completed within the required time period.  These results were required to be documented on a form provided by the State.  NYC’s annual submission of data for this indicator has been used to verify that all children are receiving their individual evaluations within the required timelines.

Based on a regional sampling methodology, selected school districts that have submitted a statement of assurance of corrected noncompliance were selected for verification reviews on the accuracy of their reports.  If it was identified that the school district continued to have areas of noncompliance, a new corrective action plan was issued to address any instances of individual noncompliance, as well as to resolve any underlying systemic reason(s) for the noncompliance.

During the FFY 2008, the State verified the timely correction of identified noncompliance in 68 of the 98 school districts using the above referenced review and assurance process.  In addition, the State verified the correction of noncompliance of an additional 26 school districts through the use of on-site reviews conducted by State monitoring staff from the Office of Special Education.  The State verifies the correction of individual noncompliance for NYC through the assurance process and the correction of noncompliance for all students through annual data monitoring.

Correction of Remaining FFY 2007 Findings of Noncompliance (if applicable):
For FFY 2007 findings for which the State has not yet verified correction, explain what the State has done to identify the root cause(s) of continuing noncompliance, and what the State is doing about the continued lack of compliance, including, as appropriate, enforcement actions taken against an LEA that continues to show noncompliance.

  1. Number of findings of noncompliance the State made during FFY 2007 (the period from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008)
365
(209 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2007 findings the State verified as timely corrected (corrected within one year from the date of notification to the local educational agency (LEA) of the finding)  
147
(86 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2007 findings not verified as corrected within one year [(1) minus (2)]
218
(123 school districts)
Correction of FFY 2007 Findings of Noncompliance Not Timely Corrected (corrected more than one year from identification of the noncompliance):
  1. Number of FFY 2007 findings not timely corrected (same as the number from (3) above)
218
(123 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2007 findings the State has verified as corrected beyond the one-year timeline (“subsequent correction”)
216
(122 school districts)
  1. Number of FFY 2007 findings not verified as corrected [(4) minus (5)]
2
(1 school district)

The one remaining district is NYC with findings of noncompliance of both preschool and school-age students.  The State and NYC are implementing court settlement actions under two court cases:  DD and Jose P., both relating to timely evaluations and placements of students with disabilities.  Also see the “Actions Taken if Noncompliance Found Is Not Corrected” for 2008 relating to New York City.

Correction of Remaining FFY 2006 Findings of Noncompliance (if applicable):
For FFY 2006 findings for which the State has not yet verified correction, explain what the State has done to identify the root cause(s) of continuing noncompliance, and what the State is doing about the continued lack of compliance, including, as appropriate, enforcement actions taken against an LEA that continues to show noncompliance.

Not applicable.  The State issued findings based on FFY 2006 data in the FFY 2007 school year.

Correction of Any Remaining Findings of Noncompliance from FFY 2005 or Earlier (if applicable):

Not applicable.  The State issued findings based on FFY 2005 data in the FFY 2007 school year.

Additional Information Required by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) APR Response Table for this Indicator (if applicable):

When reporting on the correction of noncompliance, the State must report, in its FFY 2009 APR, that it has verified that each LEA with noncompliance reflected in the FFY 2008 data the State reported for this indicator, each LEA with noncompliance reflected in the FFY 2007 data the State reported for this indicator in the FFY 2007 APR, and each LEA with the remaining ten uncorrected noncompliance findings identified in FFY 2007 (based on FFY 2005 and FFY 2006 data):  (1) is correctly implementing 34 CFR §300.301(c)(1) (i.e., achieved 100% compliance) based on a review of updated data such as data subsequently collected through on-site monitoring or a State data system; and (2) has completed the evaluation, although late, for any child whose initial evaluation was not timely, unless the child is no longer within the jurisdiction of the LEA, consistent with OSEP Memo 09-02.  In the FFY 2009 APR, the State must describe the specific actions that were taken to verify the correction.

In FFY 2008, the State instituted new procedures to ensure that the verification of the correction of noncompliance included student-specific correction and a review of updated data over a three-month period of time to ensure subsequent compliance. Verification that  compliance was corrected was achieved in 94 of 98 or 96 percent of school districts that corrected their noncompliance within one year and an additional 26 of 30 or 87 percent of school districts with over 12 month findings of noncompliance.

In FFY 2007, the State verified 208 of 210 or 99 percent of school districts with findings of noncompliance and conducted on-site reviews to address any over 12 month noncompliance.  As a result, 122 of 124 or 98.3 percent of school districts with over 12 month findings of noncompliance are now in compliance with the requirements of this indicator. 

If the State does not report 100% compliance in the FFY 2009 APR, the State must review its improvement activities and revise them, if necessary. The State has reviewed, revised and implemented improvement activities in response to its report of less than 100 percent compliance in the FFY 2009 APR (see below).

Improvement Activities Completed in 2009-10

  • The Office of Special Education used information obtained from federal technical assistance resources to further inform its activities to improve timely evaluations for students with disabilities:
    • In May 2010, NYSED issued annual determination letters to superintendents of school districts that were identified as having noncompliance for Indicator 11.  The NECTAC checklist, “Local Corrective Action Plans: Collection and Use of Valid and Reliable Data for Determining Factors Contributing to Noncompliance” (2008), was referenced to provide school districts with examples of questions that should be considered when investigating contributing factors for noncompliance and developing improvement strategies.
    • Links to federal and State technical assistance resources were also included in the annual determination letters to assist district personnel to better understand the issues and effective practices pertaining to Indicator 11.  The link for NECTAC (http://www.nectac.org/external link) was among the resources listed.
    • The Office of Special Education staff participated in monthly Communities of Practice (CoP), hosted by various federal technical assistance centers, in an effort to keep updated on the latest policy information and new resources that NYSED could use directly or share with stakeholder groups.  Included in the monthly CoP calls were those sponsored by NECTAC relating to Indicator 11.
  • To improve timely correction of noncompliance, the Office of Special Education continued the use of electronic notices, sent to school districts at three-month intervals, as a reminder of the noncompliance that needs to be corrected and the next steps that will be taken by the Office of Special Education should timely correction not occur.  Special education monitoring staff also received copies of the electronic notices and take appropriate proactive actions, including direct follow-up upon a finding that noncompliance was not corrected within nine months.
  • The State continued to provide a three-day training program for chairpersons of CSEs and CPSEs, which includes training on the timelines and process for conducting individual initial evaluations and determining eligibility for special education.  In 2010, 79 three-day sessions were provided throughout NYS. 
  • ECDC and NYS Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) staff facilitated regional meetings with preschool evaluators and school districts to identify and address the reasons that preschool students were not receiving their evaluations within the required timelines. 
  • References to the federal technical assistance resources were built into the notifications to school districts that demonstrated continuing noncompliance as well as into correspondence to superintendents letting them know of their FFY 2009 reporting responsibilities. 
  • The State reviewed information on effective practices available through NECTAC.  The State directed school districts to NECTAC for information to assist them in developing corrective action plans, with particular attention to NECTAC’s  “Resources for Systems Change and Improvement Planning” section of the SPP/APR calendar, available at http://spp-apr-calendar.rrfcnetwork.org/explorer/ view/id/650?1#category1external link. Additionally, a team of NYSED Special Education Policy, Program Development and SEQA staff who work with early childhood issues and programs participate regularly in the monthly CoP calls sponsored by NECTAC to gain insight into critical issues and benchmark practices nationally.
  • In the 2009-10 year, IDEA discretionary funds were used to fund a project to provide inservice training on cultural and linguistic diversity to preschool providers in NYC who work with preschoolers who speak native languages other than English.  The Intensive Teacher Institute in Bilingual Special Education (ITI-BSE) provided tuition assistance for preschool evaluators across the State to obtain bilingual certification and for bilingual paraprofessionals to receive initial certification in special education and speech.  Seventy-nine recipients of tuition assistance from the ITI-BSE who were working in preschool programs for students with disabilities completed coursework leading to a bilingual extension to the certification in special education, speech, counseling, social work, or school psychology.
  • During 2009-10, Office of Special Education staff and bilingual specialists from the Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers and staff from the Bilingual/English as second language (ESL) Technical Assistance Centers provided technical assistance to districts that were conducting bilingual evaluations for preschoolers.
  • The State and NYC are implementing court settlement actions under two court cases:  DD and Jose P., both relating to timely evaluations and placements of students with disabilities.

Revisions, with Justification, to Proposed Targets / Improvement Activities / Timelines / Resources for FFY 2009 [If applicable]
None

Last Updated: April 20, 2011