Special Education

New York State Criteria Used for Determinations Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for the 2010-11 School Year

Questions and Answers - Word (61KB)

  1. What is the federal statutory basis for the State's determinations of school districts under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?

States are required to enforce IDEA and Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 300.600(a) by making determinations annually under IDEA section 616(e) on the performance of each local educational agency (LEA) under Part B of the Act.  In making their determination of LEAs, states must use the same four categories in IDEA section 616(d) as the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the United States Education Department (USED) uses when the to make its determinations of the status of states. These categories are:

  • Meets Requirements;
  • Needs Assistance;
  • Needs Intervention; and
  • Needs Substantial Intervention.
In making these determinations, states MUST consider the following
  • Performance on compliance indicators;
  • Whether data submitted by LEAs programs are valid, reliable, and timely;
  • Uncorrected noncompliance from other sources; and
  • Any audit findings.
In addition, States could also consider:
  • Performance on performance indicators; and
  • Other information.
New York State's LEA determination of LEAs for the 2010-11 school year were made in consideration of the State's targets and the LEAs' performance on the following:
  1. Graduation rates for students with disabilities;
  2. Drop out rates for students with disabilities;
  3. Results for the subgroup of students with disabilities on the grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) State assessments;
  4. Compliance and correction of noncompliance on the following State Performance Plan (SPP) compliance indicators:
    • initial evaluations of students suspected of having a disability completed within the State's required timeline (Indicator 11);
    • provision of special education services by the child's third birthday (or State required timeline) for students transitioning from early intervention (EI) to preschool special education services (Indicator 12); and
    • transition planning on student's individualized education programs (IEPs) (Indicator 13).

In addition, other factors such as whether the district provided timely and accurate (valid and reliable) data, timely correction of noncompliance and other special education compliance factors are also considered on a district-by-district basis in these determinations.

  1. Why does NYS identify low performing school districts under both the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and IDEA? 

Both NCLB and IDEA have separate accountability systems and requirements for states.  New York State has chosen to align the criteria for LEA determinations as closely as possible with the NCLB criteria.  For this reason, NYS' criteria include consideration of an LEA's performance in the areas of graduation and adequate yearly performance (AYP) for the subgroup of students with disabilities.

  1. Why does NYS use more rigorous criteria each year in its IDEA determination of LEAs? 

Under the IDEA SPP, the State must establish rigorous targets for improvement in each of the indicator areas over a six year period of time.  The State's criteria for determining whether an LEA needs assistance, intervention, or substantial intervention, is made each year in consideration of the State's targets for improvement for those indicator areas.

  1. How many school districts statewide were identified as needing assistance, needing intervention or needing substantial intervention for the 2010-11 school year? 
    • Seventy-six (76) school districts have been determined to “need assistance" (25 in NYC and 51 in the rest of the State). 
    • Nineteen (19) school districts have been determined to be “in need of intervention" (seven in NYC and 12 in the rest of the State). 
    • No school districts were determined to need substantial intervention.
  2. Why does NYS identify districts as "At Risk"?

NYS established criteria for notification to an LEA that it is at risk of identification of needing assistance in future years.  By establishing criteria for this category, the State is directing the LEA's attention to its results for students with disabilities before it is determined by the State to need assistance, which requires the State to take appropriate enforcement actions with the LEA.  Where resources are available through the State's technical assistance centers, the State is able to offer technical assistance to an LEA with an 'at risk' determination.  Last year, there were 97 LEAs identified at risk.  Only 30 of these districts were determined to be at risk or need assistance for the 2010-11 school year.

  1. Last year, the State used data from the 2004 total cohort after four years as of June in its IDEA determinations.  What is the State's rationale for using the 2004 total cohort as of August for this year's determination criteria?

The 2004 total cohort after four years as of August is the same cohort year used for the IDEA Part B Annual Performance Report (APR) and for the recently released school report cards for NCLB.  It is also the same cohort that the State was required to report its graduation rate in this year's SPP.

  1. Was graduation data from the 2005 total cohort as of August considered?

While the State has graduation rate data based on the 2005 total cohort, this data has not yet been completed verified by the school districts and therefore is subject to change.

  1. Did the State consider a district's progress in increasing the graduation rate before it makes a determination that a district needs assistance or intervention?

Yes.  While the State based its determination on 2004 total cohort data, it did consider the 2005 total cohort graduation rate as progress data and, if the district's 2005 total cohort four year graduation rate as of August was 44 percent or higher, the district was not designated.

  1. Why is the drop out rate based on the 2005 total cohort after four years as of August, while the graduation rate data is based on the 2004 total cohort? 

The State's data on drop out rates for the 2005 total cohort is final data and is the data the State used in its APR.

  1. Does the State consider a district's progress in reducing the drop out rate before it makes a determination that a district needs assistance or intervention?

Yes.  If a district's drop out rate decreased by 10 or more percentage points compared to the 2004 total cohort after four years as of June, the district was not designated.

  1. In 2009-10, results from the combined performance on grades 3-8 ELA and 3-8 math were used in computing district annual determinations, but in 2010-11, 3-8 math was not included.  Why?

While the performance of students with disabilities on the math State assessments is very important, the State chose to focus its attention this year to districts that did not make AYP for the subgroup of students with disabilities based on ELA performance only.  In part, this decision was made based on the availability of technical assistance expertise to help districts improve their literacy programs for students with disabilities. 

  1. What progress data does the State consider for this criterion in making its annual determinations?

If a district did not make AYP for students with disabilities for two or more consecutive years based on the combined 3-8 performance in ELA, the State did not designate the district as needing assistance or intervention if the district's five year graduation rate for the 2004 total cohort was 58 percent or higher or if the district's four-year graduation rate for the 2005 total cohort as of August was 52 percent or higher.

  1. Why does the State use indicators 11, 12 and 13 as its primary compliance data results for IDEA determinations?

The State identifies noncompliance through a variety of mechanisms, including but not limited to on-site monitoring, self-reviews, data collection, State complaints and impartial hearings.  While the State considers other compliance factors in its IDEA determination, it focuses on issues related to timely initial evaluations (indicator 11), initiation of special education services by a child's third birthday (indicator 12) and transition planning (indicator 13) because it collects this compliance data from every district. 

  1. If the State's target for compliance is 100 percent, why does the State only identify districts if their compliance rate is 75 percent or less?

In most cases, if a school district has a rate of noncompliance of more than 75 percent, it can usually correct the noncompliance promptly and without technical assistance.  However, a compliance rate of 75 percent or less indicates that the district is likely to have broad systemic issues requiring technical assistance and/or redirection of district resources.  The State selected the 75 percent threshold consistent with OSEP's threshold for the identification of States.

  1. Why is the State focusing on timely correction of noncompliance?

Federal regulations require that all issues of noncompliance be corrected as soon as possible, but not later than one year from date the LEA is notified by the State of the noncompliance.  When a district has not provided verifiable documentation to the State that it has corrected the noncompliance for two or more years, the State must take enforcement actions with the district.

  1. What is meant by "enforcement actions"?

Enforcement actions for the categories of needs assistance, needs intervention and needs substantial intervention are described in section 616(e) of IDEA and also in the Part B regulations at sections 300.603 and 300.604.  States must use appropriate enforcement actions listed at section 616(e) and in the Part B regulations at section 300.600(a) that refers to the actions listed in section 300.604.  Not all of the enforcement actions included in section 616(e) and section 300.604 may be applicable or appropriate for a State in determining the appropriate enforcement actions against specific LEAs programs.  The Part B regulations at section 300.600(a) specifically designate the enforcement actions that States must apply after an LEA is determined to “Need Assistance” for two consecutive years, “Need Intervention” for three or more consecutive years or immediately when an LEA is determined to be in “Need of Substantial Intervention.” 

In other words, when a State determines that an LEA:

  • Needs Assistance for two consecutive years, the State must take one or more of the following enforcement actions in section 300.604:
    • (a)(1): Advise programs of available sources of technical assistance to address areas on which the program needs assistance; or
    • (a)(3): Identify programs as high risk grantee and imposing conditions on use of funds.
  • Needs Intervention for three or more consecutive years, the State must take one or more of the following actions in section 300.604:
    • (b)(2)(i): Require the program to prepare or implement a corrective action plan to correct the identified area(s); or
    • (b)(2)(v): Withhold, in whole or in part, further payments to programs.
  • Needs Substantial Intervention at any time, the State must take the following enforcement action in section 300.604:
    • (c)(2): Withhold, in whole or in part, any Part B funds.

In addition to the minimum enforcement actions noted above, a State also may use any other enforcement mechanisms and actions available to it (such as those included in State rules, regulations, or policies) to enforce IDEA.  For example, a State might advise an LEA program of available technical assistance on areas on which the program needs assistance after the first year the program is identified as needing assistance, or require more rigorous reporting on the area needing improvement.

Last Updated: September 19, 2013