THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Rebecca H. Cort
Results for Students with Disabilities and Strategies to Improve Performance
April 1, 2010
Goals 1 and 4
Issue for Discussion
Results for students with disabilities and strategies to improve performance.
Reason for Consideration
This report will come before the VESID Committee in April 2010 for discussion.
The 2005 total cohort outcomes and types of diplomas achieved by all students were presented to the Board in March. This report provides similar additional disaggregated data for the students with disabilities subgroup. Students with disabilities are approximately 13 percent of total enrollment in public and nonpublic schools. This report also provides summary data for the 2008-09 school years on some of the State Performance Plan (SPP) special education indicators. The 2008-09 school year is the fourth year of the State’s six-year State Performance Plan as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to measure the State’s progress on 20 compliance and performance indicators relating to students with disabilities.
The current report presents results on some of the key outcome measures for students with disabilities from the 2008-09 school year and describes targeted improvement actions VESID is taking to address these results. The 2008-09 results for students on Grades 3-8 ELA and math State assessments were presented in June 2009. These results will be updated when the 2009-10 school year results become available. VESID uses the results in the areas of graduation, drop out, State assessments and certain compliance issues most related to results for students with disabilities to identify school districts as needing assistance or intervention or “at risk” of such identification. VESID then directs intervention in these districts through our regional technical assistance network and dissemination of best practices.
Participation and Performance on State Assessments
- In 2008-09, for the first time, NYS met or surpassed the participation rate target of 95% of students with disabilities participating in ALL grades and subjects.
- Under New York’s accountability system, there were 665 school districts that were required to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in one or more grades and subjects in which they had sufficient number of students with disabilities. 82.7% of these districts made AYP in 2008-09, up from 71.3% of the required districts in 2007-08.
- There is a large gap in the percent of school districts that make AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup between the need/resource capacity categories of school districts. For example, 95 percent of the low need districts made AYP compared with none of the large four cities, only 9.5 percent of New York City’s geographic districts and 49 percent of the urban-suburban high need districts.
Regents Examination Results
- The number of students with disabilities taking and passing the Regents examination in English decreased slightly after many years of a trend showing increasing numbers. In 2008-09, 24,815 students with disabilities took the English Regents examination compared to 25,046 in the 2007-08 school year.
- In 2008-09, 68 percent of students with disabilities tested on the English Regents examination passed with a score of 55 or higher, while 52 percent passed with a score of 65 or higher.
- Since the 1995-96 school year, when 526 students with disabilities earned a Regents diploma, there has been a trend of increasing numbers each year. In 2008-09, 7,708 students with disabilities earned a Regents diploma.
Exiting Data: Graduation and Dropouts Results
- The total cohort of students with disabilities has been getting larger annually since 2002. The 2005 total cohort was 32,058, which is 20 percent larger than the 2002 total cohort of 26,678. About 70 percent of the increase in the size of the cohort is attributable to more students with disabilities in New York City’s (NYC) total cohort.
- Even with an increase in the number of students with disabilities in the total cohort, the four-year graduation rate of students with disabilities as of August improved slightly, from 43.6 percent for the 2004 total cohort to 44.0 percent for the 2005 total cohort.
- Since August 2007, the State’s graduation rate for students with disabilities as of August increased 2.8 percentage points, from 41.2 percent to 44 percent.
- 42.1% of students with disabilities who entered 9th grade in 2005 graduated in June 2009. An additional 620 students graduated after the summer months, raising the graduation rate to 44.0%.
- The graduation rate of 2005 total cohort was higher in August 2009 compared to June 2009 in every Need/Resource Capacity category of school districts, with the greatest percentage point increase in the urban-suburban high need districts from 36.9 to 39.8 percent.
- The range of graduation rates for the 2005 total cohort as of August 2009 by Need/Resource Category of school districts was between 25.5 percent in the large four cities to 75.5 percent in the low need school districts.
- The dropout rate of the 2005 total cohort as of August 2009 was 15.9 percent, slightly better than 16 percent for the 2004 total cohort and 16.9 percent for the 2003 total cohort.
- The dropout rate of the 2005 total cohort as of August 2009 ranges from 29.8 percent in the large four cities to 4.4 percent in the low need school districts.
- The achievement gap between all students and students with disabilities graduating with a Regents or local diploma after 4 years has remained consistent at 30 percentage points for the last three years.
- The percentage of students with disabilities in NYC graduating with a Regents or local diploma after 4 years has been increasing annually but is still much lower than the statewide average. For example, in NYC, 26.6 percent of students with disabilities in the 2005 total cohort as of August 2009 earned a high school diploma compared to 44 percent statewide and 52.8 percent in public schools not including NYC.
- The number of annual high school graduates, regardless of which cohort they belong to, for students with disabilities has increased from 7,699 in the 1996-97 school year to 16,007 in the 2008-09 school year.
- A fifth year in high school helps additional students with disabilities meet graduation requirements who could not meet the requirements with the typical four years. For example, 41.5 percent of the 2004 total cohort of students with disabilities graduated within four years, and 49.5 percent did so within five years.
- A much larger percentage of students with disabilities meet graduation requirements to earn a local diploma rather than a Regents diploma. For example, in the 2005 total cohort as of June 2009, 47.5 percent of students with disabilities earned a local diploma compared to 14.5 percent of all students.
- A greater percentage of students with disabilities in the high need districts stay in school longer (after four years and five years) compared to students with disabilities in the low need districts. For example, 41.5 percent of the 2004 total cohort as of June 2008 were still enrolled in NYC schools compared to 16.9 percent in the low need school districts. Also, 16.6 percent of the same total cohort was enrolled in NYC schools after five years, compared to 4.6 percent in the low need school districts.
- A greater percentage of students with disabilities in the high need districts earn an individualized education program (IEP) diploma compared to students with disabilities in the low need districts. For example, 18.2 percent of students with disabilities in the 2005 total cohort as of August 2008 in the rural high need districts earned an IEP diploma compared to 4.1 percent of students with disabilities in the low need districts.
Timely Evaluations of Students for Special Education Services
Based on data from a representative sample of 114 school districts for 9,456 preschool and school-age students for whom their parents provided consent to evaluate, 74.6 percent had their evaluations completed within State established timelines. This compliance rate has continued to improve from 64.2 in 2006-07 to 74.6 percent in the 2008-09 school year.
Transition of Children from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education
Based on data for 2,849 children who were referred from the Early Intervention (EI) Program operated by the Department of Health before the age of three, 74.8 percent of children who were found eligible for preschool special education had their IEP implemented by their third birthday. These data were reported by 113 school districts that comprise a statewide sample of school districts that are representative of the State.
- Based on a review of 3,290 individualized education programs (IEPs) of students ages 15 and older from 109 school districts, 61.7 percent had IEPs that included coordinated, measurable annual IEP goals and transition services that will reasonably enable the student to meet the post-secondary goals. This is an improvement in results over the previous year of 58.6 percent.
- Results in New York City significantly improved from the previous year from 46 percent to 67 percent.
- The participation rate of individuals with disabilities in institutions of higher education remained approximately the same in the last several years.
Suspension Rates for Students with Disabilities
- In 2008-09, forty school districts (5.9 percent of school districts in the State) suspended students with disabilities for more than 10 days at a rate of 2.7 percent or higher. (A rate of 2.7 is two times the baseline statewide average for the long term suspension of students with disabilities as established in 2004-05.)
- This is an improvement over the 2007-08 school year when 64 school districts (or 9.4 percent of school districts in the State) suspended students with disabilities for more than 10 days at a rate of 2.7 percent or higher.
DEPARTMENT STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE RESULTS
The Department’s key initiatives to improve performance results for students with disabilities include, but are not limited to the following:
Identification of low performing school districts for students with disabilities:
VESID identifies school districts as needing assistance or intervention and school districts identified as “at risk” of such identification, based on the results in the areas of graduation, drop out, State assessments and certain compliance issues most related to results for students with disabilities.
- For the 2010-11 school year, VESID has identified 95 school districts that need assistance or need intervention (32 in NYC and 63 in the rest of the State). Below are numbers of school districts identified and reasons for identification. These numbers total more than 95 because some school districts are identified for multiple issues.
- 55 were determined to need assistance or intervention based on low graduation rates for students with disabilities;
- 75 were identified for high dropout rates for students with disabilities;
- 3 were identified for not making AYP for two or more consecutive years for students with disabilities;
- 3 were identified based on noncompliance with completing timely evaluations of children for special education services;
- 2 were identified based on noncompliance with implementing the requirements related to the transition of children from the Department of Health’s Early Intervention program to preschool special education and services to children by their third birthday; and
- 7 were identified based on noncompliance with implementing transition requirements for students aged 15 and older.
- Over the past two years, 39 school districts that were identified as needing assistance or intervention and provided technical assistance through VESID improved to the extent that they no longer meet the criteria for these determinations.
Redesign of Special Education School Improvement Network
Effective July 1, 2009, VESID began implementation of a new redesigned school improvement network. The focus of this network is to provide improved coordination and capacity to help sustain changes to the instructional programs that will lead to improved results for students with disabilities. The new structure consists of 10 Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers (RSE-TASC). Through the RSE-TASC, teams of professional staff are available to support school district improvement in such areas as literacy, behavior, special education instructional practices, transition and bilingual special education. Below are highlights of some of the work that has already been accomplished through the RSE-TASC structure.
- Regional special education trainers are conducting multiple State developed regional training sessions on topics such as the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) process; Accessible Instructional Materials; and other regionally identified topics.
- Behavior specialists in each RSE-TASC are providing technical assistance and professional development to school districts, particularly school districts with high suspension rates for students with disabilities, to scale up Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). A State PBIS Center has been established to provide high-quality professional development to the State’s behavior specialists and to serve as liaison with the National PBIS Center.
- Special education technical assistance providers are working with selected Special Act School Districts and Approved Private Schools to improve their instructional and behavioral programs.
- Transition specialists are providing professional development to improve transition planning results statewide. A State Transition Technical Assistance Center has been established through Cornell University to provide high quality professional development to the State’s transition specialists and to manage TransQUAL, a web-based quality improvement transition planning and services tool for school districts.
- Bilingual special education specialists are providing regional information and training to improve results for students with disabilities with limited English proficiency.
- School improvement specialists are providing job embedded professional development in school districts identified as needing assistance, needing intervention or at risk of such identification.
Response to Intervention Programs (RtI)
The Department continues its work to scale up the use of RtI by all school districts in New York State. RtI is a multi-tiered, problem-solving approach that identifies general education students struggling in academic and behavioral areas early and provides them with systematically applied strategies and targeted instruction at varying levels of intervention. It is a nationally recognized process that provides instructionally relevant information to assist in the more appropriate identification of students with learning disabilities. In 2009-10, VESID established a State Technical Assistance Center on RtI at the State College at Buffalo; awarded grants to 14 schools to develop model RtI programs; and in collaboration with a cross-Department team, developed a guidance document on RtI.
Identify What Works and Promote Replication - Supporting Successful Strategies to Achieve Improved Results (S³TAIR Project)
Through a federal grant project, VESID identified 44 schools/school districts with effective instructional practices leading to improved results for students with disabilities in such areas as literacy instruction, positive behavioral interventions and supports, effective special education instructional practices (e.g., explicit instruction; strategy instruction) and transition planning. Thirteen of these schools have been awarded grants to assist other school districts needing improvement or intervention to replicate these effective practices. In addition, VESID is awarding replication grants to the school districts needing assistance or intervention to improve results for students with disabilities to incorporate these effective practices in their school districts. Additional information on this project can be found at http://www.s3tairproject.org/.
Special Education Parent Centers
Thirteen Special Education Parent Centers have been established statewide. These Centers work with VESID to ensure parents have access to information to effectively participate in the special education process.
Partnerships with Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)
VESID funds the Higher Education Support Center through Syracuse University. This project promotes collaboration among IHEs, school districts and VESID's other special education technical assistance centers. Notably, over this past year, HESC has collaborated with VESID to identify effective practice schools and to use VESID's Quality Indicator Review and Resource Guides for literacy, behavior and special education instruction to inform general and special education teacher preparation programs.
Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDC)
Fifteen ECDCs assist parents of preschool students with disabilities in the transition from Early Intervention Services to preschool special education and provide technical assistance to improve the State’s results in the timely evaluation and timely provision of services to preschool students with disabilities.