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ERIC Number: ED495882
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
2005 State Special Education Outcomes: Steps Forward in a Decade of Change
Thompson, Sandra; Johnstone, Christopher; Thurlow, Martha; Altman, Jason
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
This report summarizes the tenth survey of state directors of special education by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the University of Minnesota. Results include all 50 states and six of the eleven federally funded entities (unique states). The purpose of this report is to provide a snapshot of the new initiatives, trends, accomplishments, and emerging issues during this important period of education reform as states document the academic achievement of students with disabilities during standards-based reform. States continue to work on the participation of students with disabilities in state assessments. The calculation of participation rates is based on different denominators in different states. Most states use either the number of students with disabilities enrolled within a month of the test or the number of students with disabilities counted on test day, yet some still use the number of students tested or the enrollment on December 1. Use of accommodations is also documented in some way by every state. The report contains good news: the number of students with disabilities achieving proficiency on state accountability tests is increasing. Most states now have at least three years of trend data and enough evaluation data to be able to attribute increased proficiency to several positive efforts by schools and districts. There have been many changes during the past two years as increasing numbers of students receive the instruction they need to meet grade level proficiency. When states were asked which factors contributed to positive trends found in the survey, at least half of the states credited the following six factors: (1) Clearly communicated participation policy; (2) Better alignment of IEPs with standards; (3) Improved professional development; (4) Development and provision of accommodation guidelines and training; (5) Increased access to standards-based instruction; and (6) Improved data collection. Updates on alternate assessments show continued evolution in various aspects, from the approach itself, to the content, setting of standards, and the scoring criteria that are used. Areas of emerging practice include for a few states item analyses and disaggregating assessment results by English language learners. For about half the states, emerging practice includes field testing in alternate formats and disaggregating assessment results by disability category. Nearly all of the states are conducting further work in the area of universally designed assessments. Appended are: (1) Working Definitions of Students with the "Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities"; and (2) Examples of Current and Emerging Issues. (Contains 9 tables and 11 figures.)
National Center on Educational Outcomes. University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A