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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Results Matter (Now) for Students with LD and ADHD

From Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities

By Candace Cortiella
October 8, 2012

After years of focusing solely on compliance with paperwork-oriented measures to determine how states are doing in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Dept. of Education has decided to change course.

Announced recently on its website, OSEP’s plan to “shift the balance from a system focused primarily on compliance to one that puts more emphasis on results” is dubbed Results-Driven Accountability, or RDA.

As part of the planning process, OSEP wants to engage stakeholders and hear ideas for re-framing its accountability system to more effectively focus on improving educational results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities. They’re posing a series of questions and asking for comments.

Implications for Students with LD

So what does RDA mean for students with LD and ADHD? A lot!

The shift means that attention will now be paid to how students served under IDEA are performing on state assessments in reading and math, the rate at which they are leaving school with a regular diploma, and the rate at which they are dropping out.

While part of the reporting system required of states, these data have not previously played a role in the annual determinations given to states (available HERE.)

As a result, states that have low graduation rates for students with LD can, in fact, be given a determination of “meets requirements” of IDEA. The same goes for states with low proficiency rates on reading and math assessments.

These measures should be the focus of each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), so why shouldn’t they matter in reviewing states’ performance?

Everyone interested in seeing improvements to the outcomes of students with disabilities should learn about RDA, provide comments, and follow along as the process moves forward.

More information on Results-Driven Accountability is HERE.

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