Massachusetts Annual Performance Report School Year 2003-04
The Massachusetts Annual Performance Report: Students with Disabilities School Year 2003-04 provides an overview of activities related to special education specific to federally identified clusters for the period beginning July 1, 2003 and ending June 31, 2004. This report responds to the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), section 34 CFR 80.40.
This report is organized into five cluster areas defined by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Within each cluster area, the APR includes federal requirements, Massachusetts' data and information gathered through our collaborative work in Massachusetts and with our Massachusetts Steering Committee, as well as other pertinent data. The APR also integrates the state's self-assessment, or Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP), which identifies key areas of focus and plans for improvement. These areas are clearly identified throughout the APR. Please note that the CIP is a "living" document that is reviewed and revised each year based on the input of the State Special Education Steering Committee. The results of special education monitoring activities for ALL special education criterion are included in Appendix B.3 Overview of 2003 - 2004 Coordinated Program Review (CPR) Findings.
In addition, the 2003-04 APR provides requested information identified by OSEP in a letter dated November 2004, resulting from a review of Massachusetts' 2002-03 APR.
Content of Each Cluster Area
Each cluster area responds to a federal inquiry consisting of underlying compliance components, identifies an overall goal and measurable targets, gauges performance through indicators established for the reporting period, details the reasons for slippage and/or progress, and identifies planned activities for school year 2004-05.
Cluster Area Summaries
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) describes its process for evaluating the State in its activities around the federally selected categories of Cluster I: General Supervision, Cluster II: Early Childhood Transition, Cluster III: Parent Involvement, Cluster IV: Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment (FAPE), and Cluster V: Secondary Transition. An asterisk notes goals or targets of students with disabilities that are consistent with the goals and targets of students without disabilities.
Cluster 1 - General Supervision
Cluster I: General Supervision examines the goal that effective general supervision of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is ensured through the State Education Agency's (SEA) utilization of mechanisms that result in all eligible children with disabilities having an opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This cluster specifically details the general supervision instruments and procedures (including monitoring, complaint and hearing resolutions, complaint investigations, mediations, and due process hearings) used by ESE to ensure that federal special education requirements are met. The cluster reviews ESE's indicators of its effectiveness in correcting IDEA noncompliance in a timely manner and identifies and considers the instruments and procedures used to identify and remediate systemic issues.
In addition, this cluster evaluates the availability of administrators, teachers, related service providers, paraprofessionals, and other providers to meet the identified educational needs of all children with disabilities and details ESE's procedures and practices to ensure timely and accurate collection and reporting of data.
This cluster ends with a discussion on ESE's efforts to increase the validity of reported data and to create systems of collections that enforce timely and accurate reporting including ESE's movement toward an entire student-level collection of data, the consolidation of multiple reports, the addition of validations, and the clarification of required data (including educational environment/placement data) via training sessions, web support and technical assistance.
Cluster II - Early Childhood Transition
Cluster II: Early Childhood Transition examines the goal that all children who are eligible for Part B services must receive special education and related services by their third birthday. This cluster specifically investigates whether local educational agencies (LEAs) initiate and have methods of ensuring that students who are referred by Part C (Early Intervention) and found eligible for Part B special education services have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in effect by the date of their third birthday. This cluster also details the results of the Coordinated Program Reviews (CPR) that LEAs have appropriate methods of outreach and continuous liaison with other local agencies in order to identify students in need of special education.
Cluster III - Parent Involvement
Cluster III: Parent Involvement focuses on the goal that the provision of a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities is facilitated through parent involvement in special education services. Specifically, this cluster reviews data related to reviewing LEAs policies and procedures to initiate and have appropriate methods of ensuring that parents are invited to either attend or participate in Team meetings in alternative ways and identifies the counts of parents of students with disabilities who are invited to participate in Team meetings over a specific period of time for those communities participating in CPRs each year.
Cluster IV - Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment
Cluster IV: Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment (FAPE) examines data related to the goal that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment that promotes a high quality education and prepares them for employment and independent living. This cluster remains the largest of all the clusters since it encompasses a variety of FAPE issues.
First, it explores the policies and procedures of LEAs to address issues of disproportionality in their district and the methods of ESE to ensure appropriate local policies. Disproportionality refers to the over or under representation of specific groups of students, including students with disabilities, in selected categories. Second, this section details efforts to ensure that the percentage of children with disabilities, by race/ethnicity, receiving special education is proportionate to the percentage of children, by race/ethnicity, in the general population and their educational environments.
Next, this section examines the high school dropout rates for children with disabilities as compared to dropout rates for nondisabled children. This area also examines the graduation rate for students with disabilities as compared to the graduation rate for nondisabled students and discusses Massachusetts specific considerations related to our state graduation requirements, the competency determination rate, and our data collection activities. Fifth, suspension/expulsion data are examined in relation to the rates for children with disabilities as compared to nondisabled children.
This cluster also analyzes student performance as it relates to the requirement for proficiency (under NCLB) and considers the achievement to date of students with disabilities in English Language Arts and Mathematics using data from our Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Specifically, this cluster explores the participation and performance of students with disabilities compared to nondisabled students in English/Language Arts and Mathematics and meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and the AYP determination process.
Next, this section reviews data related to placement of students with disabilities and the cluster concludes with report on Early Learning Services in Massachusetts.
Cluster V - Secondary Transition
Cluster V: Secondary Transition details ESE's efforts and data related to the goal of ensuring that students with disabilities have effective and appropriate preparation for post-school activities, such as employment or education. ESE details its efforts in this area and highlights this area as a key initiative area for our statewide continuous improvement plan.