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  • Special Education

    Strategic Areas

    Building Blocks Logo: Better Longitudinal Outcomes for Children in pre-K
    1. Families
      The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) support families and districts to develop partnerships. Parents are equal partners in all steps of the IEP process. Family engagement is essential for improving outcomes for young children with disabilities. ECSE staff collaborates with several internal and external partners to provide resources for the development of parent and community involvement in education. The following links can be useful to assist families and schools build partnerships.

    2. Early Childhood Transitions
      The Department collects data and reports to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on the implementation of the IEP by 3 years of age for children who have been found eligible for special education and who have been referred from an Early Intervention (EI) program.

      Transition to Preschool or Kindergarten is an exciting and challenging time for young children and their families. Resources in early childhood transition and knowledge of best practices will make the transition easier and ensure positive outcomes for children.

      1. Guidance and Resources
        1. Early Intervention
          Early Intervention, in the Department of Public Health, provides family-centered services to help children who qualify to develop the skills they will need to continue to grow into happy and healthy members of the community

        2. A Guide to Best Practices in Early Childhood Transition
          This guide is the result of a collaborative effort between the Departments of Early Education and Care, Public Health, and Elementary and Secondary Education.

        3. Frequently Asked Questions: Transition from Early Intervention to Special Education
          A Technical Assistance (TA) document that was prepared by the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Public Health, and Early Education and Care, in cooperation with participants in the Early Childhood Transition Forums, March 2012, revised and updated October 2013.

    3. Child Outcomes
      Massachusetts collects and reports data on outcomes for young children three to five years old with disabilities in three federally required focus areas. These areas are:

      • Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships)
      • Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (language and literacy)
      • Use of appropriate behaviors to meet needs

      To collect this data Massachusetts uses the Child Outcomes Summary Process (COS Process). The COS process is a team process for summarizing information related to a child's progress on each of the three child outcome areas. This valuable information can be used to inform instruction at the individual, classroom, and school level as well as help develop more functional IEP goals for young children.

      1. Guidance and Resources
        1. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA)
          This section of the ECTA Center website provides child and family outcomes measurement tools and references for state and local administrators, technical assistance providers, teachers, other direct service providers, and families.

      2. Forms
        1. The Child Outcomes Summary Process and Form
          Instructions on how to use the Child Outcomes Summary Form including: basic directions for filling out the form, definitions of the outcomes ratings, and scoring methods and considerations.

        2. The Decision Tree
          The decision tree is as a tool for training in the use of the COS Form. The tree is a series of questions about the extent to which a child exhibits age-appropriate skills and behaviors in each outcome area. Responses guide the user to a specific rating category on the 7-point scale.

      3. Data Collection
        1. The Data Collection Schedule by Cohort
          The data collection schedule and district cohort assignments for activities conducted as part of the Massachusetts State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (MA SPP/APR). This is a required activity for LEAs reporting on Indicator 7 - Early Childhood Special Education Outcomes.

        2. Indicator 7 Data Submission FAQ
          Prepared by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to answer questions relevant to using the ECOS Database for Indicator 7 data submission.

        3. District User Guide for Indicator 7 Data Submission

        4. School User Guide for Indicator 7 Data Submission

        5. Indicator 7 Frequently Asked Questions
          A Technical Assistance (TA) document that was prepared by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to answer questions relevant to Indicator 7 requirements and the data collection process and procedures.

        6. Professional Development Resources for the Child Outcomes Summary Process
          Resources provided by the ECTA Center to assist learners to understand the current requirements and the historical roots of federal accountability, the various purposes and uses of outcomes measurement, and an in-depth description of the three child outcomes and the functional nature of the outcomes.

        7. Indicator 7 Training Material

    Last Updated: February 10, 2022

    Contact Us

    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

    Voice: (781) 338-3000
    TTY: (800) 439-2370


    Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.