NCLB & IDEA Updates from COPAA
- These updates are courtesy of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA - http://www.copaa.org ):
The final regs for the IDEA paperwork reduction pilot and 3-year IEP pilot went to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review last week. COPAA's comments on the two pilots are at http://www.copaa.org/news/regulations.html. The proposed regs for Part C (infants & toddlers) have been there since Feb. OMB review can take up to 90 days, although there is a mechanism for granting additional time and it can always take less than 90 days.
The Dept of Education has issued, and OMB has approved, the final 2% regs under NCLB, allowing up to 20% of students with disabilities to be assessed against alternative achievement standards (34 CFR pt. 200), along with the final version of 300.160 (Assessment Participation). They are here: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/04/04042007.html, along with ED's analysis and press release. COPAA's comments on the initial proposed regs are here: http://www.copaa.org/news/regulations.html.
A few points on the final 2% regs may be of particular interest:
-- The new regs provide that states must set standards through a documented standards-setting process include broad stakeholder input. The role that special educators play as stakeholders is mentioned; the role that parents play is not. Nonetheless, just as with state regs under IDEA, parents and advocates should participate in the development of these state policies and ensure that they are kept informed of the state's process for setting the standards.
-- The new regs permit the IEP team to select a modified achievement standard for students if there is objective evidence that the child will not attain grade-level proficiency. The IEP team must be "reasonably certain" student "will not likely" achieve grade--level proficiency within the year "even if significant growth" occurs. This is a slightly higher standard than what was proposed. COPAA had advocated for a "substantially certain" standard, which would have been higher.
--The proposed regs had required that children receive "high quality" instruction before IEP team decides they are given the alternative assessment; the final regs require only "appropriate" instruction.
--Regs provide that students in the 2% group must receive challenging instruction and have access to the curriculum and instruction for the grade in which they are enrolled. Standards must be aligned with the child's grade but may be less difficult than grade-level standards.
--Parents must be informed that their children are receiving alternative assessments. Commentary acknowledges that IDEA requires that this be included in the IEP. The IEP team must receive clear explanation of the differences between the various assessments, including the effect on the child's education (e.g. if child won't qualify for a regular diploma).
--The size of the subgroups for which schools report Annual Yearly Progress is important. If schools have fewer students w/disabilities than the subgroup minimum, they don't have to separately report AYP for the disabilities subgroup. The new regulations provide that all subgroups be the same size. But the regulations do not require states to use small subgroups. Nor do they require states currently using different size subgroups to use the smallest subgroup they currently use.
--The final regs add new a new provision for determining AYP for students with disabilities, States may include the scores of children who have exited special education for 2 years after they exited. Hence, students who no longer have disabilities requiring special education and presumably score higher on the tests will be counted in determining whether the group of children with disabilities has made AYP. For other reporting, though, the exited students will not be included.
300.160 (Participation in assessments)
--States must develop guidelines for accommodations on state and district-wide assessments, which identify only those accommodations that will not invalidate a score. IEP teams may only choose from these accommodations.
--State/LEA "must" use universal design principles in assessments "to the extent possible."
--300.160 contains similar rules as the 2% regs re information that must be provided to IEP team and parents explaining differences between assessments and any effect that might have on child's education.
--State/LEA must report number of children given regular assessments, number who received accommodations that didn't invalidate score, and number participating in the modified assessments. The reports must not reveal personally-identifiable information about students.Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
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