Standards

Most Standards Equal For Spec. Ed. Students

By Lisa Goldstein — January 28, 2004 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Nearly all states have established the same content standards in mathematics and reading for students with and without disabilities, according to early findings from a federal report on the state and local implementation of the main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The data tables are scheduled to be available Jan. 28 from the Study of State and Local Implementation and Impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The findings for the 2002-03 school year show an increase from 1999-2000, when just nine out of 10 states had the same content standards in math and reading. Both the IDEA and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 require that students with disabilities have access to the same content and standards as students without disabilities.

Sponsored by the office of special education programs in the U.S. Department of Education, the study was conducted by the policy research firm Abt Associates Inc.'s Bethesda, Md., office. A full draft report will be presented to the Education Department in April, said Ellen Schiller, a spokeswoman for Abt.

See Also...

View the accompanying chart, “Standards and Students With Disabilities.”

The organization did not provide exact numbers of states, only percentages.

The researchers based the findings on surveys collected from all 50 states, and a nationally representative sample of districts and schools. The group surveyed 959 districts, with an 87 percent response rate, and 4,448 schools, with a 74 percent response rate, Ms. Schiller said.

“We can see states and districts have made clear progress to include students with disabilities in content standards, to ensure access to opportunities,” Ms. Schiller said last week.

The findings also show 90 percent of states had the same performance standards in math and reading for students with and without disabilities in the 2002-03 school year, up from 78 percent in 1999- 2000.

Rachel Quenemoen, a senior fellow at the National Center on Educational Outcomes, located in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota, said the results show that most states are falling in line with legal requirements that students with disabilities have access to the same educational content.

“It’s been pretty clear the expectation has been that all kids worked on the same content to the same standards,” Ms. Quenemoen said. “A message is becoming clear that from a federal-law perspective, states couldn’t defend having different standards for students with disabilities.”

Rewards and Sanctions

The survey also looked at how states reward and penalize districts or schools on the basis of test performance. Only a small number of states offered rewards and sanctions based on the scores of students with disabilities.

In the 2002-03 school year, 58 percent of states penalized districts or schools based on student test performance, but only 10 percent penalized schools on the basis of data about students in special education. Meanwhile, 39 percent of states offered rewards to districts and schools for test performance, with only 4 percent of states using separate data on the test scores of students with disabilities for that purpose, according to the findings.

States and districts face challenges in compiling the information to publicly report data on test scores, the researchers found, especially in breaking out information for subgroups of students, such as those with disabilities. Such breakdowns by subgroup are required under the No Child Left Behind law. Seventy-three percent of school districts publicly report on aggregated test scores of students with disabilities, and 46 percent break out the information on students with disabilities, according to the study.

A version of this article appeared in the January 28, 2004 edition of Education Week as Most Standards Equal For Spec. Ed. Students

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion After All That Commotion, Was the Common Core a Big Nothingburger?
The Common Core State Standards may not have had an impact on student outcomes, but they did make school improvement tougher and more ideological.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty