The Assessment
Data Journey


Assessment data follow a long and complicated road that begins when a student is registered as a test taker in a state assessment system and ends with meeting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reporting requirements as Part B Indicator 3 in the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), in Section 618, and for meeting reporting requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Part B data managers often report that their general education and assessment colleagues may not appreciate the importance of submitting timely, accurate, and complete data for Part B Indicator 3 by the December submission date. Given that Part B Indicator 3 data collection requires involvement from multiple actors (e.g., special education staff, assessment staff, EDFacts coordinator and submitter, assessment vendors), it is critical that everyone has a clear understanding of the process by which the state collects, validates, submits, and reports data for Part B Indicator 3.

To start the conversation about assessment data, IDC has developed a Dialogue Guide to accompany this infographic. There is also a PowerPoint version about the Assessment Journey and a 2-page Handout that is a printable version of the infographic.

Alternative Version

Follow along the Part B Indicator 3 roadway for general information about this process for a typical state and select the road signs for more insights about

  • Junctures where building additional understanding of key terms, expectations, and processes may be helpful for all relevant parties
  • Crucial points where the special education process differs from that of general education
  • Instances where possible challenges or mis-communications may arise
  • Opportunities for staff across divisions to collaborate to ensure timely, accurate, and complete submission of data


Preparation of Data Files for Assessment Administration

The state creates or updates a student registration file capturing “point-in-time” information (demographics, etc.) about all students. School systems regularly review student registration files to check the accuracy of the data, add new students, and remove students who exit the system.

Administration of Assessment

Many students participate in general statewide assessments in reading and mathematics, generally in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.

Validation of Assessment Data

The assessment vendor scores, cleans, and validates assessment data. Schools and districts receive preliminary assessment files for review during an appeals process and communicate any concerns to the state.

The Part B data manager, in collaboration with the EDFacts coordinator, conducts data validation checks and “signs off” on data as finalized.

EDFacts Federal Data Submission

States submit assessment annually in December through the EDFacts Submission System (ESS).

The assessment director confirms that the EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS) Assessment Metadata Survey responses were reviewed by the EDFacts coordinator.

The EDFacts submitter prepares the ESS file based on data from the Part B data manager and uploads the assessment files into the ESS.

SPP/APR Submission

By February 1st, each state and territory submits its SPP/APR, reporting its implementation of IDEA Part B and describing its performance in meeting its SPP targets.

OSEP reviews each indicator in the SPP/APR and offers feedback and an opportunity to clarify or correct the information
(typically in April).

OSEP evaluates and makes an annual determination for each state and territory under Section 616(d) of IDEA
(typically in June).

Public Reporting

States make their SPP/ APR publicly available within 120 days of initial submission to OSEP.