IDC Buzz

Weblogs, questions and answers, stories from the field, and our all-new IDC newsletter, The Bee: This is where our voices come together to generate buzz.


Our IDC team has tales to tell and lessons to impart. Check this space for our stories, our voices, updated frequently.

Say “Hello” to an Engaging and Interactive Way to Become a Better Data Quality Influencer
Have you heard the buzz? There’s a new way to learn more about IDC tools and resources and enhance your role as a data quality influencer: IDC’s exclusive Hands-On Learning Academies (HOLAs). Read on to learn more about our February 2023 Preschool Environments HOLA and get an insider’s view of these fun and intimate meetings that offer states an opportunity to learn and connect like never before.
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EDFacts Modernization: New Year, New Opportunities
2023 brings new opportunities to further strengthen our collaboration and to promote strong data quality. As we now know, this year will bring the new EDPass system, along with new processes to follow and new opportunities to endorse and improve data quality and data use.
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Costumes, Candy Corn, and Child Count: Step Into Autumn With EDFacts Modernization
Ah, autumn. For many of us, it’s time to enjoy crisp air, take a trip to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard, and reorganize the closet to put the warm sweaters in front. Of course, fall marks another important annual tradition: developing or updating your data processes documentation for the Child Count and Educational Environments data collection.
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EDFacts Modernization: What It Is, What It Does
On the heels of OSEP’s Leadership Conference and the STATS-DC Data Conference, your thoughts may now be turning to the EDFacts modernization effort and what it all means for you. Fear not! IDC is here to help. In the second installment of this monthly blog series we'll cover topics surrounding the modernization and how it affects the process of collecting and reporting high-quality special education data.
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The New EDFacts Collection Package: Where to Begin
You may have heard that the EDFacts Information Collection Package for SY2022–23, 2023–24, and 2024–25 is now available. You may even have already begun to explore everything it has to offer. Or maybe, just maybe, you may now be wondering where to begin. Where indeed? The answer to that question is to first familiarize yourself with what has changed, including Section 618 data technical corrections, revisions to data collection categories, and the addition of some brand-new elements to the collections. 
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Make a List of What You (May Not) Know: The IDC Comprehensive Tool & Product List and Me
As an IDC TA provider and someone who once served the Colorado Department of Education, I’m afforded a somewhat unusual perspective on IDC’s technical assistance work from both sides of the equation. At IDC, I’m in a position to know our resources well. However, during my time as a Part B data manager—and like many others in such a role—I naturally focused on whatever issue was most immediately at hand.
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Beyond Significant Disproportionality: Using “Likelihood Ratios” to Address Subgroup Differences in Graduation and Dropout
Significant disproportionality calculations rely on risk ratios to dive deeper into subgroup differences in outcome data, such as identification, placement, and discipline. Risk ratios are a useful tool in a state’s data analysis toolbox. What if the same tool could be used to identify subgroup differences in other student outcome data? Even better, what if the same tool could be applied to student outcome data that are already collected by states and districts? Let’s explore one potential option for states to examine these subgroup differences using commonly collected data: graduation and dropout.
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Get to the “Root” of the Problem to Get to the Best Solutions
In the world of education, our ultimate goal is to have all students succeed. When there are barriers to student success, we don’t always know how or even where to begin fixing problems. This is especially true when addressing complex issues, such as significant disproportionality, for which a simple data review may not tell the whole story or create a complete picture of the problem. This is where root cause analysis comes in.
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Looking at Data in New Ways: Supporting State and Local Staff in Root Cause Analysis Work
As they engaged their local staff in data PLC, HIDOE staff reached out to IDC for consultation about ways to support staff in data and root cause analysis work. Annie Kalama, Director of the HIDOE Exceptional Support Branch said, “It's important for...
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How Can You Help Stakeholders Better Understand and Use Significant Disproportionality Data? Part 2
In Part 1 of this blog post, we mentioned how one of the key goals for sharing education data is to build understanding, and we shared some raw numbers of a sample district’s significant disproportionality data.  In Part 2, we will explore how data visualization can be a powerful tool that you can use to better engage your stakeholders with this type of data.   Common forms of data visualization are graphs, charts, tables, and similar types of drawings.  However, because of the nature of significant disproportionality data, stakeholders can find it difficult to interpret the data even in a data visualization, so here are some effective strategies to enhance understanding.
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How Can You Help Stakeholders Better Understand and Use Significant Disproportionality Data? Part 1
Imagine 15 percent of your district’s special education budget is withheld suddenly because of a state finding of “significant disproportionality.” Staff and stakeholders do not fully understand why—and now you must explain in detail to your district leadership what happened and what the district must do to fix the issue.
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High-Quality Preschool Environments Data
Collecting and reporting high-quality preschool environments data for State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) Indicator 6 can be a complex and multilayered responsibility for states and districts. It starts at the preschool child’s individualized education program (IEP) meeting, where IEP team members select the most appropriate preschool environment for the child to receive special education and related services. Team members need to understand the differences among the preschool environments and the reasons for serving a child in a particular environment in order to make decisions about serving preschool children in the least restrictive environment (LRE). State information systems (or statewide IEP systems) then must accurately reflect each of these team decisions in order to produce high-quality preschool environments data.
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The Rates, They Are a-Changin’
Bob Dylan probably didn’t know much about graduation rates or dropout rates, but we do! Let IDC help you understand the changes in data sources and methodologies for Part B Indicators 1 and 2 in the FFY 2020–2025 SPP/APR. So, “come gather round...
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Level Up Your IDEA Data Trainings With Gamification!
There are many ways to influence IDEA data quality. Among them is helping states, locals, and other stakeholders understand the importance of collecting, reporting, and using high-quality data and how to improve data quality. Learning about and...
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How Are Statewide Assessment Data Like Window Shades? Transparency Matters
My first home purchase was a small condo on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It was on the top floor of a new building and had a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows across the back of the living room. This condo was quite an upgrade from the basement...
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Our quarterly newsletter is designed to keep you up to date and in the know.

This image reads "The Bee, Spring." A bee has landed on some flowers.

Our Spring 2023 Edition Has Sprung!

Pack it in, winter. In this spring edition of The Bee, we cover timely resources and online tools, plus a Q&A with IDC TA Lead Christina MacDonald. Read on for all the latest.

Read the Spring 2023 Edition
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Check Out Past Issues

Wuxtry! Wuxtry! Did you miss an issue of The Bee? No, you didn't! You can find past editions right here on our digital newsstand. 

View Past Issues

Hive Mind

Our IDC team brings with it a lifetime of experiences, insight, and collective wisdom that informs our work and shapes who we are. Check this space for an insider's glimpse at what makes us tick.

10 Questions with...Christina MacDonald

Christina MacDonald is an IDC TA specialist. In that role, she helps state and local education agencies consider their unique context and vision and works with them to identify how data can support the next steps in achieving their unique goals. She was kind enough to sit down with us recently to answer some important questions.

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10 Questions with...Rachel Wilkinson

Rachel Wilkinson is an IDC State Liaison who provides technical assistance and support around IDEA Part B data, co-leads data-quality peer groups, and assists with the development of tools and resources based on needs from the field. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us.

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10 Questions with...Amber Stohr

Amber Stohr is an IDC State Liaison and TA Specialist working to develop resources and tools for SEAs to use in their efforts to enhance data quality and reporting. She sat down with us to answer some burning questions.

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10 Questions with...Chris Thacker

Chris Thacker is a State Liaison with IDC who provides technical assistance to states both on-site and virtually in addition to developing tools and products that help states with the submission of their Section 618 data and the SPP/APR. In his pre-IDC life, Chris also worked in both underground and surface coal mines and has been a revenue officer for the IRS. Intrigued, we sat down with Chris to learn more.

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10 Questions with...Lee Anne Sulzberger

TA Specialist and IDC’s Project Manager Lee Anne Sulzberger knows that positive relationship building is critical when it comes to helping state and local agencies build their capacity for high-quality special education data. She recently sat down with us to help build that connection by answering some thoughtful—and fun—questions about her life in and out of IDC. 

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Clapper 2

Lights! Camera! Data!

Want information about the special education data that states collect but don't know where to start? This video series from IDC offers an introduction to the data that states are required to report as part of IDEA's Section 618. Popcorn not included.

Watch the Videos


Now that you've learned a bit more about our team, why not take a moment to connect with your very own IDC technical assistance provider? 

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