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Making the Most of Your LEA Determinations

To improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities, it is vital that states effectively monitor the implementation of special education programs in each LEA. According to IDEA, state’s monitoring activities must focus on improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children and youth with disabilities and ensuring that public agencies meet the program requirements under Part B of IDEA.

What data do states use when making LEA determinations? IDEA requires states to consider the following information in annual LEA determinations: performance on Part B SPP compliance indicators (4B, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13), valid and reliable data, correction of identified noncompliance, and other relevant data available to the state (see OSERS’s Questions and Answers on Monitoring, Technical Assistance, and Enforcement). States do have some latitude in selecting additional data elements to include when making LEA determinations, with some states electing to increase their focus on student results and outcomes.

Why should states include results data in LEA determinations? Results data for children and youth with disabilities can enhance LEA determinations by providing a more robust picture of student performance. Of the 28 states with publicly posted LEA determinations criteria, over half currently include results data from SPP/APR indicators. Many states have highlighted the value of moving toward a results-driven accountability model of monitoring LEAs to identify priority areas and develop targeted resources and support.

As you think about your state’s LEA determinations process, consider the value of expanding the data your state uses for making determinations. How is your state using these determinations to improve student outcomes? What data are best to use for effective evaluation of special education programs? Digging into these questions can help you select additional data elements you may want to include in your state’s LEA determinations process and, as a result, help you make the most of your LEA determinations.

—Rachel Wilkinson

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