New State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report Requirements Are Coming—Soon We Think!

In anticipation of the release of the final new State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) package from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the IDEA Data Center (IDC) has planned a webinar series to discuss the changes and challenges the new requirements will bring. The first of these webinars was on Thursday, September 17. We based this initial webinar on the last proposed version of the package that OSEP shared for public comment in July, since states were eager to hear information about the changes as currently proposed.

The September webinar included a review of the proposed changes and the implications for states and their SPP/APR processes. IDC also invited Nora Parella of California to discuss her state’s planning activities. She shared work the state is already doing in anticipation of the proposed changes and her timeline of activities leading up to the February 2022 submission of the FFY 2020 SPP/APR under the new package.

Presenters also discussed new requirements for stakeholder involvement and potential changes in how states must analyze data for indicators that use surveys. These changes include additional reporting requirements to make sure respondents are representative of the target population, including key demographics such as racial and ethnic makeup, gender, geographic location, and other variables the state selected.

IDC plans to continue the webinar series over the next several months, with the next webinar scheduled for October 26. We will address topics such as a recap of the expected or final changes to the SPP/APR package and review any additional information released by OSEP. Other topics IDC is planning for this webinar series include more information about stakeholder requirements, impacts of indicator changes, and setting new baselines and targets.

While there are proposed changes to multiple indicators, there are select indicators that likely will remain the same. For the indicators that likely will not change, there may be data quality issues as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that may necessitate that states modify their current practices to meet the new requirements.

IDC now offers an SPP/APR Data Quality Peer Group (DQPG) led by Nancy O’Hara and Chris Thacker that provides opportunities for interactive discussion among the state participants to delve more deeply into topics than time allows on the monthly webinars. In addition, IDC offers other IDC DQPGs and Peer-to-Peer Exchanges that focus more specifically on individual indicators. Contact your IDC State Liaison for more information on these DQPGs. Through these activities and other IDC resources, our goal is to provide SEAs and their staff the technical assistance needed to support high-quality IDEA Data.

–Chris Thacker