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Addressing Disproportionality: 2006 Summer Institute Using IDEA's Exclusionary Factors in Special Education Evaluation: Developing an IEP Team Toolkit Craig A. Albers, PhD, NCSP University of Wisconsin-Madison John Humphries, NCSP WI Department of Public Instruction

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addressing disproportionality 2006 summer institute

Addressing Disproportionality:2006 Summer Institute

Using IDEA's Exclusionary Factors in Special Education Evaluation: Developing an IEP Team Toolkit

Craig A. Albers, PhD, NCSP

University of Wisconsin-Madison

John Humphries, NCSP

WI Department of Public Instruction

legal requirements for exclusionary factors
Legal Requirements for Exclusionary Factors
  • PL 89-10 (1965): Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    • Precursor to IDEA
    • First mention of services and “specialized instruction and equipment . . . for persons who are handicapped. . . ."
    • No mention of eligibility or exclusionary factors; more of a focus on low-income students
  • PL 94-142 (1975)
    • Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975
  • PL 98-199 (1983)
    • Education of Handicapped Act Amendments of 1983
      • “The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.” [SLD]
current legal requirements for exclusionary factors
Current Legal Requirements for Exclusionary Factors
  • §300.306 (Determination of Eligibility) (b) Special rule for eligibility determination. A child must not be determined to be a child with a disability under this part--
  • (1) If the determinant factor for that determination is--
    • (i) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction (as defined in section 1208(3) of the ESEA);
    • (ii) Lack of appropriate instruction in math; or
    • (iii) Limited English proficiency.
current legal requirements for exclusionary factors relating to sld
Current Legal Requirements for Exclusionary Factors relating to SLD
  • §300.309 Determining the existence of a specific learning disability
    • (3) The group determines that its findings under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section are not primarily the result of--

(i) A visual, hearing, or motor disability;

(ii) Mental retardation;

(iii) Emotional disturbance;

(iv) Cultural factors;

(v) Environmental or economic disadvantage; or

(vi) Limited English proficiency.

required documentation
Required Documentation

§300.311 Specific documentation for the eligibility determination.

(6) The determination of the group concerning the effects of a visual, hearing, or motor disability; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited English proficiency on the child’s achievement level.

how are exclusionary factors used in wisconsin
How are Exclusionary Factors used in Wisconsin?
  • 2005 WSPA Survey of School Psychologists
    • Over 200 respondents of the 941 licensed WI school psychologists (representing every CESA) revealed that a vast majority of IEP Teams (>60%) make little or no documentation of any exclusionary factors.
    • Denying special educational services because of the exclusionary factors was even more rare (~90% of IEP Teams made fewer than 4 denials in the course of the 2003-2004 school year).
time for a quiz
Time for a Quiz!
  • Can a 3rd grade ELL student who is having difficulty learning to read and do mathematics be classified as having a Specific Learning Disability?

YES OR NO?

  • Can a 5th grade student who has missed approximately 27% of days since beginning kindergarten receive special education services?

YES OR NO?

orienting questions
Orienting Questions
  • Have you ever had a student where you felt that IF the child did not receive special education services, that he or she would not receive any services at all?
  • Has the above rationale ever been mentioned in an eligibility team meeting?
  • Have you ever been on a team that determined a child should not receive special education services because of the presence of exclusionary factors?
orienting questions9
Orienting Questions
  • Do you know of any student that was placed in special education so that he or she could receive services (implicitly or explicitly), even though you felt that he or she did not actually have a disability?
foundations of exclusionary factors toolkit
Foundations of Exclusionary Factors & Toolkit

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO THE WRONG THING!

foundations of exclusionary factors toolkit12
Foundations of Exclusionary Factors & Toolkit
  • Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…contribute to the appropriate level of services for all students, whether through federally-mandated special education services or through locally-based (i.e., school level) intervention services. We recognize the legal and ethical requirements for providing appropriate services to students with disabilities through special education placements; however, we also recognize that the placement of students without disabilities in special education programs is detrimental to the student and is an inappropriate allocation of resources. We stress that exclusionary factors should serve as a motivator for the development of locally-based universal and selected intervention options to more appropriately provide services to students without disabilities but who still have educational and developmental needs.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are not recognized as only being a special education issue. Instead, regular education also has to be connected to exclusionary factors, in recognition of regular education and special education services being provided along a continuum and not as distinct and separate entities.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors14
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are considered with all students; however, we also realize that the issue of exclusionary factors is directly connected to the issue of overrepresentation of racially, culturally, ethnic, economically disadvantaged, and language diverse students.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors15
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are systematic, systemic, and data-driven. Consideration of exclusionary factors should occur at all levels throughout the school system and occur in a systematic way, and be based on data. Schools should strive to avoid being data rich and information poor.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors16
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are recognized as being a double-edged sword. While exclusionary factors are intended to prevent inappropriate placement, concern exists that exclusionary factors can be misinterpreted and misused, resulting in students with disabilities being excluded from receiving legally entitled services.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors17
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are applied and interpreted in such a method to increase understanding of the school-based and individual differences of the student.

our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors18
Our purpose is to ensure that special education exclusionary factors…

…are considered at pre-referral and post-referral time points. This requires understanding of multifaceted and inter-related factors.

slide19
Although many issues are connected to the inappropriate placement of students in special education programs, and many factors contribute to the overrepresentation of racially, culturally, ethnic, economically disadvantaged, and language diverse students, the appropriate use of exclusionary factors will enhance appropriate placement and service provision for all students.
slide20

What are the Drawbacks of Ignoring Exclusionary Factors and Placing Children in Special Education when the Child does not have a Disability?

  • Negative affects of being labeled as having a disability when one does not actually exist
  • Lowered expectations
  • Watered-down curriculum
  • Inappropriate allocation of resources
  • Many more!
example of mislabeling consequences which would you prefer
Example 1

During an annual exam, a doctor discovers I have high cholesterol.

This leads him to diagnose me with heart disease.

Further, because of the diagnosed heart disease, he is considering recommending by-pass surgery.

Implications for obtaining life insurance, health insurance, etc.

Personal (di)stress

Example 2

During an annual exam, a doctor discovers I have high cholesterol.

This leads him to diagnose me with high cholesterol.

First stage of treatment is an improved diet and more exercise.

Second stage (if necessary) is treatment with medications.

Surgery does not happen unless blockages are also discovered at a later stage.

Example of Mislabeling Consequences – Which would you prefer?
domains of focus
Domains of Focus
  • Learner
  • Instruction
  • Curriculum
  • Classroom and school environment disadvantage
  • Environmental disadvantage
  • Economic disadvantage
  • Cultural disadvantage
learner domain
Learner Domain
  • Most evaluations tend to be focused on the learner rather than on other domains.
    • Internal versus extrinsic factors
    • This appears to be the result of the prevailing belief that a student who is not successful in school and who does not respond to immediately available classroom interventions must have a disability if their assessment results meet the criteria for disability.
    • Unfortunately, assessment focused primarily on the learner ignores other possible reasons for delayed achievement.
    • Methods of examining this domain include the use of RTI models, motivational interviewing, etc.
learner domain examples
LEP/ELL (influence of second language acquisition on learning)

Visual disability

Hearing disability

Motor Disabilities

Impaired cognitive functioning

Emotional disturbance

Autism spectrum disorders

Emotional Stress

Difficulty adjusting to home or school

Lack of motivation

A student’s academic performance and behavior may be impacted by a temporary crisis situation

School absences due to poor physical health

Poor school performance and behavior resulting from illegal chemical use

Learner Domain Examples
slide25

Instead of looking at what is “wrong” with the child (e.g., internal deficit), the remaining exclusionary factors look at deficits external to the child

instruction domain
Instruction Domain
  • (b) To ensure that underachievement in a child suspected of having a specific learning disability is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider, as part of the evaluation described in §300.304 through 300.306

(1) Data that demonstrate that prior to, or as a part of, the referral process, the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings, delivered by qualified personnel; and

(2) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, which was provided to the child’s parents.

instruction domain27
Instruction Domain
  • IDEA’04 references the NCLB in requiring scientifically-based instruction. Further, the language of NCLB was shaped around the 2000 National Reading Panel report, which states that scientifically-based reading instruction should include instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, including the teaching of early literacy skills.
  • Assessing lack of instruction could mean that students in 3rd or 4th grade who are significantly behind their peers should not be found to be disabled if there is no clear history of instruction in reading that follows the NCLB requirements and that this lack of instruction is the determinant factor in the student’s difficulties.
instruction domain28
Lack of evidenced-based reading programs such as Reading Recovery, Reading Mastery, and Success for All, which include the essential components of reading instruction (e.g. explicit instruction, phonemic awareness, etc.)

Lack of instruction in math

Lack of exposure to relevant cognitive tasks

Little to no progress monitoring utilized to inform and individualize instruction

Students not taught at appropriate instructional levels

Failure to examine student behavior in relation to instruction to identify deterrents to learning

Poor instructional planning

Instruction Domain
instruction domain29
Instruction Domain

Instructional Match (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Accurate assessment of the student’s level of skill development
  • Instructional goals and objectives matched to the student’s skills
  • Assigned tasks relevant to the student’s background and experience
  • Existence of prerequisite skills necessary to complete assigned tasks
instruction domain30
Instruction Domain

Instructional Match (con’t)

  • Instruction timing and pacing consistent with the student’s skill level and attention span
  • Standards for acceptable daily classroom performance consistent with the students skill development level
  • Skills necessary for the student to complete assigned tasks have been identified through task analysis
  • Student’s success rate on academically relevant tasks appropriate (i.e., 90-100% for independent work)
instruction domain31
Instruction Domain

Instructional Expectations (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Student understanding of what is expected of him/her (e.g., task completion, neatness, accuracy, mastery of instructional goals, etc)
  • Expectation that the student will be an active and involved learner
  • Student accountability for his/her performance and progress
  • Opportunities for active responding
  • Clear communication of the objectives/goals for the instructional lesson so that the student knows what is to be learned
instruction domain32
Instruction Domain

Instructional Presentation(Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Substantive teacher-student interaction (e.g., ask/answer questions, repeat directions, provide feedback)
  • Clear directions that are of reasonable length/complexity for the student
  • Student attention focused and maintained on the critical skills and concepts to be learned
  • Teacher modeling/demonstration sufficient for the student to be initially successful on independent activities
  • Student and teacher enthusiasm about what is being taught
  • Variation in instructional routine/presentation
  • Information structured for the student in a systematic way (advance organizers, review, guided practice)
instruction domain33
Instruction Domain

Cognitive Emphasis (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Student understanding of the purpose of the lesson
  • Effective learning strategies that are used (e.g., memorizing, reasoning, concluding, and evaluating) for the student
  • Student explanation of the process used to solve problems or complete work
  • Student understanding of why and how his / her responses are correct / incorrect
instruction domain34
Instruction Domain

Motivation Strategies (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Encouragement to perform (e.g., shown how, told he / she can do the work)
  • Value of learning emphasized in addition to task completion
  • Student belief that he / she can complete assigned tasks with success
  • Student understanding of the importance of tasks for future activities
instruction domain35
Instruction Domain

Motivation Strategies (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)

  • Task relevance to background and personal experience
  • Level of task appropriateness
  • Enthusiasm and interest by the teacher
  • Ambitious but realistic goals
  • Alternative ways to demonstrate mastery
  • Rewards contingent on mastery or a performance level at which the student can achieve with effort
  • Reinforcement of student progress and achievement
instruction domain36
Instruction Domain

Toolkit materials

  • Classroom observation materials
  • Examination of time-on-task
  • Evaluation of the current classroom’s instructional techniques
  • Materials to assist in the examination of student-instructional match
  • Clarifications of highly qualified staff
  • Progress monitoring components
  • Evidence of data-based decision-making
curriculum domain
Curriculum Domain
  • A strong curriculum in one setting does not automatically mean that it will work in a different environment
    • Needs to be a match between the curriculum and the students, especially in consideration of their background and foundation skills.
    • A great curriculum does not guarantee success for all; other variables are involved.

Things to examine

  • Core components of curricula.
  • The existence of formal evaluation system to analyze the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction (e.g. failure to develop and analyze local norms).
  • Whether exposure to inappropriate curriculum occurs due to unnecessary placement in special education (e.g. overrepresentation of minority children in SpEd).
  • Exposure to inappropriate/antiquated curriculum.
  • Failure of curriculum to prepare students for the academic demands of the subsequent grade level (i.e. lack of curricular cohesiveness between grade levels).
curriculum domain38
Curriculum Domain
  • Reasonable accommodations of the curriculum to meet the student’s unique and specific instructional needs
    • Is instruction systematically adapted so that the student is able to experience success?
    • Are different materials, alternative teaching strategies, increased practice opportunities, or alternative group placements considered when a student fails to master an objective?
    • Does the student receive additional review and practice in areas of difficulty?
classroom school environment domain
Classroom & School Environment Domain
  • Exposure to inappropriate/antiquated academic materials
  • Lack of adequately trained teachers (e.g. district hiring uncertified teachers)
  • Limited to no available bilingual programs
  • English language learners (ELLs) taught by unqualified teachers
  • District size
  • Unmanageable class sizes
  • Lack of opportunities for continued professional development
  • Unmanageable caseloads for student services personnel (e.g. school counselor, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist)
classroom school environment domain40
Classroom & School Environment Domain
  • Inconsistent educational programming
  • Failure to equip classrooms with computers and other useful technology important for student growth
  • Schools in poor physical condition (e.g. failure to appropriately control climate- no air conditioning or poor heating system)
  • Failure to maintain control of student behavior leading to chaotic learning environment
classroom school environment domain ysseldyke christenson 2002
Classroom & School Environment Domain(Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)
  • Clear classroom rules and routines that are understood by the student
  • Enforcement of rules that enhance the likelihood that the student will comply with these rules
  • Monitoring of student’s compliance with the rules
  • Student’s ability to manage his/her behavior
  • Student participation in the establishment of classroom rules
  • Sufficient time allocation
  • Productive use of time
classroom school environment domain ysseldyke christenson 200242
Classroom & School Environment Domain(Ysseldyke & Christenson, 2002)
  • Positive, safe, and cooperative classroom environment
  • Reminders about expected behavior in advance of a lesson
  • Classroom management allows for an academic focus (e.g., direct teaching of skills and concepts) and high rates of productivity (e.g., content coverage, work completion)
  • Adequate opportunity to practice with appropriate materials and achieve a high success rate
  • Importance of classroom tasks in achieving instructional goals
  • Relatively immediate feedback and specific information on his / her performance or behavior
  • Active engagement in responding to academic content
environmental disadvantage domain impact of risk and relationship with exclusionary factors
Environmental Disadvantage DomainImpact of Risk and Relationship with Exclusionary Factors

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K), Longitudinal Kindergarten-First Grade Public-Use Data File and Third Grade Restricted-Use Data File, fall 1998, spring 1999, spring 2000, and spring 2002.

environmental disadvantage domain
Environmental Disadvantage Domain
  • Parents may work multiple jobs and have limited to no time to be involved in child’s education
  • Student may take on great responsibilities at home, such as caring for younger siblings while parents are working, and have little time for schoolwork.
  • Poor children often have limited access to educational materials (e.g. books, computers, games) at home and spend more time watching television
  • Student may be working after school and find little time to devote to schoolwork.
  • Student may be living in impoverished neighborhood that lacks supportive community services that provide educational experiences (e.g. libraries, YMCA, after-school programs)
environmental disadvantage domain45
Environmental Disadvantage Domain
  • At home, are high, realistic expectations about schoolwork communicated to the child? Is the value of effort and working hard in school emphasized?
    • Expectations
    • Encouragement
    • Reinforcement
  • Is there an authoritative approach to discipline? Is the child monitored and supervised?
  • Is there an educative home environment, in which others participate in the child’s schooling and learning?
  • Are there organization and daily routines that facilitate the completion of schoolwork and support for the child’s academic learning?
economic disadvantage
Economic Disadvantage
  • Students from low SES areas are exposed to a larger number of risk factors, such as:
    • Violence
    • More crime
    • Physical / neighborhood hazards
    • Family disruption and divorce
    • Separation from family
    • A general more punitive parenting style
    • Less likely to have well-qualified teachers
    • Increased exposure to toxins / air pollution
    • Auditory pollution
    • Number of people in the home
    • Lower number of educational materials in the home
    • Less exposure to print
    • Lack of access to computers
    • Reduced municipal services
    • Overcrowded schools / lack of educational funding
economic disadvantage47
Economic Disadvantage
  • Parents may work multiple jobs and have limited to no time to be involved in child’s education
  • Student may take on greater responsibilities at home, such as caring for younger siblings while parents are working, and have little time for schoolwork.
  • Student may be working after school and find little time to devote to schoolwork.
  • Student may be living in impoverished neighborhood that lacks supportive community services that provide educational experiences (e.g. libraries, YMCA, after-school programs)
economic disadvantage48
Economic Disadvantage
  • Fewer opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities that provide educational experiences and adult mentors (e.g. girl/boy scouts, music lessons, soccer team)
  • Greater exposure to and affiliation with deviant peers
  • Foster or institutionalized care is more common, leading to greater instability which negatively impacts school performance
  • Tend to be read to less and experience fewer supportive parent behaviors (e.g. encouragement to count and learn the ABCs)
economic disadvantage49
Economic Disadvantage
  • Per-pupil school expenditure is strongly tied to financial advantage (e.g. students living in suburban areas often receive more money than inner-city students)
  • Increased school absences due to homelessness negatively impacts academic performance
  • Increased exposure to violence and family turmoil may impact school performance
  • Separation from family, instability, and chaotic households are common realities for children living in poverty
  • Fewer available social supports
  • Less access to healthcare
economic disadvantage impact on language development
Economic Disadvantage - Impact on Language Development

13 professional parents

23 working-class parents

6 parents on welfare

cultural disadvantage
Cultural Disadvantage
  • Biased assessments (e.g., reliance on standardized assessments that are not validated for limited English speakers)
  • Parents and school may have conflicting educational and behavioral expectations/goals for child due to cultural differences (e.g. parents may not value academic learning as highly as compliant behavior)
  • Miscommunication between parents and school personnel arising from differing cultural/ethnic backgrounds
  • Parents may be less involved in child’s education due to cultural and communication barriers
cultural disadvantage52
Cultural Disadvantage
  • A student who is a new arrival to the U.S. may be at a disadvantage due to limited exposure to previous educational settings (e.g. Hmong child who has grown up in a refugee camp)
  • Ethnically/racially diverse student may experience differential treatment at school from teachers and students (i.e. institutionalized racism, discrimination), impacting academic performance and behavior.
  • The educational policies of the dominant culture maintain the status quo, requiring minority groups to conform to the dominant group’s practices which often include subordination and discrimination.
key questions for educators iep team and other school professionals to ask
Key Questions for Educators, IEP Team, and other School Professionals to Ask

The rating scale to be included in the toolkit will guide individuals to ask the following questions:

  • Is this factor present?
    • Yes, Partially, or No
  • For how long has this factor been present?
    • From the beginning of the student’s educational experiences.
    • For more than one academic year, but not the entire time of the student’s educational experiences.
    • For only the current academic year,
    • Recently (not present at beginning of academic year, but began at some point after the beginning of the year).
key questions for educators iep team and other school professionals to ask54
Key Questions for Educators, IEP Team, and other School Professionals to Ask
  • Is this factor contributing to the child’s difficulties?
    • Yes, Partially, No
  • Would this student’s difficulties continue to exist if this factor was no longer present?
    • Yes, definitely;
    • Yes. However, the student’s difficulties would decrease as a result, but would still remain significant;
    • The student’s difficulties would decrease, but it is unknown to what degree the difficulties would still be present.
    • No, the removal of this factor would make a significant difference in the student’s difficulties.
    • No, the removal of this factor would result in the student’s difficulties no longer being present.
consideration of exclusionary factors
Consideration of Exclusionary Factors

From “Day 1”

Prior to Referral

Following Referral

  • Lack of appropriate instruction
  • Limited English Proficiency
  • Environmental Disadvantage
  • Cultural Disadvantage
  • Economic Disadvantage
  • Lack of appropriate instruction
  • Limited English Proficiency
  • Environmental Disadvantage
  • Cultural Disadvantage
  • Economic Disadvantage
  • Lack of appropriate instruction
  • Limited English Proficiency
  • Environmental Disadvantage
  • Cultural Disadvantage
  • Economic Disadvantage
  • Nonbiased Assessment

* Learner * Instruction * Environmental disadvantage

* Cultural disadvantage * Economic disadvantage

* Classroom and Instruction Environment

toolkit guidance document
Toolkit/Guidance Document
  • Overview of Exclusionary Factors and Nonbiased Assessment
  • Definitions, Legal Requirements, and Historical Perspectives
  • Purpose of Exclusionary Factors
  • Conceptualization of Exclusionary Factors within the Continuum of Regular Education and Special Education Services
  • Impact of Exclusionary Factors on Academic Performance
  • Explanation of Consensus Statements
  • How to Consider the Impact of Variable(s) Identified as Exclusionary Factors
    • Products
      • Description and examples of exclusionary factors
      • Checklist of exclusionary factors and corresponding potential indicators
      • Rating list of exclusionary factors and corresponding potential indicators
      • Explanation of how to utilize products
    • Professional development documents and materials
    • Discussion of how to address these issues with team members
    • Miscellaneous
      • How to consider exclusionary factors within RTI models
  • Case Examples
    • Example 1
    • Example 2
    • Example 3
  • Resources and Materials
contact information

CONTACT INFORMATION

Craig A. Albers, PhD, NCSPAssistant ProfessorUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonSchool Psychology Program316E Educational Sciences1025 West Johnson StreetMadison, WI 53706

Phone: (608) 262-4586Fax: (608) 262-0843Email: caalbers@wisc.edu

special thanks to members of the exclusionary factors workgroup
Jacqueline Iribarren, Student Services Coordinator, Middleton/Cross Plains Area School District

Dean Heus, School Psychologist, Wauwatosa School District

Kathy Laffin, DPI Consultant for Learning Disabilities

Doug Jardine, School Psychologist, CESA 12, Ashland

Eva Kubinski

Craig Albers

John Hanson, National Technical Consultant, Harcourt Measurement

Kathy Halley, School Psychology Coordinator, Madison Metro Schools

Sara Halberg, Madison Metro Schools

Kim O'Connor, Madison Metro Special Education Teacher/Coordinator

Tom Potterton, RSN/Director, CESA 12

John Humphries

Jeriann Kvapil

Special Thanks to Members of the Exclusionary Factors Workgroup