What is Significant Disproportionality?
States are required to collect and examine data to assess whether any racial/ethnic groups (American Indian, Asian, African American, Hispanic, White, Multiracial) are disproportionately represented in special education and related services. The law (34 CRF § 300.646) requires LEAs with “significant disproportionality” to reserve fifteen percent(34 CRF § 300.226) of IDEA funds for comprehensive and coordinated early intervening services in order to address issues related to significant disproportionality in the discipline, identification, and placement of students with disabilities based on race or ethnicity. As part of a root cause analysis approach, LEAs are required to identify and address the factors contributing to significant disproportionality as part of comprehensive, coordinated early intervening services (CEIS).
IDEA: SECTION 618 (d) (1) [Excerpts]
(1) Each State shall collect and examine data to determine if significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the State and the local educational agencies of the State with respect to--
(A) the identification of children as children with disabilities, including the identification of children as children with disabilities in accordance with a particular impairment
(B) the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions.
IDRC Calculates Significant Disproportionality
IDRC calculates signficant disproportionality with respect to the following 14 categories within Identification, Placement, and Discipline:
The Identification of children ages 3 through 21, as children within the following categories:
1. A disability (overall)
2. An intellectual disability
3. A specific learning disability
4. Eotional disturbance
5. Speech or language impairments
6. Other health impairments
The Placements of children with disabilities ages 6 through 21:
8. Inside a regular class less than 40% of the day
9. Inside seperate schools and residential facilities
The Discipline incidents, including, for children with disabilities ages 3 through 21:
10. Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of 10 days or fewer
11. Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of more than 10 days
12. In-school suspensions of 10 days or fewer
13. In-school suspensions of more than 10 days
14. Disciplinary removals in total
For each of the 7 racial/ethnic groups in each of the 14 categories identified above, IDRC calculates a risk ratio (or alternate risk ratio), and idetifies those school corporations whose risk or alternate risk ratio is 2.5 or greater for each of the past 3 years.
There are currently six eligibility identification categories, two placement categories, and five discipline categories (ssee above), that IDOE monitors. The two placement categories include LRE Code 52, the number of students placed inside a regular class less than 40% of the day and LRE Codes 53 and 54, separate school and residential facilities placement for students with disabilities. These two categories also break down placement or removals by race or ethnicity.
In the case of Significant Disproportionality finding, final determinations are made by IDOE in May of each year. If found to be significantly disproportionate then districts are mandated to use 15 percent of their Part B funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) and describe the usage of money in the district CEIS plan.
In May of each year, the IDOE notifies LEAs of compliance/noncompliance for Significant Disproportionality, which is not one of the 17 Indicators. The determination is made in numerous categories and is based on data SOLELY. IDOE does not have any flexibility when determining significant disproportionality. There is also a fiscal consequence with significant disproportionality.
WHAT ARE WE COMPARING?
The percentage of students with disabilities in a LEA from a particular racial or ethnic group
ALL OTHER students with disabilities in the LEA in the remaining racial or ethnic categories
The Discipline Categories monitored by IDRC:
- Total Number of Disciplinary Removals;
- In-school Suspension totaling more than 10 days;
- In-school Suspension totaling 10 days or less;
- Out-of-school Suspension/expulsion totaling more than 10 days; and
- Out-of-school Suspension/expulsion totaling 10 days or less;
Eligibility and Placement Setting
Indiana defines Significant Disproportionality of racial and ethnic groups in Special Education Eligibility Categories and Placements/Settings as a risk ratio for a given racial/ethnic group that is greater than 2.5 in special education and related services for that group, for three consecutive years. Each and every year, every LEA’s data is reviewed to determine if there is Significant Disproportionality of racial and ethnic groups (American Indian, Asian, African American, Hispanic, White, Multiracial, Pacific Islander) in special education identification, eligibility categories and placements/settings. Sample size (“Cell”) is set at a minimum of 15 students both in the target and comparison racial and ethnic groups. The most recent three years (as of 2020) are 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020.