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RDA Explained

Monday, August 17, 2015

Educators may be wondering if they are expected to do anything differently as a result of the federal government’s new special education focus known as Results-Driven Accountability (RDA).

A three-minute DPI video explains RDA in plain language, following a fictional student named Erica.

“In the past,” the video explains, special education requirements “amounted to making sure certain actions were taken by the school. But there was never any guarantee that these steps were the only ones needed to actually make a difference for this particular student.”

What RDA means is that measurable learning for students with disabilities is now an additional requirement in and of itself.

A drawing of a teacher interacting in a caring way with two students who are reading at desks
Still frame from a new DPI video, What RDA Means in Wisconsin.

States are allowed to choose a focus for RDA; Wisconsin has chosen literacy outcomes, because these are an area of challenge for many students with disabilities in the state. Thus, Wisconsin’s effort retools the acronym as “Reading Drives Achievement: Success through Literacy (RDA:StL).”

To educators wondering what this means for them, the DPI recommends best practices which many schools are already working to implement, such as:

Schools will have opportunities to seek support from the state in reaching RDA goals. More information will be added to the DPI’s special education website as it becomes available.