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Significant Disproportionality in Special Education

Federal Statutory Requirements

(d) Disproportionality
(1) In general, each State that receives assistance under this subchapter, and the Secretary of the Interior, shall provide for the collection and examination of 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 described in section 1401(3) of this title;
(B) the placement in particular educational settings of such children; and
(C) the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions.
(2) Review and revision of policies, practices, and procedures In the case of a determination of significant disproportionality with respect to the identification of children as children with disabilities, or the placement in particular educational settings of such children, in accordance with paragraph (1), the State or the Secretary of the Interior, as the case may be, shall -
(A) provide for the review and, if appropriate, revision of the policies, procedures, and practices used in such identification or placement to ensure that such policies, procedures, and practices comply with the requirements of this chapter;
(B) require any local educational agency identified under paragraph (1) to reserve the maximum amount of funds under section 1413(f) of this title to provide comprehensive coordinated early intervening services to serve children in the local educational agency, particularly children in those groups that were significantly overidentified under paragraph (1); and
(C) require the local educational agency to publicly report on the revision of policies, practices, and procedures described under subparagraph (A).
20 U.S.C. 1418(d)
 
 

Federal Regulatory Requirements

State Statutory Guidance

PI 11.38 was submitted as a proposed rule to the Wisconsin Legislative Clearinghouse on January 11, 2018.

Wisconsin Criteria

The WDPI followed Westat recommendations for the formulas below. The WDPI considered multiple factors in defining significant disproportionality, including the population size, size of individual LEAs, and composition of State population. The determination of significant disproportionality by race or ethnicity is based solely on a collection and examination of data and not on a LEA’s policies, procedures, or practices.
 
Special Education Identification - The WDPI annually identifies LEAs with significant disproportionality in overall special education identification. LEAs are identified via statistical analysis using the following criteria:
  • Minimum cell sizes: To be identified for significant disproportionality based on statistical data, a racial or ethnic group must have at least 10 students with disabilities and a total enrollment of 30 students for any given racial group.
  • Risk Ratio of 2.0 or Greater: In calculating the risk ratio for significant disproportionality, WDPI uses the calculator developed by Westat for risk ratio (risk for a racial/ethnic group for students with disabilities / risk for comparison group for students with disabilities) with a comparison group being the remaining race/ethnic categories.
  • Failed to demonstrate reasonable progress: The LEA does not lower the risk ratio >0.25/yr for the two prior consecutive years for the group and category of analysis in each of the two prior consecutive years.

Multi-year analysis: LEAs must meet the criteria, above, for three years in a row.

Eligibility Categories - The WDPI annually identifies LEAs with significant disproportionality in particular disability categories (cognitive disabilities, specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, speech or language impairments, other health impairments, and autism). If the WDPI identifies a concern or has reason to believe that there are issues with other disability categories (i.e., through written complaints, due process filings, etc.), then the WDPI explores the concerns with those categories. LEAs are identified via statistical analysis using the following criteria:
  • Minimum cell sizes: To be identified for significant disproportionality based on statistical data, a racial or ethnic group must have at least ten students with the particular disability and a total enrollment of 30 students for any given racial group.
  • Risk Ratio of 2.0 or Greater: In calculating the risk ratio for significant disproportionality, WDPI uses the calculator developed by Westat for risk ratio (risk for racial/ethnic group for disability category / risk for comparison group for disability category) with a comparison group of the remaining race/ethnic categories.
  • Failed to demonstrate reasonable progress: The LEA does not lower the risk ratio >0.25/yr for the two prior consecutive years for the group and category of analysis in each of the two prior consecutive years.

Multi-year analysis: LEAs must meet the criteria, above, for three years in a row.

Settings/Placements - The WDPI annually identifies LEAs with significant disproportionality in the placement in particular educational settings of children with disabilities. LEAs are identified via statistical analysis using the following criteria:
  • Minimum cell sizes: To be identified for significant disproportionality based on statistical data, a racial or ethnic group must have at least ten students within the particular educational setting and a total enrollment of 30 students with disabilities for any given racial group.
  • Risk Ratio of 2.0 or Greater: In calculating the risk ratio for significant disproportionality, WDPI uses the calculator developed by Westat for risk ratio (risk for racial/ethnic group within a particular educational setting/risk for comparison group within the setting) with a comparison group of the remaining race/ethnic categories.
  • Failed to demonstrate reasonable progress: The LEA does not lower the risk ratio >0.25/yr for the two prior consecutive years for the group and category of analysis in each of the two prior consecutive years.

Multi-year analysis: LEAs must meet the criteria, above, for three years in a row.

Discipline - The WDPI annually identifies LEAs with significant disproportionality in the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions. LEAs are identified via statistical analysis using the following criteria:
  • Minimum cell sizes: To be identified for significant disproportionality based on statistical data, a racial or ethnic group must have at least ten students in the disciplinary category and a total enrollment of 30 students with disabilities for any given racial group.
  • Risk Ratio of 2.0 or Greater: In calculating the risk ratio for significant disproportionality, WDPI uses the calculator developed by Westat for risk ratio (risk for racial/ethnic group for disciplinary category / risk for comparison group for disciplinary category) with a comparison group of the remaining race/ethnic categories.
  • Failed to demonstrate reasonable progress: The LEA does not lower the risk ratio >0.25/yr for the two prior consecutive years for the group and category of analysis in each of the two prior consecutive years.

Multi-year analysis: LEAs must meet the criteria, above, for three years in a row.


 

Stakeholder Input on Significant Disproportionality