The federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) recently announced its intention to implement a new Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring System (CIFMS) that will be used when reviewing state-level special education programs.
The new CIFMS embodies these principles:
1. An emphasis on a small set of critical indicators that are most closely related to achieving desired educational results.
2. The use of data to focus on performance.
3. Ensuring that accountability for improvements rests with states.
4. Making the improvement process and results public.
To prepare for upcoming focused monitoring reviews by OSEP under the CIFMS process, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Special Education, has compiled district-specific data reports that incorporate five (5) critical indicators which will be considered by OSEP. The five (5) indicators, as applied to special education results, are: disproportionate representation of minorities in special education, disproportionate suspension/expulsion rates for students with disabilities, student exit data (graduation and dropout rates), placement in the least restrictive educational environment (LRE), and student assessment outcomes (participation rates and performance outcomes.)
By April 7, 2003, superintendents should receive the district-specific focused monitoring data through ADE mass mail, along with a description of data sources and calculation methodologies used. It is imperative that appropriate district personnel review these data for accuracy. Data used to create these data sets was derived from the Arkansas Public School Computer Network database, as entered by each school district.
Because these data will form the basis for OSEP state-level performance reviews, changes or corrections to district data must occur prior to May 20, 2003. After this date, district focused monitoring data will be made public via the ADE Special Education website.