NCEO - National Center on Educational Outcomes

Reporting of Participation and Performance of Students with Disabilities


Public and federal reporting of educational results help ensure that public schools are accountable for helping students meet higher educational standards Failure to report scores of all students sends the message that some students are not important—that the students do not count. What is reported is what the public knows, and what the public reacts to. Some say that "what is measured is what is treasured." It is probably valid to say that what is reported is what we attend to in educational reform. Policymakers clearly took this to heart in laws enacted over the past decade. Federal laws require states to ensure that students with disabilities participate in their assessment systems. They also require separate public and federal reporting.

At this time, most states publish public reports on the participation and performance of children with disabilities in various formats. In the past, few states publicly reported the educational results of students with disabilities. In fact, most state agencies did not even keep track of the rate at which these students participated in testing. But now, most reports are easily found on state department of education Web sites. Federal laws require states to report certain information to the public. This includes the number of children with disabilities who took a regular or alternate assessment, and the number of children with disabilities who took the regular assessment with accommodations. States need to report the performance of children with disabilities on assessments compared to children who do not have disabilities.

States also are required to report assessment data for students with disabilities separately to the federal government. These reports are sent to the secretary of education each year as part of an Annual Performance Report (APR). States must report the progress they intend to make toward targets they set in State Performance Plans (SPPs). They also describe how they plan to improve student participation and performance while moving toward these assessment targets. Detailed data on participation and performance are submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by states online via a tool called EdFacts.