[Federal Register: January 26, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 17)]
[Page 3809-3812]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Technical Assistance on Data Collection--Technical Assistance 
Center for Data Collection, Analysis, and Use for Accountability in 
Special Education and Early Intervention

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority and eligibility requirements.


[[Page 3810]]

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a funding priority and eligibility 
requirements under the Technical Assistance on State Data Collection 
program. The Assistant Secretary may use the priority and eligibility 
requirements for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2007 and later years. 
We take this action to focus attention on an identified national need 
to provide technical assistance to improve the capacity of States to 
meet data collection requirements relating to their State academic 
assessment systems.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 11, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about the proposed priority and 
eligibility requirements to Scott Brown, U.S. Department of Education, 
400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 4076, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, 
DC 20202-2700. If you prefer to send your comments through the 
Internet, use the following address: Scott.Brown@ed.gov.
    You must include the term ``Data Collection Priority'' in the 
subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Brown. Telephone: (202) 245-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding the proposed priority 
and eligibility requirements.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from the proposed priority 
and eligibility requirements. Please let us know of any further 
opportunities we should take to reduce potential costs or increase 
potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient 
administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 4076, 550 12th Street, SW., Potomac 
Center Plaza, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 
p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for the proposed priority and eligibility 
requirements. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of 
aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
    We will announce the final priority and eligibility requirements in 
a notice in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priority 
and eligibility requirements after considering responses to this notice 
and other information available to the Department. This notice does not 
preclude us from proposing additional priorities and eligibility 
requirements, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use the proposed priority and eligibility 
requirements, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal 
Register. When inviting applications we designate the priority as 
absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. The effect of 
each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the competitive preference priority 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets 
the competitive preference priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Technical Assistance Center for Data Collection, Analysis, and Use for 
Accountability in Special Education and Early Intervention

    With the increased emphasis on holding public agencies accountable 
for improving educational results for children, data-based decision 
making, and identifying and implementing evidence-based practices, it 
is vitally important that State agencies, local districts and schools, 
educators, service providers, researchers, policymakers, and families 
of children with disabilities have access to high-quality data.
    The Department's data quality standards include the following 
     Validity--Data adequately represent performance;
     Accurate Description--Definitions and counts are correct;
     Editing--Data are clean;
     Calculation--The math is correct;
     Timeliness--Data are recent; and
     Reporting--Full disclosure is made.
    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 
2004, which amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA) and reflected the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001's (NCLB) 
increased focus on outcomes for students with disabilities, included a 
new section 616 that requires the Secretary to monitor the States, and 
the States to monitor their local educational agencies (LEAs) and local 
early intervention service (EIS) programs, in the implementation of 
IDEA's requirements to improve services and results for children with 
disabilities. Section 616 of IDEA also requires the Secretary and 
States to use quantifiable indicators and such qualitative indicators 
as are needed to adequately measure State, LEA, and EIS program 
performance in specific priority areas. Each State must establish in 
its State Performance Plan measurable and rigorous targets for the 
indicators in the priority areas under Parts B and C of IDEA. Each 
State also must annually report to the Office of Special Education 
Programs (OSEP) on the State's progress on meeting each of the targets 
and to the general public regarding the progress of LEAs and EIS 
programs on meeting the State's targets.
    In accordance with these statutory requirements the Department has 
established 20 indicators for monitoring performance under Part B and 
14 indicators for monitoring performance under Part C of IDEA. These 
indicators rely on: (1) Data obtained from State monitoring of LEAs and 
EIS programs; (2) NCLB assessment data; (3) data reported through 
EDFacts (formerly the Education Data Exchange Network or EDEN); (4) 
early childhood and postsecondary outcome assessment data; (5) 
indicator specific survey data; and (6) State-reported data under 
section 618 of IDEA.
    Data collected through State monitoring activities can be used to 
report on four of the Part B and five of the Part C indicators. 

[[Page 3811]]

States need to develop and maintain monitoring systems that are of high 
quality and that can efficiently and effectively collect the data 
needed to substantiate progress on these nine indicators. OSEP's past 
experience with collecting data from States, however, indicates that 
States, LEAs, and local EIS programs need technical assistance to 
collect and submit high quality data, including data garnered through 
the States' monitoring systems, as well as data that States report to 
the Department through EDFacts.
    Providing general technical assistance to States to improve their 
data and data collection systems will result in improved data quality 
by increasing State proficiency in these activities. This, in turn, 
will enhance the ability of State educational agencies, LEAs, Part C 
lead agencies, EIS programs, EIS providers, and the Department to use 
the data for developing and implementing substantive data-based 
strategies for improving academic outcomes for children with 

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for the funding of a center (Center) to 
(1) provide technical assistance and information to States to help them 
provide high quality data needed for implementation of Parts B and C of 
IDEA and improve their data collection infrastructures; and (2) provide 
assistance to the Department regarding these data collections. The 
Center's activities and products must include, but are not limited to, 
the following:
    (a) Developing and implementing an annual strategic plan for 
technical assistance and dissemination activities to improve State-
reported data. At the end of each year, the Center must prepare and 
submit to the Department a summary and evaluation of its technical 
assistance and dissemination activities for the year;
    (b) Designing and conducting two national data managers' meetings 
each year of the project period, of approximately 100 participants 
each, to provide information and technical assistance to State Parts B 
and C data managers. Both meetings must be held in the Washington, DC 
metropolitan area in facilities that are accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. The Center must arrange and pay for meeting rooms, 
honoraria and expenses for speakers, visual aids and print materials, 
and travel expenses, lodging, and per diem at government rates for one 
to two representatives from each State or reporting entity. The 
meetings must include both large-group and small-group sessions, as 
well as informal time for discussion. Topics for the meetings must 
include specific State-reported data problems identified throughout the 
year, methods of data collection and verification, updates on Federal 
reporting requirements, potential uses of data by States, and reports 
on other data collections specified by OSEP. Each meeting also must 
include a training session for new State data managers. After each 
meeting, the Center must prepare a meeting newsletter summarizing 
meeting highlights and descriptionsp of key presentations and handouts;
    (c) Providing technical assistance and information to States to 
improve State data quality through activities such as: (1) Developing 
data systems, including monitoring systems, that incorporate the 
collection and analysis of valid data, to measure statewide progress on 
State targets; (2) developing data systems, including monitoring 
systems, that incorporate the collection and analysis of valid data, to 
measure local progress on State targets; (3) interpreting and 
portraying data, including data obtained through monitoring, as it 
relates to State targets; (4) incorporating data analysis results into 
State and local strategies for improvement of performance under Parts B 
and C; (5) developing and revising measurable and rigorous targets, 
based on data and input from stakeholder groups, for State Performance 
Plans (SPPs); (6) collecting and disseminating valid and reliable 
assessment data relative to State achievement standards; (7) developing 
technically sound SPP sampling plans for the collection of valid and 
reliable data on those SPP indicators that permit sampling; and (8) 
developing training modules for State educational agencies, State lead 
agencies, LEAS, and EIS programs that focus on the collection of high 
quality data;
    (d) Developing and distributing to States: (1) Annual updates of 
the Parts B and C data dictionaries, data collection histories, and 
data fact sheets; (2) current State data system profiles describing the 
types of systems employed by the States including their efforts to 
ensure they collect high quality data; (3) analyses of data provided by 
the States under sections 616 and 618 of IDEA addressing State data 
collection, entry, and verification; (4) based on State-reported data, 
a description and analysis of data trends relative to States' 
performance on their measurable and rigorous targets; (5) tables of 
annual State data organized to provide States with an enhanced 
perspective of their performance relative to other States; (6) data and 
other information for the Web site, http://www.IDEADATA.org; (7) 

analyses of Part B and Part C SPP annual performance report data; (8) 
training modules for both States and local agencies that focus on the 
collection of high quality data; (9) documents as needed for meetings 
with the Education Information Management Advisory Committee (EIMAC), a 
standing committee of the Council of Chief State School Officers; (10) 
updated annual versions of the Early Intervention Data Handbook and 
supporting materials, as requested; (11) annual studies of extant data 
from other sources to provide analysis of broad trends in the 
characteristics of the population of infants, toddlers, and children 
with disabilities as requested by OSEP; and (12) other requested 
documents, including roughly five to seven ad hoc analyses per month;
    (e) Providing for direct interaction with and support to States by 
mail, telephone, online communication, video, or on-site visits, 
including the provision of customized technical assistance. Participate 
in the semi-annual EIMAC meetings and other meetings as requested by 
the Department;
    (f) Assisting States to provide high quality data to the 
Department's EDFacts system. The Center must log in data, check data 
for completeness and errors or anomalies, communicate with States to 
resolve any errors or anomalies, and prepare data notes on any 
unresolved problems. The Center must prepare monthly and annual data 
status reports to OSEP, including all data notes related to data being 
reported through EDFacts;
    (g) Assisting the Department with developing forms for the 
collection of data not collected through EDFacts, such as data related 
to Part C. Preparing forms clearance packages as needed for submission 
to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At the direction of OSEP, 
the Center must prepare responses to public comments received on the 
proposed information collection package and make revisions to the 
forms, if necessary. As directed by OSEP, the Center must take the 
following steps in the development of a new data collection form: (1) 
Convene a task force of State representatives, relevant stakeholders, 
and Department personnel; (2) prepare a draft form based on the task 
force recommendations; (3) pilot test the draft form; (4) revise the 
form as necessary; and (5) prepare the OMB clearance forms;
    (h) Conducting an annual assessment of the operations and processes 

[[Page 3812]]

collect section 618 data from States and making specific 
recommendations to OSEP to improve, enhance, or redesign current 
processes to meet the Department's needs for data collections included 
in EDFacts. The annual study must consider the availability of new 
Internet and other technologies for the collection and reporting of 
data, as well as any new data needs;
    (i) Establishing, maintaining, and meeting at least annually with a 
national advisory group that will be responsible for providing annual 
feedback on the plans, activities, and accomplishments of the Center;
    (j) Maintaining ongoing communication with the OSEP Project 
Officer, including monthly conference calls. Budget for a three-day 
Project Directors' meeting in Washington, DC during each year of the 
project plus ten additional two-day trips annually to Washington, DC to 
attend additional national meetings and to meet and collaborate with 
the OSEP Project Officer and other funded projects for purposes of 
cross-project collaboration and information exchange;
    (k) Budgeting five percent of the grant amount annually to support 
emerging needs as identified jointly through consultation with the OSEP 
project officer; and
    (l) If a project maintains a Web site, including relevant 
information and documents in a format that meets a government or 
industry-recognized standard for accessibility.

    Note: In each budget period of 12 months, OSEP estimates that 
approximately 30 percent of the effort under this proposed priority 
will be devoted to activities and products described in paragraph 
(c) of this section and approximately 70 percent of the effort will 
be devoted to the remaining activities described in this section.

Fourth and Fifth Years of the Project

    In deciding whether to continue funding the Center for the fourth 
and fifth years, the Secretary will consider the requirements of 34 CFR 
75.253(a), and in addition--
    (a) The recommendation of a review team consisting of experts 
selected by the Secretary, which review will be conducted in 
Washington, DC during the last half of the project's second year. 
Projects must budget for travel expenses associated with this one-day 
intensive review;
    (b) The timeliness and effectiveness with which all requirements of 
the negotiated cooperative agreement have been or are being met by the 
Center; and
    (c) Evidence of the degree to which the Center's activities have 
contributed to improvements in the quality of State-reported data.

Eligibility Requirements


    The Secretary is proposing that public and private agencies and 
organizations would be eligible for a grant under this program. The 
Secretary believes that this will provide the broadest possible pool of 
applicants to achieve the purpose of the priority.

Proposed Eligibility Requirements

    The following entities would be eligible for funding under this 
program: Public and private agencies and organizations, including for-
profit and non-profit agencies and organizations.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priority and eligibility requirements has 
been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms 
of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this 
regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this regulatory action are 
those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this regulatory action, we have determined that the 
benefits of the proposed regulatory action justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
Order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive Order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.htm.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.373Y Technical 
Assistance on Data Collection--Technical Assistance Center for Data 
Collection, Analysis, and Use for Accountability in Special 
Education and Early Intervention)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1411(c) and 1416(i)(2).

    Dated: January 19, 2007.
John H. Hager,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E7-1233 Filed 1-25-07; 8:45 am]