Action Plan for FY05 to Increase State Capacity in Instruction, Assessment, and Accountability for Students with Disabilities
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The Department of Education will direct $14 million from current fiscal year resources to increase State capacity for rigorous assessment, instruction, and accountability for students with disabilities.

  • $5,000,000 for immediate technical assistance and support to States to improve assessments for students with disabilities.
  • $3,000,000 to provide technical assistance and support to States to improve instruction for students with disabilities.
  • $6,000,000 to conduct research on accountability for students with disabilities who are held to alternate and modified achievement standards.

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will jointly implement the Action Plan detailed below.

Support to Improve Assessments

Goal: To provide immediate support to States that agree to improve their assessments in exchange for greater flexibility of AYP requirements for students with disabilities.

Resources: $5,000,000 from OSERS


  • Develop a comprehensive "Tool Kit" with information to help States improve instruction and assessments for students with disabilities.

    • The Tool Kit will be completed this summer and include materials such as:
      • Examples of States with comprehensive assessment systems that appropriately address the needs of students with disabilities.
      • Guidelines for individualized education program teams to select the most appropriate assessment for students with disabilities.
      • Information for parents, teachers, administrators, and advocates.
      • Other materials/information that States determine are needed to help them transition from their current assessment system to a system that incorporates additional assessments.
    • To accompany the Tool Kit, funds will be provided for consultants to work directly with States to improve their assessments for students with disabilities.

  • Form a working group to assist the Department in ensuring that technical assistance is directly linked to improving student achievement.

    • The working group will provide input on topics such as the following:
      • Criteria with which States must comply in order to implement these provisions.
      • Transitions for AYP determinations in States that want the new flexibility and criteria to evaluate State's requests.
      • Content of the Tool Kit.
      • Research needed to improve assessment and instruction.
    • The working group will be formed in April, 2005 and will include a broad array of knowledgeable individuals.
  • Announce FY05 Competition for Enhanced Assessment Grants.

    • OESE will soon announce the FY2005 competition for the Enhanced Assessment grants. These grants are awarded to States and State collaboratives to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by States for measuring the achievement of all students.
    • The Department has almost $12 million available for the 2005 competition. As per Congressional intent, one competitive priority will be improving the quality of accommodations and alternate assessments for special education students and limited English proficient students.
    • Specific funding levels are not included in this Action Plan, as the amount of funds devoted to students with disabilities will be determined by the number and quality of applications received by the Department.

Support to Improve Instruction

Goal: Provide support to States to improve instruction in reading and math for students with disabilities.

Resources: $3,000,000 from OSERS


  • OSERS will issue two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for funding in 2005:

    • An RFP to support a consortium of entities that will link with the three existing technical assistance regions for Reading First to provide technical assistance to States in reading and math. The RFP will require involvement of State Special Education Directors, Title I Directors, and Special Education Regional Resource Centers. ($2,000,000)
    • An RFP to promote the development, demonstration, and use of technology to enhance standards-based reform for children with disabilities. The RFP will support projects that include technologies such as technology-based instruction aligned with State content standards and computerized curriculum-based measurement aligned with State academic content standards. ($1,000,000)

Support to Improve Accountability

Goal: Improve accountability for students who are held to alternate and modified achievement standards and track changes in practice as a result of the new flexibility.

Resources: $6,000,000 from IES


  • IES will issue an RFP for funding in 2005 to conduct a study to address the validity and reliability of alternate assessments; their alignment with State content standards in reading, math, and science; and the number and type of students who take these assessments.

Supports for FY06 and Beyond
  • OSERS will continue to direct significant IDEA discretionary funds to improve assessments, instruction, and accountability for students with disabilities.

  • IES will invest several million dollars a year for 3 to 5 years for research grants to improve and evaluate instruction, and teacher training and professional development to improve reading, writing, math, and science skills for children with disabilities.

  • OESE will support Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers that will focus on improving assessments, instruction, and accountability for all students, particularly students with disabilities.

  • OESE, OSERS, and IES will continue to collaborate to ensure that efforts are coordinated across special education and Title I programs and directly linked to improving student achievement.

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Last Modified: 04/07/2005