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DISPROPORTIONALITY AND OVERIDENTIFICATION - Regulations

1. Require policies and procedures.

The State must have in effect, consistent with the purposes of 34 CFR Part 300 and with section 618(d) of the Act, policies and procedures designed to prevent the inappropriate overidentification or disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of children as children with disabilities, including children with disabilities with a particular impairment described in 34 CFR 300.8 of the IDEA regulations.
[34 CFR 300.173] [20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(24)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Disproportionality in the context of the IDEA refers to comparisons made among groups of students by race or ethnicity that are identified for special education services. Where students from particular racial or ethnic groups are identified either at a greater or lesser rate than all other students then that group may be said to be disproportionately represented in special education. In your opinion, why did Congress feel it was necessary for your state to address policies and procedures around disproportionality?


  2. Disproportionality can also mean the under identification of students in special education. Can you think of instances where this might take place and why?


  3. Why do you think that disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students might exist in high incidence disability categories such as specific learning disability, but not in low incidence disability categories (e.g., visual impairment, or physical disabilities)?


  4. What policies and procedures are in effect in your state to prevent and address disproportionality?


  5. How do policies and procedures relevant to disproportionality guide the referral process for special education?


  6. In your opinion, how would knowledge of these policies and procedures regarding disproportionality assist all stakeholders, including parents, to advocate for children?


  7. In terms of academic opportunities and outcomes, how might disproportionality affect students?
    • How does instructional quality and appropriateness affect disproportionality?
    • What is the role of cultural relevance and responsiveness in providing opportunities for all students to learn?


  8. In terms of non-academic outcomes (e.g., social, emotional, behavioral), how might disproportionality affect students identified as needing special education and related services? General education students?


  9. In your opinion, what systemic factors within your district might contribute to disproportionate representation of certain student groups in special education? In instructional placement? In disciplinary actions?


  10. What policies, procedures practices have been found to be effective in preventing and/or reducing disproportionality?


Application Questions

  1. How might school personnel use policy and procedures regarding disproportionality to identify and remedy ineffective practices that may have resulted in disproportionate representation in your district or school?


  2. How will your district incorporate features of Response to Intervention (RTI) in reducing disproportionality?


  3. What training and technical assistance needs to be provided by the state/district to school personnel, families, and service providers to reduce and/or prevent disproportionality? Who might be responsible for this training and technical assistance?


    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Teacher
    Location: California

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Florida

    Role: Policymaker
    Location: Arizona

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Family
    Location: West Virginia

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Georgia

    Role: TA Provider
    Location: Colorado

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Virginia

    Role: Service Provider
    Location: Kentucky

    Role: Teacher
    Location: Florida

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Teacher
    Location: South Carolina

    Role: Higher Ed
    Location: New York