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Program Assessment


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IDEA Special Education Grants to States

The Grants to States program provides formula grants to States and territories to help them provide special education and related services to children with disabilities. States must provide a "free appropriate public education" designed to meet each student's specific needs.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • The program has now shown significant progress in improving student achievement. Between 2000 and 2007, the percentage of students with disabilities scoring at or above Basic on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the Nation's Report Card) grew from 22% to 36% for 4th grade reading and from 20% to 33% for 8th grade mathematics.
  • Also, more students with disabilities are staying in school. The percentage of students with disabilities who graduate from high school with a regular high school diploma increased from 46% in 2000 to over 56% in 2006 and the percentage who drop out of school decreased from 42% in 2000 to almost 26% in 2006.
  • There is no independent evaluation to provide information on the relationship between outcomes for children with disabilities and the program. While performance on the Nation's Report Card has improved, drop-out rates have declined, and graduation rates have increased, there is limited information on the program's role in relation to these outcomes.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Conducting an independent evaluation of the program of sufficient scope to determine if and how the program contributes to the effectiveness of special education and its impact on students.
  • Revising and implementing a postsecondary outcome measure for students with disabilities that uses annually collected data, based on standardized definitions, for continuing education and employment.
  • Revising and implementing graduation and drop-out measures for children with disabilities, in order to provide for data that are comparable to those collected by the Department for all students.

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