Procedures for Determining the Need for Special Education Services

Indiana State Board of Education Special Education Rules Title 511 Article 7 Rules 32 -47, have set forth a new process to determines a student’s eligibility for Specific Learning Disability. The regulations state that determination of a learning disability would be evident through either

  • an assessment of a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement or both, relative to age; state standards or intellectual ability or
  • through insufficient progress to meet age or state standards when using a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research based interventions.
 The latter process referred to as early intervening services or response to intervention involves school staff planning and collecting data regarding the student’s response to scientific research based interventions. As students participate in this process, it may become apparent that certain students have more significant needs and an evaluation is indicated. The following information outlines this process.
Response to Intervention Defined
Response to intervention (RtI) is a practice of providing high quality instruction or interventions matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decision. These components of RtI are essential to the development of a successful RtI implementation strategy.
  1. High quality instruction/intervention is defined as instruction or intervention matched to student need that has been demonstrated through scientific research and practice to produce high learning rates for most students.
  2. Learning rate and level of performance are the primary sources of information used in ongoing decision making. Learning rate refers to a student’s individual growth in achievement or behavior competencies over time. Most students respond to explicit and intense instruction/interventions. Decisions about the use of more or less intense interventions are made using information on learning rate and level.
  3. Important educational decisions about intensity and the likely duration of interventions are based on the individual student’s response to instruction across multiple tiers of intervention. Decisions about the necessity of more intense interventions, including eligibility for special education and or exit from special education or other services are informed by data on learning rate and level.
 The Response to Intervention (RtI) Process
The Lake Central School Corporation is utilizing this model to formulate a process to provide support to students when it is needed rather than waiting for them to fail. General education teachers provide core instruction to all students. Benchmark assessments are used to document class performance and determine students who need additional interventions. These interventions are supplemental to the core curriculum. Data is collected to identify specific student needs and then research based interventions are implemented.
Intervention Assistance Teams
Intervention assistance teams are formulated in each school. These problem solving teams are brought together when the staff determines that the student has not responded to interventions. The Intervention Assistant Team is composed of the Parent, school psychologist, classroom teachers and specialists who have expertise in the area of need. The parent will be notified that the team will formulate a specific intervention plan for their child.  The purpose of the Intervention Assistant Team is to review the existing data and formulate a plan to address the areas of need. The team determines
  •     the specific intervention,
  •     the method in which to monitor the students progress,
  •     who will carry out the intervention and
  •     the duration of the intervention.
The team will meet at specified intervals to review and if needed,  revise the intervention plan based on continued progress monitoring.
Referral for Special Education Evaluation
If the intervention assistance team determines that the child is not responding to the interventions as set forth in the plan,  a referral for special education assessment is initiated and parent permission is obtained. The case conference must commence within 20 instructional days of the parent permission. The case conference will utilize the data that has been collected through the Response to Intervention Process in order to determine if the student qualifies as a student with a specific learning disability. A multidisciplinary team report is written and the case conference determines if the child qualifies for a specific learning disability. If the student qualifies for services, an individual education plan is written.
District Level Planning
Each school district is providing guidance and training to staff. Assessment tools and interventions of increasing intensity are being reviewed as this process is implemented. This process will increase student outcomes that are crucial to making accurate decisions about the effectiveness of interventions. It will also undertake early identification and academic interventions to prevent school failure. The process will prevent excessive identification of students with disabilities and enable special education to formulate effective programs for students who need it.