Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

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IDEA Child Outcomes Highlights for FFY2017

Printable PDFs of current and older years of these data are also available:

What are the Outcomes?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds programs providing services designed to assist children with a range of delays and disabilities in achieving individualized developmental and functional goals. There are two types of programs. Part C Early Intervention is for children ages birth to 2, and Part B Preschool is for children ages 3 to 5.

States report data annually to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education on three child outcomes for Part C and Part B Preschool programs:

  1. Social relationships, which includes getting along with other children and relating well with adults
  2. Use of knowledge and skills, which refers to thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, and early literacy and math skills
  3. Taking action to meet needs, which includes feeding, dressing, self-care, and following rules related to health and safety

How is Progress Measured?

The skills children master at different ages can be measured and described so that we can identify children who are developing too slowly. Children who are substantially behind their peers have developmental delays. OSEP has established five progress categories to convey developmental trajectories indicative of developmental delay. The solid line on the graph (line e) illustrates typical development. The other lines represent some kind of delay in the early years. States report annually to OSEP the percentage of children in each of the five progress categories (a to e).

OSEP Progress Categories as Developmental Trajectories

Chart: Five lines representing the progress categories of Age in Months with Growth in Outcome
  1. Did not improve functioning
  2. Improved in functioning, no change in trajectory
  3. Moved closer to functioning like same-aged peers
  4. Improved functioning to that of same-aged peers
  5. Functioning like same-aged peers

From the progress category data, two summary statements per outcome are calculated:

  • Summary Statement 1 is the percentage of children who made greater than expected growth. The summary statement is calculated from the progress categories in the following way: (c + d) / (a + b + c + d)
  • Summary Statement 2 is the percentage of children who exited at or above age expectations. The summary statement is calculated from the progress categories in the following way: (d + e) / (a + b + c + d + e)
National Child Outcomes Data for Children Exiting in 2017-18
Outcome Part C Early Intervention Part B Preschool
Summary Statement 1 Summary Statement 2 Summary Statement 1 Summary Statement 2
Social Relationships 66 57 81 60
Knowledge and Skills 73 47 82 56
Action to Meet Needs 76 57 81 65

Note: Data are based on 48 Part C states and 45 Part B Preschool states. Only states with high quality data were included.

Part C Early Intervention: Summary Statement 1, FFY2013-2017
Chart: (data table follows)
Outcome FFY2013 FFY2014 FFY2015 FFY2016 FFY2017
Social Relationships 66 67 68 67 66
Knowledge and Skills 72 74 74 73 73
Action to Meet Needs 73 75 76 75 76
Part C Early Intervention: Summary Statement 2, FFY2013-2017
Chart: (data table follows)
Outcome FFY2013 FFY2014 FFY2015 FFY2016 FFY2017
Social Relationships 61 59 59 58 57
Knowledge and Skills 52 50 50 49 47
Action to Meet Needs 59 58 57 57 57
Part B Preschool: Summary Statement 1, FFY2013-2017
Chart: (data table follows)
Outcome FFY2013 FFY2014 FFY2015 FFY2016 FFY2017
Social Relationships 77 78 78 80 81
Knowledge and Skills 79 79 79 81 82
Action to Meet Needs 77 77 77 80 81
Part B Preschool: Summary Statement 2, FFY2013-2017
Chart: (data table follows)
Outcome FFY2013 FFY2014 FFY2015 FFY2016 FFY2017
Social Relationships 57 58 58 60 60
Knowledge and Skills 52 53 54 56 56
Action to Meet Needs 63 64 64 65 65

Conclusion

The data show that large percentages of children continue to show greater than expected gains, and large percentages of children continue to leave the programs with age expected skills.

There has been little year-to-year change in the numbers, which speaks to the stability of the data.

Although there is stability in the national data, we continue to see fluctuation of the numbers within states. The number of states submitting high-quality data has more than doubled since 2008, but states are still building the capacity to collect valid and reliable data.

Please cite as:

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center & Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems. (2019). IDEA Child Outcomes Highlights for FFY2017. Retrieved from https://ectacenter.org/eco/pages/childoutcomeshighlights.asp

The contents of this page were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H373Z120002, and a cooperative agreement, #H326P170001, from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. DaSy Center Project Officers, Meredith Miceli and Richelle Davis and ECTA Center Project Officer, Julia Martin Eile.

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2019 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute