2015 Annual Report to Congress on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IDEA Parts B and C

The 37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 2015 describes our nation’s progress in:

  1. providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities,
  2. ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected,
  3. assisting states and localities in providing for the education of all children with disabilities, and
  4. assessing the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The report focuses on the children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA, Part C or B, nationally and at the state level.

Download the 2015 Annual Report

Data Files and Collection Documentation

Links to the descriptions of the categories and subcategories of IDEA, Part B and Part C data used in the 37th Annual Report and the actual data used to populate the tables and the figures in Section I and II and the appendixes of the Report are provided below.

Part B of IDEA provides fund to states to assist them in providing FAPE to children ages three through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services.

Part C of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in developing and implementing statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary interagency systems to make early intervention services available to all children from birth through age two with disabilities and their families.

These documents support the state level data files. They should be use in concert with the files.

37th Annual Report

Since its enactment, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Public Law (P.L.) 94‑142, requires the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (secretary) [and predecessor, the commissioner of education at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare] to transmit to Congress an annual report to inform Congress and the public of the progress being made in implementing the act. The annual reports to Congress reflect a history of persistent commitment and effort to expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities.

In December 2004, Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)(P.L. 108-446), which was signed into law in the same month. The provisions of IDEA became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a “highly qualified teacher”* that took effect upon the signing of the act. With reauthorization of IDEA, the nation reaffirmed its commitment to improving the early intervention and educational results and functional outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities (collectively this group may be referred to in this report as children with disabilities).

The 37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2015 describes our nation’s progress in

  1. providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities and early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families,
  2. ensuring that the rights of these children with disabilities and their parents are protected,
  3. assisting states and localities in providing for the education of all children with disabilities, and
  4. assessing the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.

The report focuses on the children and students with disabilities being served under IDEA, Part C or B, nationally and at the state level. In particular, Part C of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in developing and implementing statewide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary interagency systems to make early intervention services available to all children from birth through age 2 with disabilities and their families, whereas Part B of IDEA provides funds to states to assist them in providing FAPE to children ages 3 through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. Throughout this report, infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C, children served under IDEA, Part B, and students served under IDEA, Part B, refer to individuals with disabilities who receive services under IDEA, Part C or Part B. “Special education services,” which is referenced throughout this report, is a term that is synonymous with services provided under IDEA, Part B. Similarly, “early intervention services” is a term used synonymously with services provided under IDEA, Part C.

This 37th Annual Report to Congress, 2015 follows the 36th Annual Report to Congress, 2014 in sequence and format, and it continues to focus on IDEA results and accountability. Similar to the 36th Annual Report to Congress, 2014, the 37th Annual Report to Congress, 2015 contains six major sections that address the five annual report requirements contained in section 664(d) of IDEA. The sections are:

  1. a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the national level;
  2. a summary and analysis of IDEA section 618 data at the state level;
  3. a summary and analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) findings and determinations regarding the extent to which states are meeting the requirements of IDEA, Parts B and C;
  4. a summary of special education research conducted under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of2002;
  5. a summary of national special education studies and evaluations conducted under sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA; and
  6. a summary of the extent and progress of the assessment of national activities, which focus on determining the effectiveness of IDEA and improving its implementation.

The content of this report differs from that of the 36th Annual Report to Congress, 2014 in the following ways:

  1. the most recent data presented in this report represent the reporting periods associated with fall 2013 or school year 2012–13;
  2. where data are presented for a 10-year period, the oldest data are associated with fall 2004;
  3. this report directs the reader to www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep for a more complete and detailed description of the manner in which states differed in the reporting of data; and
  4. this report includes an exhibit that presents the risk ratios for students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, within racial/ethnic groups by disability category.

Unlike the 36th Annual Report to Congress, 2014, this report does not include an appendix that identifies the states that reported children and students ages 3 through 21 with multiple disabilities in different disability categories in the most recent data collections regarding child count and educational environments, exiting, and discipline. This information as well as other information concerning how states collected and reported data differently from the OSEP data formats and instructions are available in the Data Documentation File and Data Notes documents on http://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/collection-documentation/index.html.

A summary of the six sections and four appendices that make up the 37th Annual Report to Congress, 2015 follows.


Preface Footnotes

* When referring to a “highly qualified teacher,” the term “highly qualified” has the meaning given the term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). For a highly qualified special education teacher, the term “highly qualified” has the same meaning given the term in ESEA, as amended, except that such term also includes the requirements described in section 602(10)(B) of IDEA, and the option for teachers to meet the requirements of section 9101 of ESEA, as amended, by meeting the requirements of section 602(10)(C) or (D) of IDEA [see 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 1401(10)].

 The year in the title reflects the U.S. Department of Education’s target year for submitting the report to Congress. The most current findings are based on data collected from July 2012 through December 2013. These data have been available to the public prior to their presentation in this report. Subsequent references to this report and previously published annual reports will be abbreviated: they will not include “on the Implementation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

 618 data consist of:

  1. the number of infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; the settings in which they receive program services; information on the transition at age 3 out of Part C; and dispute resolution information and
  2. the number of children and students served under IDEA, Part B; the environments in which they receive education; their participation in and performance on state assessments; information on their exiting special education services; the personnel employed to provide educational services to them; disciplinary actions that affect them; and dispute resolution information.

Section I contains national data pertinent to Parts C and B of IDEA. It contains four subsections. The four subsections focus on infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B; students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B; and children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The exhibits provide information about the characteristics of children and students receiving services under Parts C and B, their disabilities, the settings in which they receive services, their participation in and performance on state assessments, their exits from Part C and Part B programs, their disciplinary removals, and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in the exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the four outlying areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. In addition, the exhibits that concern special education and related services provided under IDEA, Part B, include data for BIE schools operated or funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the three freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Section II contains state-level data regarding Part C and Part B of IDEA. This section is organized into four subsections. The first subsection presents information about infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C, while the second and third subsections present information about children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, respectively. The fourth subsection provides information about children and students ages 3 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The four subsections address questions about the characteristics of children and students receiving services under Parts C and B, their disabilities, the settings in which they receive services, their participation in state assessments, their exits from Part C and Part B programs, their disciplinary removals, and their legal disputes. Also addressed are the characteristics of the personnel employed to provide special education and related services for the children and students. The data presented in exhibits and discussed in the bulleted text represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, and Puerto Rico.

Sections 616(d) and 642 of IDEA require the secretary to make an annual determination as to the extent to which each state’s Part B and Part C programs are meeting the requirements of the IDEA. To fulfill this requirement, the secretary considers each state’s State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). Based on the information provided by the state in the SPP and APR, information obtained through monitoring reviews, and any other public information made available, the secretary determines if the state meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA, needs assistance in implementing the requirements, needs intervention in implementing the requirements, or needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements. In June 2014, the Department issued the determination letters on implementation of IDEA for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2012 to 60 state education agencies (SEAs) for Part B and to 56 state lead agencies for Part C. Section III presents the results of the determinations.

When Congress reauthorized IDEA in December 2004, it amended the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-279) by adding a new Part E to that act. The new Part E established the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) as part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NCSER began operation on July 1, 2005. As specified in section 175(b) of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, NCSER’s mission is to:

  • Sponsor research to expand knowledge and understanding of the needs of infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities in order to improve the developmental, educational, and transitional results of such individuals;
  • Sponsor research to improve services provided under, and support the implementation of, IDEA [20 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 1400 et seq.]; and
  • Evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of IDEA in coordination with the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Section IV of this report describes the research projects funded by grants made during FFY 2014 (October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014) by NCSER under Part E of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.

In the December 2004 reauthorization of IDEA, Congress required the secretary to delegate to the director of IES responsibility to carry out studies and evaluations under sections 664(a), (b), and (c) of IDEA. As specified in section 664(a) of IDEA, IES, either directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements awarded to eligible entities on a competitive basis, assesses the progress in the implementation of IDEA, including the effectiveness of state and local efforts to provide:
  1. FAPE to children with disabilities and
  2. early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and infants and toddlers who would be at risk of having substantial developmental delays if early intervention services were not provided to them.

As specified in section 664(c) of IDEA, IES is required to carry out a national study or studies that will inform efforts to ensure accountability for students who are held to alternate achievement standards. This section describes the studies and evaluations authorized by sections 664(a) and (c) of IDEA and supported by IES during FFY 2014 (October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014).

Under section 664(b) of IDEA (as amended in 2004), the secretary is responsible for carrying out a “national assessment” of activities supported by federal funds under IDEA. As delegated by the secretary, IES is carrying out this national assessment to:

  1. determine the effectiveness of IDEA in achieving the law’s purpose;
  2. provide timely information to the president, Congress, the states, local education agencies (LEAs), and the public on how to implement IDEA more effectively; and
  3. provide the president and Congress with information that will be useful in developing legislation to achieve the purposes of IDEA more effectively.

The national assessment is designed to address specific research questions that focus on:

  1. the implementation and impact of programs assisted under IDEA in addressing developmental and academic outcomes for children with disabilities,
  2. identification for early intervention and special education,
  3. early intervention and special education services, and
  4. early intervention and special education personnel.

Studies funded in FFY 2014 that contribute to the national assessment are described in Section VI.

Appendix A presents the numbers and percentages of the resident population represented by the infants and toddlers birth through age 2 served under IDEA, Part C, in 2013 in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the four outlying areas (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands); children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B; and students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, in 2013 in each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states (the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands). It also presents the number of children served in each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states by race/ethnicity.

Appendix B presents information about the children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, under the category of developmental delay.§ Exhibits B-1 and B-2 provide data on the percentages of resident populations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico represented by the children ages 3 through 5 and students ages 6 through 9 served under IDEA, Part B, who were reported under the category of developmental delay, respectively, in each year, 2003 through 2013. Exhibit B-3 identifies whether each state, the District of Columbia, BIE schools, Puerto Rico, the four outlying areas, and the three freely associated states used the developmental delay category for children ages 3 through 5, students ages 6 through 9, or both in 2013.


Appendix B Footnote

§ This descriptor and other section 618 data descriptors in this report are italicized within exhibits, text, and notes to clarify that the reference is to a grouping of data.


Appendix C presents state-level information on the number of students who received coordinated early intervening services (CEIS) and number and percentage of LEAs and educational service agencies (ESAs) that were required to use 15 percent of IDEA sections 611 and 619 funds for CEIS due to significant disproportionality or that voluntarily used up to 15 percent of IDEA sections 611 and 619 funds for CEIS. In addition, state-level data are presented on the number and percentage of LEAs and ESAs that met the IDEA, Part B, requirements under 34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) section 300.600(a)(2) and had an increase in IDEA Part B section 611 allocations and took the maintenance of effort (MOE) reduction pursuant to IDEA section 613(a)(2)(C) in school year 2012–13.

* (Found in Preface) When referring to a “highly qualified teacher,” the term “highly qualified” has the meaning given the term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). For a highly qualified special education teacher, the term “highly qualified” has the same meaning given the term in ESEA, as amended, except that such term also includes the requirements described in section 602(10)(B) of IDEA, and the option for teachers to meet the requirements of section 9101 of ESEA, as amended, by meeting the requirements of section 602(10)(C) or (D) of IDEA [see 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 1401(10)].

 (Found in Preface) The year in the title reflects the U.S. Department of Education’s target year for submitting the report to Congress. The most current findings are based on data collected from July 2012 through December 2013. These data have been available to the public prior to their presentation in this report. Subsequent references to this report and previously published annual reports will be abbreviated: they will not include “on the Implementation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

 (Found in Preface) 618 data consist of:

  1. the number of infants and toddlers served under IDEA, Part C; the settings in which they receive program services; information on the transition at age 3 out of Part C; and dispute resolution information and
  2. the number of children and students served under IDEA, Part B; the environments in which they receive education; their participation in and performance on state assessments; information on their exiting special education services; the personnel employed to provide educational services to them; disciplinary actions that affect them; and dispute resolution information.

§ (Found in Appendix B) This descriptor and other section 618 data descriptors in this report are italicized within exhibits, text, and notes to clarify that the reference is to a grouping of data.