RDA: A Three Letter Acronym That is Here to Stay

In March, 2012, the Department of Education announced it was taking new steps to close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by balancing a focus on compliance with more attention on educational outcomes. These steps are known today as Results-Driven Accountability, or RDA.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) outlines its vision for RDA as “all components of accountability will be aligned in a manner that best supports states in improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and their families. The IDEA requires that the primary focus of IDEA monitoring be on improving educational results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities, and ensuring that states meet the IDEA program requirements. The current system places heavy emphasis on procedural compliance without consideration of how the requirements impact student learning outcomes. In order to fulfill the IDEA’s requirements, a more balanced approach to supporting program effectiveness in special education is necessary.”*

Between July, 2012 and November, 2012, OSEP posted a series of questions allowing stakeholders the opportunity to add their input into the development of an RDA system. The questions and their 173 responses can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/rda/index.html#comments.

OSEP has since created an online resource outlining the vision and core principles for RDA, along with a compendium of resources. Performance data is also available, including:

  • IDEA State Determinations Under Results Driven Accountability: 2014
  • IDEA Part B State Determinations: 2007-14
  • Percentage of Accurate IDEA State Reported Data: FY 2005-10
  • Percentage of Initial Evaluations of Students With Disabilities Completed Within Required Timelines Nationally: FY 2006-10
  • National Average Reading Proficiency for Students With Disabilities: FY 2005-10
  • National Average Math Proficiency for Students With Disabilities: FY 2005-10

To learn more about RDA and how it will impact your district, join us on December 2 as we welcome Dr. Alan Coulter, who will present “Prepare for Impact: 3 Key Questions About Results-Driven Accountability for Every SPED Administrator,” a free, 90-minute professional development webinar.