Child Count Date and Data Accuracy

DATE: June 14, 2007 (email)
TO: Directors of Special Education/Pupil Services
FROM: Stephanie Petska
SUBJECT: Child Count Date and Data Accuracy

In an effort to consolidate data collection systems and eliminate duplication of data collection efforts within local educational agencies (LEAs), data elements previously collected through the PI-2197 Federal Student Data application, commonly known as Child Count, will be fully integrated into the Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES) beginning with the 2007-08 school year.

Background
State statute requires the count date for enrollment data to be the third Friday in September. In order to integrate the special education child count data collection with the enrollment data collection through ISES, DPI had begun to use the third Friday in September as its special education child count date for reporting requirements under section 618 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

However, on February 9, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) notified DPI the State's third Friday of September child count date is inconsistent with 34 CFR 300.641(a), which requires that, for purposes of the annual report required by section 618 of the Act and 34 CFR 300.640, the State must count and report the number of children with disabilities receiving special education and related services on any date between October 1 and December 1 of each year.

Solution
To ensure compliance with this requirement, DPI will require each LEA to conduct a child count of students with disabilities on October 1 of each year, beginning with the 2007-08 school year. Each LEA will compare their third Friday of September enrollment statement with their October 1 child count. If the child count of students with disabilities has changed, the LEA will submit the following changes to DPI via a secure URL:

  • Students identified on the third Friday of September as nondisabled (Primary Disability = 'N'), who are identified as disabled and receiving special education and related services on October 1
  • Students who have moved to the LEA who are identified as disabled and receiving special education and related services on October 1
  • Students identified as disabled and receiving special education and related services on the third Friday of September who have returned to regular education (Primary Disability = 'N') by October 1

In addition, all LEAs will certify their data are accurate and the number of students reported as eligible represents an unduplicated count of students with disabilities receiving special education and related services who meet eligibility criteria for the IDEA child count. DPI will generate the child count for students with disabilities as of October 1.

Data Accuracy
In preparation for next year's ISES data collection, DPI recently conducted a review of the number of students with disabilities reported on the 2006-07 Child Count (minus any parentally placed private school students) compared with the number of students with disabilities reported on the ISES third Friday of September count. Only ten percent of LEAs accurately reported the same number of students with disabilities on each of these counts. Common errors included -

The LEA failed to include in their ISES report:

  • Students with disabilities ages 3-5 who are receiving itinerant services such as speech but may not be enrolled in a formal school program such as 4 year-old kindergarten.
  • Students from their LEA currently attending the Wisconsin School for the Deaf or the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • Students with disabilities attending a CESA- or county-sponsored program.

LEAs may use the ISES Progress and Summary Reports option to view a list of students with disabilities as reported on the count date. Within the Child Count application, it is also possible to access a list of students with disabilities as of the date the LEA locked their submission (any changes made after the submission date, will not be reflected in the report). A comparison of these two reports will alert an LEA to their reporting errors.

Prior to submitting the 2007-08 ISES report, it will be important for LEAs to review the accuracy of their data on students with disabilities, including primary disability, secondary disability, and educational environment. Directors of special education are encouraged to work with their local ISES administrator to ensure information relating to students with disabilities is reported correctly. To identify your LEA's ISES administrator, please visit the following website at http://lbstat.dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/lbstat/xls/wslsisesadm.xls.

The need for timely and accurate data has become paramount in assessing the effectiveness of state and local efforts to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, in addition to ensuring continued procedural compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Many of the data elements used to assess outcomes are collected through ISES. Incomplete, inaccurate, or missing data can have serious implications such as negatively affecting LEA determinations under 34 CFR §300.603 and potentially impacting how an LEA may spend their flow-through dollars.

If you have any questions about the contents of this letter, please do not hesitate to contact Danielle Scott, Special Education Team, via email at DPI SPED Data.


Submit questions, comments, and suggestions about the WSLS or ISES to dpistats@dpi.wi.gov or call 1-800-507-5744.

Submit questions regarding the ESEA Report Card Requirements to dpieseadata@dpi.wi.gov.

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