ISBE began implementing the Illinois Special Education Accountability and Support System in September 2020. The system was designed to:
- Maintain a high level of compliance with IDEA federal regulations and Illinois Administrative Rules for special education.
- Support local education agencies (LEAs) in the process of self-assessment, root cause analysis, evaluation, and improvement of compliance and results-focused efforts.
- Establish a continuous and meaningful process focused on improving academic results and functional outcomes for students with disabilities by connecting local data to improvement efforts.
- Connect system improvement activities with multi-year planning and supports.
The foundation of the updated system was built on the premise of results-based accountability (RBA) currently being utilized at the federal level. RBA shifts from a system focused primarily on compliance to one that is more balanced and emphasizes improving results and outcomes as well. The Illinois Special Education Accountability and Support System provides differentiated monitoring and support using an RBA framework. It is designed to identify potential LEA risk through the LEA Determinations process and to assist ISBE in effectively utilizing its resources to provide tiered monitoring and support to its LEAs. It focuses on monitoring for compliance and results, and uses that information to provide targeted, evidence-based technical assistance and professional development to LEAs. It addresses district-specific needs in the areas of results, compliance, and fiscal by differentiating levels and types of monitoring and support based on each LEA’s unique strengths, progress, and challenges identified through the LEA Determinations process. The three main components of the Illinois Special Education Accountability and Support System are LEA selection and determinations, tiered supports and resources, and system support plans.