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Supporting Students with Giftedness,

Intellectual, or Behavioural Needs

Draft Revisions to Exceptionality Definitions and Next Steps

November 13, 2015

Purpose

The purpose of today’s presentation is to:

Seek input on the operational implications the ministry should consider before approving three proposed revised exceptionality definitions:

Giftedness

Intellectual Disability (formerly separate Mild Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability definitions)

Behaviour

To build an understanding of what will be needed for guidelines to

support more consistent and effective practices across Ontario in the

application of these revised definitions

Vision for Education in Ontario

In 2014 the government released

Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario

The Renewed Vision includes four goals:

1.

Achieving Excellence

2.

Ensuring Equity

3.

Promoting Well-Being

4.

Enhancing Public Confidence

Achieving Excellence 2. Ensuring Equity 3. Promoting Well-Being 4. Enhancing Public Confidence 3

Guiding Principles

The following Guiding Principles were provided to the three Definitions Working Groups as part of the Terms of Reference for the current project:

Improve achievement and well-being of students with special education

needs.

Increase capacity of schools to effectively meet the needs of all learners.

Support the development and implementation of effective Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

Enhance collaboration among ministries, schools, families and community

partners.

Improve balance between teaching and learning and required processes and documentation.

Enable transitions for students into, through and exiting from the education

system.

Context

The Ministry of Education (EDU) is committed to providing school boards with direction and resources that will assist them in supporting students with special education needs.

Since 2009, the Education Act has established student achievement and well-being as two of the primary responsibilities of all partners in the education sector, which includes students with special education needs.

The ministry has implemented many policies/initiatives that have resulted in a paradigm and practice shift in supporting students with special education needs (e.g., Learning for All K-12).

EDU is an integral partner in inter-ministerial initiatives such as Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and the Special Needs Strategy.

Exceptionality Definitions

Five categories of exceptionalities are set out in subsection 1(1) of the

Education Act

The definition of an exceptional pupil is further elaborated on by the Ministry in Special Education: A Guide for Educators, 2001 (currently under revision)

The five categories (Behaviour, Communication, Intellectual, Physical,

and Multiple) are out of scope, requiring amendment of the Act

The ministry’s definitions of exceptionality (twelve exceptionalities within the five categories), that are used in the Identification Placement Review

Committee (IPRC) process, have not been updated since 1999.

Categories and Definitions of Exceptionality

Where the Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) has identified a student as exceptional, the decision will include the categories from the Act and the definitions of exceptionalities established by the Ministry of Education.

5 Categories and 12 Definitions of Exceptionalities

BEHAVIOUR *

Behaviour

COMMUNICATION * Autism Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing*** Language Impairment Speech Impairment

Learning Disability **

INTELLECTUAL *

Giftedness

Mild Intellectual Disability Developmental Disability

PHYSICAL * Physical Disability Blind and Low Vision ***

MULTIPLE

EXCEPTIONALITIES *

Multiple Exceptionalities

*

The current review of definitions does not include review of the 5 categories stipulated in the Act

**

Definition updated and released as part of PPM 8 in 2014. DRAFT guidelines were developed but not released.

***

DRAFT Guidelines developed but not yet released

All Students Reported as Receiving Special Education Programs and/or Services

2013-14

All other students

(1,681,074)

83.4%

ALL REPORTED All students reported as receiving special education programs and/or services*

(334,311)

16.6%

IPRC’D 55% of all students

reported as receiving

special education programs and/or services identified by IPRC

(182,491)

(9.1% of Total Enrolment)

NOT IPRC’D 45% of all students reported as receiving special education programs and/or services NOT identified by IPRC

(151,820)

(7.5% of Total Enrolment)

Note: Total Enrolment, 2013-14 = 2,015,385 students

* ALL REPORTED includes all students reported as receiving special education programs and/or services (IPRC’d and not IPRC’d), reported by boards/schools to OnSIS. Data includes English/French, public /Roman Catholic, elementary and secondary schools. Data excludes private schools; publicly funded hospital and provincial schools; care, treatment, custody and/or correctional facilities; summer, night and adult continuing education day schools.

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Overview: Students Receiving Special Education Programs & Services

In 2013-14 school boards reported that 16.6% of the total student population, or 334,311 students were receiving special education programs and/or services.

were receiving special education programs and/or services. * IPRC – Identification, Placement and Review Committee
were receiving special education programs and/or services. * IPRC – Identification, Placement and Review Committee

*IPRC Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) Approximately 83% of all students (86% secondary) receiving special education programs and/or services are placed in regular classrooms for more than half of the instructional day.

At least 23,700 students reported to be receiving special education programs and/or services do not have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). No student is to be denied any special education programs pending an IPRC meeting or decision.

The above figures do not include students that attend Educational Programs for Pupils In Government

Approved Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Correctional Facilities. (Note: These students are not resident

pupils of a school board or school authority.

programs (469 Regular School Year, 103 Summer Programs) where there are approximately 5860 full time equivalent student spaces during the regular school year and 1260 spaces during the summer.)

In 2013-14, the Ministry funded a total of 572 education

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Overview: Students Receiving Special Education Programs & Services (Cont’d)

Board Variation in the Use of IPRC and its Impact on Exceptionality Data

The tables below show the 2013-14 range in students formally identified as exceptional by an IPRC as a percentage of the total number of students reported as receiving special education programs and services in Ontario’s 72 publicly-funded district school boards.

This significant variation impacts the graph of specific exceptionalities (below), which only reflects 55% of all reported to be receiving special education programs and services.

Minimum Identified %

1.5%

Maximum Identified %

100.0%

Median Identified %

53.1%

Provincial Avg Identified %

54.6%

Range of Identified %

# of DSBs

<30%

8

≥30% to <50%

20

≥50% to <70%

28

≥70% to <90%

12

≥90%

4

1

Revising Exceptionality Definitions

The revision of Intellectual [Giftedness, Developmental Disability (DD) /

Mild Intellectual Disability (MID)] and Behaviour definitions, and development of guidelines is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the capacity of school boards and to promote the use of consistent practices in delivery of special education programs and services across Ontario.

Over time, the Ministry may review all of the exceptionality definitions and/or develop new guidelines, for example:

Communication, the definition of Learning Disability (LD) was recently revised and released in 2014 as part of PPM 8. Draft LD guidelines were developed but not released.

Scope

In Scope

Out of Scope

Review and changes to definitions in the Intellectual and Behaviour categories of exceptionality for identification through an IPRC

Revisions to other exceptionality categories

Review of legislative or IPRC

 

processes

Sharing key messages with stakeholder groups following meetings, as necessary

Development of draft definitions

Review of placement options

Changes to ministry documents and/or policies regarding special education programs and services

 

Development of standards of

practice of required programming;

practice of required programming;

 

Before and after school child care

Special Education Grant funding approach

The Process to Date

In 2014, the ministry took a coordinated approach to review the intellectual and behaviour exceptionalities definitions (Phase 1) and to develop guidelines (Phase 2) to support more consistent and effective practices across Ontario.

Revised definitions will:

support the ministry renewed vision, particularly in timely and accurate identification of students with these exceptionalities;

reflect current research and developments in special education policies and

school board practices in supporting students with these exceptionalities;

enhance educators’ understanding of the precise learner profiles of students with intellectual or behaviour needs;

support more consistency among boards in supporting students with intellectual and behaviour needs; and

support coordinated and seamless transitions into, through and between

school boards.

The Process (Continued)

To inform the revision of Intellectual and Behaviour exceptionalities definitions, the Ministry convened external working groups with a range of experience and expertise, including researchers, practitioners, stakeholders and community partners to provide advice, expertise and support.

Three exceptionality-specific groups were formed to focus on reviewing the definitions: Giftedness, DD / MID and Behaviour. All three groups were guided

by external chairs, supported by Ministry staff.

The groups met during 2014. The three Definitions Working Groups came together as a larger group to focus on common issues, challenges and opportunities across the three exceptionalities.

The Ministry also established internal Exceptionality Teams to support the work

of the three Exceptionality Working Groups by conducting jurisdictional scans and analysis of current research and practices provincially, nationally and internationally.

Next Steps: Revised Definitions

The ministry is considering the working groups’ proposed revised definitions for Intellectual and Behaviour exceptionalities and is seeking sector expertise to comment on:

the proposed revised definitions, and,

operational issues and considerations for developing guidelines to support school boards’ use of the definitions.

Sector input on the proposed definitions has occurred with:

Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education;

Minister’s Principals’ Reference Group;

School board Special Education Superintendents;

Ontario Psychological Association; and

Social Workers

Intra and inter-ministerial consultations are being conducted to ensure alignment with other relevant ministry’s policies and initiatives.

Next Steps: Intellectual and Behaviour

Guidelines (Phase 2)

Once revised definitions are approved, guideline working groups (Phase 2)

will be convened to provide advice on the development of guidelines to support more consistent and effective practices across Ontario.

New Guidelines will promote effective and promising practices related to the

provision of programs and services to support both:

students identified through IPRC

students with similar or related needs who are not identified through

IPRC all of whom will be expected to have an IEP after a reasonable

period of assessment

Discussion Questions

1. Would you recommend any changes to the draft definitions?

2. What should the ministry take into account in terms of operational considerations?

3. What needs to be addressed in guidelines to support use of the revised

definitions?