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Measuring the Status and Change of NAEP State Inclusion Rates for Students with Disabilities: Results 2007-2009

September 2011

Author: Sami Kitmitto

PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (4639K PDF)

Cover image of 2009 NAEP report: Measuring the Status and Change of NAEP State Inclusion Rates for Students With Disabilities

About the Study

Previous Reseach

Reporting of trends requires consistency in inclusion practices across years, and the lack of consistency in the inclusion of students with disabilities has been a concern for NAEP researchers (Forgione 1999; McLaughlin 2000, 2001, 2003). Numerous publications and working papers related to the inclusion of students in NAEP have been conducted and are available on the NCES website.

In 2009, NCES released a Research and Development report, Measuring the Status and Change of NAEP State Inclusion Rates for Students with Disabilities (Kitmitto and Bandeira de Mello 2009). The report provided a methodology and two measures of change in each state’s inclusion rate, taking into consideration the following factors that differ across states and across time:

  • The prevalence of students with different types and severities of disabilities; and
  • The accommodations that states permit in their own testing programs compared with those allowed for NAEP.

State-level inclusion rates are expected to vary according to differing proportions of students with different types and severities of disabilities and the offering of accommodations on the state assessment that are not allowed on NAEP. Variations that result from other factors that we cannot measure are meant to be captured by our change measure.

That study reported results for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and used data from the 2005 and 2007 NAEP fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics assessments. The methodology developed in the report was next applied to measuring change in districts participating in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) program.

Click here for the full report with state-level results

The results for the application to TUDA districts are also available on the NCES website.

Current Study

NCES continues to be interested in addressing the issue identified by GAO. With the release of the 2009 NAEP reading and mathematics assessments, NCES again had the opportunity to measure the status and change in inclusion rates and, hence, conducted this update to the 2009 report. Additionally, while the general methodology did not change, the specification of the statistical model changed slightly. First, changes in the background information that NAEP collects on students with disabilities meant that one of the control factors that had been used in the previous report was not available in the 2009 administration and therefore was not used in the model. Second, efforts were made to re-specify the statistical model to better handle student observations with missing background information.

This report is limited to the discussion and application of methods for measuring change in state-level inclusion rates. Not included here are discussions of the explanations, other than methodological, behind reported results or the implications of these reports for policy.

Though the focus of this study is on change over 2007-09, results from 2005-07 were re-calculated with the updated model. Changes in inclusion for 2005-07 and 2005-09 are presented with the 2007-09 results for comparative purposes. Click here to find details on the changes in the methodology as well as full results from the study.


All data used in this report were obtained from the 2005, 2007, and 2009 NAEP administrations. The sample was limited to public school students with disabilities (SDs) who are not English language learners (ELLs). This is different from other NAEP reporting of students with disabilities that typically includes students who are also English language learners. ELLs were not included in the analysis because factors influencing the inclusion of SDs and ELLs are distinct. We expect SDs who are also ELLs to be included on NAEP under a different process; hence expect that the model and, possibly, results will change by including them. Therefore, findings in this report may not be applicable to SDs who are ELLs or may be different when SDs who are ELL are included.

Information on the characteristics of students with disabilities was collected through NAEP’s SD Questionnaire. The SD Questionnaire is intended to be completed by the special education teacher or staff member who is most familiar with the student. Find copies of the 2005, 2007, and 2009 SD questionnaires (all subjects) here.

As in the earlier report (Kitmitto & Bandeira de Mello 2009), the discussions presented here are exploratory in nature and therefore cannot be used to draw causal inferences.

Organization of the Report

This report starts with a brief introduction to the inclusion of students with disabilities on NAEP and motivation for the methodology used in this study. Next is a discussion of the variability of inclusion rates across states and across student characteristics. This is followed by a discussion of variability of student characteristics across states and time. The core methodology for measuring change is then introduced as well as a measure of inclusiveness, or “status measure,” in the initial year over which change is measured. The status measure provides context for understanding the change measure. An illustrated example is then provided. The remainder of the report is devoted to a summary of results for 2007-09 and a comparison of change over 2005-07 to change over 2007-09. The consistency of change across subjects (mathematics and reading), grades (4 and 8), and time periods (2005-07, 2007-09, and 2005-09) is explored at the end of the report.

NOTE: For this report, the District of Columbia is defined and referred to as a state.

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PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (4639K PDF)

NCES 2011-457 See the entry in the NCES database for contact and ordering information, and for links to similar topics.

Suggested Citation
Kitmitto, S. (2011). Measuring Status and Change in NAEP Inclusion Rates of Students With Disabilities: Results 2007-09 (NCES 2011-457). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

For more information, learn about how NAEP works to increase inclusion for students with disabilities in large-scale assessments and about the potential effects of exclusion upon educational assessments.

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Last updated 26 September 2011 (EP)