Friday, November 7, 2014

Factors Influencing Student Outcomes and How They Interact - 04 - Special Education

In response to the feedback received on "Educational Funding and Student Outcomes: The Relationship as Evidenced by State-Level Data," the KASB Research Department is working on a "Part II" which will dig further into other factors that impact student outcomes, and how funding impacts when these other factors are taken into consideration.

In this series of blog posts, I will describe the preliminary correlation analysis comparing these factors (independent variables) with each other in an attempt to show how closely tied to each other they are.  

Today's topic is Percent of Students ages 3-21 Served Under IDEA

NCES reports on the number of students with disabilities or special needs served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; providing an estimate of the percent of students requiring special accommodations and services within the schools.

In terms of other independent variables, I will list the interactions in terms of the strength of the highest correlation between variables observed; Strong (+/- 1.0 to 0.5), Moderate (+/- 0.5 to 0.3), Weak (+/- .03 to 0.1), and None or Very Weak (+/- 0.1 to 0.0).

Strong

  • There is a strong negative correlation between the percent of special education students and the student teacher ratio; indicating that states with fewer special education students have more students per teacher.  

Moderate

  • There is a moderate negative correlation between percent of special education students and percent of students participating in English Language Learner programs (ELL); indicating that states with larger special education student populations have smaller percents of students from homes where English is not the primary language.
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between the percent of special education students and the percent of white students, a moderate negative correlation between the percent of special education students and the percent of Hispanic students, and no correlation between the percent of special education students and the percent of black or American Indian or Alaska Native students.  This indicates that states with more white students and less Hispanic students have more students receiving services under IDEA. 
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and education funding with and without adjustments for inflation (CPI2014) and state cost of living (RPP); indicating that states with higher percents of special education students spend more on average per pupil.  
  • There is a moderate positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and population per square mile; indicating that more densely populated states have higher percentages of special education students.  

Weak

  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of special education students and time (period); indicating that a smaller percent of students are being served under IDEA each year.
  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of special education students and ACT participation, and a weak positive correlation between percent of special education and SAT participation; indicating students from states with a higher percent of special education students are less likely to take the ACT and more likely to take the SAT. 
  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of special education students and percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch; indicating that states with higher percents of special education students have lower percents of students in poverty. 
  • There is no correlation between the percent of special education students and teacher salaries (in actual dollars and inflation adjusted), but a weak positive correlation when the salary figures are adjusted for regional price parity (RPP); indicating that there is a relationship between the percent served under IDEA and teacher salaries when controlled for state cost of living with more special education students tied to higher cost of living.
  • There is no correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and spending on instruction as a percent of current spending, and a weak positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and spending on instruction as a percent of total spending; indicating states with higher percents of special education students put more of total spending towards instruction.
  • There is a weak positive correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and the percent of the population with at least a high school diploma, but no correlation between percent of student served under IDEA and percent of the population with a college degree; indicating that states with higher percents of special education students also have higher percents of people with at least a high school diploma.  
  • There is a weak negative correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and poverty ; indicating that states with lower percents of special education students have higher poverty levels.
  • There is no correlation between percent of students served under IDEA and the median household income (actual, CPI2014, and RPP), but there is a weak positive correlation between the percent of special education students and the per capita personal income (CPI2014 and RPP, but not actual); indicating that states with higher percents of special education students have higher per capita personal incomes when adjusted for inflation or cost of living.

None or Very Weak

  •  There is no correlation between percent of special education students and state cost of living (RPP).

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