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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Alternative research-based procedures (new Sec. 300.307(a)(3)) (proposed Sec. 300.307(a)(4))

Comment: Many commenters expressed support for allowing the use of alternative research-based procedures to determine whether a child has an SLD. However, a few commenters stated that the use of alternative research-based procedures should be removed because there is no indication that these procedures will assist in identifying a child with an SLD and because the Act does not use this term.

Discussion: New Sec. 300.307(a)(3) (proposed Sec. 300.307(a)(4)) recognizes that there are alternative models to identify children with SLD that are based on sound scientific research and gives States flexibility to use these models. For example, a State could choose to identify children based on absolute low achievement and consideration of exclusionary factors as one criterion for eligibility. Other alternatives might combine features of different models for identification. We believe the evaluation procedures in section 614(b)(2) and (b)(3) of the Act give the Department the flexibility to allow States to use alternative, research-based procedures for determining whether a child has an SLD and is eligible for special education and related services.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that alternative research-based procedures are not based on scientific research and should therefore be removed.

Discussion: The Department does not support the use of identification procedures that are not based on scientific research. Models or procedures that claim to assist in identifying a child with an SLD, but which are not based on sound scientific research, are not appropriate and should not be adopted by LEAs or States.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters stated that the meaning of alternative research-based procedures is unclear and should be defined. One commenter stated that there would be inappropriate interventions and procedures without further clarification as to the meaning of alternative research-based procedures.

Discussion: As noted in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section for subpart A, we have added the definition of scientifically based research from section 9101(37) of the ESEA to the definitions section of these regulations. This definition is the most appropriate definition to include in these regulations, given the importance Congress placed on aligning the Act with the ESEA. The Department does not intend to dictate how extensive the research must be or who, within an LEA or State, should determine that the research is of high quality. We believe that this is a matter best left to State and local officials because determining the presence of an appropriate instructional process is part of the State-adopted criteria. This addition should provide the clarity requested by the commenters.

Changes: We have added a definition of scientifically based research to Sec. 300.35, giving the term the definition in section 9101(37) of the ESEA.