• Seeking Equity for All Learners

Compliance, fear and discrimination have produced fragmented school-based systems for students with diverse learning needs that are not tied to improving specialized instruction or differentiated supports.  To address this problem, educators need (1) a new way to frame what constitutes a successful program for diverse learners and (2) the tools to streamline and assess whether their work is leading to improved student outcomes.


The ABC approach has three components


Our current measures only look at a piece of the puzzle – either focusing on an individual student’s progress to goals, pushing schools to engage in lengthy compliance exercises, or measuring special education students by the same measurements as their general education peers.  Each of these metrics is critical but does not present a well-rounded picture of what is happening at a school, district and statewide level. Transformative school practice calls for a more comprehensive, reliable and trusted view of success.

ABC has convened experts and stakeholders to develop a consensus framework for success, the Dimensions of Special Education Quality, that describes a new approach to high quality special education programming.  The Dimensions identify the fundamental drivers of an effective program, including elements and markers that provide further definition for what each dimension looks and feels like at the school level.


Next, to evaluate whether programming decisions are helping schools meet the Dimensions, ABC’s application (1) uses current data and predictive analytics to help schools make more data driven decisions; and (2) provides a hub for collecting and tracking the impact of special education improvement efforts.  By connecting the framework with outcomes data, the app helps schools make more equitable programming decisions, allocate resources efficiently, and tailor meaningful, specialized instruction that benefits all students.


By providing tools and resources, such as ABC’s application, grounded in the Dimensions, schools can implement solutions that have been road-tested and proven to work.  

ABC plans to launch national improvement challenges to create a community of schools working to reform the way special education is delivered, focusing on improving student outcomes and quality programming. Through connecting with other schools seeking improvement, impact is amplified from a school-by-school approach into a broader networked community of schools – each testing and implementing change aligned with their own student populations, state and local policies, and other contextual factors. 

Educators know what works best in their own communities. Understanding what challenge schools did to bring about the most critical improvements will help schools in different jurisdictions and with varied student populations translate, adjust, and test similar systems in their distinct contexts.

Meeting the needs of our most diverse learners helps all students achieve.