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Ohio Department of Education Topic News

Caseload Ratio Project and Study

5/21/2012

Update on the Caseload Ratio Project and Study - May 2012

The Caseload Ratio Study is a competitive grant from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Office for Exceptional Children (OEC) that began in the fall of 2010 for local educational agencies (LEAs) to create alternative plans for caseload ratios of the service providers to students with disabilities. The 21 grant awardees, our LEA partners, represent rural, suburban and urban school districts of all sizes as well as traditional public schools, community schools and career centers. Our LEA partners, received the charge to “be creative, resourceful and imaginative” in developing an alternative approach to caseload/workload ratios. They are studying the workloads and caseloads of intervention specialists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, adaptive physical education teachers, behavior specialists and nurses.

The Caseload Ratio Study was divided into two parts, initially to be completed over a two-year period. Year one was the planning phase where the LEA partners create plans to address caseload/workload issues. During year two, the implementation phase, the LEA partners are implementing their plans. Currently, all of our LEA partners in the Caseload Ratio Study are in the implementation phase of the study and they are implementing very different caseload/workload approaches.

Our LEA partners have faced many challenges over the course of this study including losing GRF funding, staffing changes and experiencing shifts in student populations. Fortunately, the researcher in charge of the study, Dr. Chuck Carlin, and his team at the University of Akron are doing an outstanding job of guiding them while conducting parallel studies, including a time study and a supply and demand study of related service providers. Due to the difficulties some of our partners faced, ODE is supporting them by granting time extensions. As a result, the Caseload Ratio Study will extend into the year 2013. Due to the various time extensions, many are on different timelines in the study.

In January 2012, a meeting of Caseload Ratio Study partners took place through a webinar. In the two-hour webinar, Dr. Carlin answered questions and introduced a time study and workload calculator. Dr. Carlin’s research team is in the process of conducting online individualized trainings to each of our LEA partners. His team created a manual that will train our LEA partners on how to use the calculator. Furthermore, Dr. Carlin and his team created a password protected website so our LEA partners can share documents from the time study portion of the study.

How will we determine the most effective approaches to service provider workloads and caseloads? We will be evaluating student outcomes to answer this question. After all, the reason we provide the services is so our students can make progress. We will be looking to see which approaches of workload/caseload balance provide the best outcomes for our students. As Dr. Carlin says, finding out what does not work can be just as valuable to us as finding out what does work.

Project Information

The Caseload Ratio Steering Committee formed by the Ohio Department of Education in 2008 to address caseload ratios decided that ratios should be flexible enough to accommodate variations in the intensity of needed services and to address the reality that most districts had moved from a unit system to a system that provides services in inclusive settings. We are happy to announce that all of our Caseload Ratio Project Partners are proposing plans that are flexible and address services being provided in inclusive settings.

Examples of the proposed alternative plans include:
• Developing flexible workload weighted formulas;
• Determining ratios based on intensity of student needs;
• Creating a caseload formula and a system to monitor student progress; and
• Studying service provider ratios in inclusive and resource settings;

In 2010-2011 ODE’s Office for Exceptional Children (OEC) posted a Caseload Ratio Project Request for Proposals (RFP). OEC was seeking multiple partners for a Caseload Ratio Project to help identify appropriate methods for calculating service-provider caseload ratios for services provided to students with disabilities.

Each project applicant could apply for up to $35,000 to fund the development of a plan for determining student caseload ratios for intervention specialists and related services personnel. City, local and exempted village school districts; community schools; educational service centers; and county boards of developmental disabilities could apply.Project participants who successfully completed plans by June 30, 2011 were eligible to apply for a second round of funding for implementing their plans during the 2011-2012 school year.

OEC will analyze all project plans to arrive at the best approaches for calculating the ratios in the hope that these approaches then can serve as models for districts or agencies statewide.

The 21 LEAs participating in the Caseload Ratio Project are:

  • Adams County Ohio Valley
  • Batavia Local
  • Blanchester Local
  • Bridges Community Academy
  • Clermont County Educational Service Center
  • Clermont N.E. Local
  • Crestview Local Schools
  • Educational Service Center of Central Ohio
  • Four County Joint Vocational School
  • Fredericktown Local Schools
  • Goshen Local School District
  • Greene County Educational Service Center
  • The Maritime Academy
  • Montgomery County Educational Service Center
  • Ripley Union Huntington Lewis School District
  • Sandusky City Schools
  • Tuscarawas County Board of Development Disabilities:  Starlight School
  • Virtual School House
  • Warren County Career Center
  • Wayne Local Schools
  • Westerville City Schools

For questions related to the Caseload Ratio Project and Study please contact Bernadette Laughlin, bernadette.laughlin@education.ohio.gov, or (877) 644-6338.