Addressing Significant Disproportionality in Ohio



View this presentation from OCALICONLINE 2020 to learn more about how to address disproportionality in Ohio schools. Speakers cover the three categories of disproportionality, preview changes that will be reflected in the new disproportionality section of the 2020-2021 Special Education Profile, and share one Ohio school district’s journey to address racial inequities over time.

Did you know?

Educators in Ohio are:

  • Two times as likely to:
    • Identify Black students with intellectual disabilities;
    • Place Black students in restrictive settings; and
    • Remove Black students for discipline.
  • Three times as likely to identify Black students as having an emotional disturbance.
  • Three times as likely to expel Black students from school.

In 2016 the federal Office of Special Education Programs amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations relating to significant disproportionality. This disproportionality generally occurs when students of one racial or ethnic group are more likely to receive special education identification, placement in a more restrictive setting, or more out of class discipline compared to all other students, thus denying them access to instruction and the support they need to succeed academically.

The IDEA requires the Department to promote equity by identifying and preventing significant disproportionality. Looking at disproportionality data helps ensure that the right services are getting to the right students in the right way. 

Significant Disproportionality Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Significant Disproportionality Data

New Data for Special Education Profiles

Ohio’s Special Education Profiles currently include data on disproportionality related to identification and discipline of students with disabilities. In 2016, the federal Office of Special Education Programs revised IDEA regulations, clarifying the categories of discipline events that states must review. Currently, profiles include discipline data only on out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of more than 10 cumulative days. The expanded data will include all in-school suspensions, out-of-school-suspensions and expulsions. Other new data will include total disciplinary removals, including in-school and out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and removals by school personnel and hearing officers.

Manuals and Guidance

Significant Disproportionality Resources

Implementing the New Regulations

As these changes are implemented, the Department will continue to gather stakeholder groups to offer feedback and help design policies, practices, procedures and supports to address disproportionality.

As you prepare EMIS student data, it is important to confirm the accuracy of discipline data submitted. The Department recommends special education staff work with personnel responsible for reporting discipline events to ensure accuracy of these data: 

  • Reported number of days of discipline;
  • Discipline type;
  • Race of the student; and
  • Disability condition (or lack thereof) in the student detail record.

Find more information about the new disproportionality regulations here.

Ohio Department of Education Resources


(P) 614-466-2650
(Toll free) 877-644-6338
(F) 614-728-1097
25 S. Front Street, Mail Stop 409
Columbus, Ohio 43215

For callers using TTY, please call Ohio Relay Service at (800) 750-0750.

Last Modified: 12/17/2020 1:27:03 PM