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Significant Disproportionality

Disproportionality of racial/ethnic groups in special education is a longstanding national issue. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) requires states to define significant disproportionality of racial/ethnic groups with regards to identification in special education, identification in specific disability categories, placement, and discipline.

What is Significant Disproportionality?

The purpose of the Significant Disproportionality regulations under IDEA section 618(d) (20 U.S.C. 1418(d)) and § 300.646) is to promote equity in IDEA. Specifically, states must collect and examine data to determine if significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the State and the local educational agencies (LEAs) of the State with respect to:

(A) the identification of children as children with disabilities, including the identification of children as children with disabilities in accordance with a particular impairment;

(B) the placement in particular educational settings of such children; and

(C) the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions.

The standard methodology for identifying districts showing significant disproportionality in one or more areas uses risk ratios to analyze disparities for seven racial or ethnic groups, comparing each to all other children within the LEA in 14 different categories of analysis.

As used in these regulations, risk is a measure of likelihood expressed as a percentage or proportion. Specifically, it is the likelihood of a particular outcome, such as identification of a child as a child with a disability, placement in a particular setting, or disciplinary removal, for a specified racial or ethnic group.

Each state is required to set its own standard methodology. With input from school districts, communities, and families, in 2022 Oregon updated the methodology by which districts are identified as showing significant disproportionality by race/ethnicity.

Identification of Significant Disproportionality

Risk Ratio Thresholds and Significant Disproportionality Identification

2022-2023 School Year and Beyond

0.00 to 1.5: No Disproportionate Representation

>1.5 to 2.0: At Risk for Disproportionate Over-Representation

>2.0 to 2.45: Disproportionate Over-Representation

>2.45 for Two Consecutive Years: At Risk for Significant Disproportionality and District Notified of Risk

>2.45 for Three Consecutive years: Significant Disproportionality Identified and CCEIS Required


​When ODE Identifies a district as showing significant disproportionality, ODE must:

  • Ensure districts reserve 15 percent of IDEA funds for Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) to identify and address factors contributing to the significant disproportionality
  • Provide for the annual review of the policies, practices, and procedures of any district that has significant disproportionality; and if appropriate, require the district to publicly report on the revisions to policies, practices, and procedures.

Districts identified for significant disproportionality in one or more areas are required to:

  • Identify and address the factors contributing to significant disproportionality; and
  • Address a policy, practice, or procedure identified as contributing to the significant disproportionality;
  • Publicly report on any revisions to policy, procedure, or practice, and;
  • Set aside 15 percent of their IDEA funds for CCEIS.

When setting aside IDEA funds for CCEIS, districts:

  • May use CCEIS funds to serve children from age 3 through grade 12, particularly, but not exclusively, children in those groups that were significantly over-identified;
  • May include children not currently identified as needing special education or related services, and;
  • May not limit CCEIS only to children with disabilities.

More information about the Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services data collection can be found at ODE's Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS & CCEIS) web page.

​Identifying and Addressing Root Causes of Significant Disproportionality

Implementing CCEIS 2022-2023 Resources for Identified Districts

2022-2023 Resources for Identified Districts


Sarah Soltz  503-881-2120