The Texas Continuous Improvement Process (TCIP) is a permanent, annual process for improving special education in Texas. The state created this process based on a similar process used by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The TCIP has four major components, explained in each section below.
The Self Assessment is an exercise where the state examines itself to determine how it’s doing in the provision of Special Education. The state does this through the Texas Continuous Improvement Steering Committee--a group of 25-30 special education stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, etc.). To perform the Self Assessment, the committee reviews data and current activities related to the performance and compliance indicators in the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). The committee advises the State on performance targets for certain performance indicators in the SPP and APR.
Public Input and Information
Each year, the Texas Education Agency and Education Service Centers gather feedback through a variety of methods statewide including surveys, public forums, and stakeholder meetings. These methods provide the state with a different perspective on the special education system. While the self-assessment provides a quantitative, data oriented view of the provision of special education in Texas, public input and information feedback provide a qualitative view, based on input across the state. The information gathered through these methods is used for continuous improvement at the regional and state level.
Improvement planning involves reviewing data and statewide activities to understand what needs to be improved, then implementing actions to improve that part of the special education system. There are five TCIP Improvement Groups that have a focus aligned to the indicators in the SPP. The improvement groups are comprised of 20-25 special education stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, etc.). These improvement groups review data and current activities related to the 20 performance and compliance indicators in the SPP and APR and advise the State on continuous improvement. The indicators are explained below:
- Access to General Curriculum-Provides advisement on free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (FAPE/LRE) issues, discipline, secondary transition, and post school outcomes, and disproportionate representation in special education (SPP Indicators 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14)
- Early Childhood-Provides advisement on effective transition between IDEA Part C and IDEA Part B, early childhood outcomes, and preschool least restrictive environment issues (SPP Indicators 6, 7, 12)
- Parent Training-Provides advisement on building a coordinated system of consistent, accurate information and training available to parents (SPP Indicator 8)
- Teacher Preparation Forums-Provides advisement on issues related to adequate supply of personnel as well as training of personnel (SPP Indicators 1-14)
- Continuing Advisory Committee-Provides broad perspective on the TCIP (Federally required, governor-appointed state advisory panel) (SPP Indicators 1-14)
Data Sharing Model
The TCIP uses a multi-level, data-sharing model to inform improvement. Data is reported from the campus level and aggregated at the district level for submission to the TEA. The TEA generates reports for districts and regional ESCs for improvement planning. The TEA reports aggregate data to the OSEP. This data sharing model reflects the accountability aspects in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act statue (which focuses on campus and district level accountability), as well as the IDEA 2004 (which has always focused on student level accountability).