WASHINGTON (AP) — The Education Department says it will begin using graduation rates, test scores and other measures of academic performance to help determine if states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
The department calls the change a major shift in the way it assesses special education programs. It says it was necessary because these students overall have lower graduation rates and don't do as well in reading and math as their peers.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says students with disabilities excel when they are held to high expectations.
States that fail to meet the more stringent benchmarks for three or more years could face the loss of some of their federal funding.
Under the old system, 41 states and territories met requirements. But under the new system, only 18 did.