Policy brief

Students with Disabilities in the CORE Districts

Characteristics, Outcomes, and Transitions
Students with Disabilities Demographics - PACE Policy Brief Gee
Kevin Gee
University of California, Davis
Carolynne Beno
Yolo County Office of Education
Joe Witte
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University


In this brief, we leverage data from eight school districts, known as the CORE districts, to describe students with disabilities (SWDs) by their characteristics, outcomes, and transitions into and out of special education. We found that the most common disability type was a specific learning disability. Relative to their representation among students districtwide, males, African Americans, English language learners, and foster youth were more highly represented among SWDs. In terms of outcomes, chronic absence was more prevalent among children with multiple disabilities. Entry rates into special education were highest in K–4 while exits were most common in Grades 8–12. These descriptive results shed light on the diversity within the SWD population and highlight who may need targeted supports to address performance challenges.

Suggested citationGee, K., Beno, C., & Witte, J. (2020, February). Students with disabilities in the CORE Districts: Characteristics, outcomes, and transitions [Policy brief]. Policy Analysis for California Education. https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/students-disabilities-core-districts