GAO Finds “Significant” Quality Issues with Education Departments’ Seclusion and Restraint Data
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis of the U.S. Department of Education data collection for incidents of seclusion and restraint finds they are “largely ineffective or do not exist.”
In an examination of the 2015-2016 school-level data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), GAO found the data quality control processes were insufficient to detect problem data. The report states: “Absent more effective rules to improve data quality, determining the frequency and prevalence of restraint and seclusion will remain difficult.”
The report, including GAO’s six recommendations, comes as a response to the House Committee on Appropriations’ request in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 to evaluate the CRDC’s restraint and seclusion data. The GAO recommendations include the development of additional quality controls to address misreporting, address factors underlying misreporting and refine and clarify its definitions. The Department has agreed with all six recommendations.