Instructions for Administration:

Identify a team to complete The Critical Components Tool for Special Education Programs. This team should include a variety of stakeholder representatives of both general and special education (e.g. administrators, teachers, support personnel, parents, students, a school board member, etc.). This team could be an existing District/Cooperative/School leadership team, or an ad hoc team developed for this specific purpose.

Prior to meeting as a team, each team member must review the Critical Components Tool and independently rate each item on their copy of the Critical Components Tool. It should then be submitted to the facilitator for aggregating the scores identifying areas of agreement and disagreement. Each team member should think about evidence that would support their rating. Should an item not be used within the District/Cooperative/School, the team member, and the team should insert N/A in the evidence column the Critical Components Tool.

After each member has reviewed the Critical Components Tool independently, schedule approximately one to two hours to meet as a team to discuss individual responses and reach an agreement on the rating that best represents the current status of implementation at the identified site. A team member should be identified as the notetaker to record the ratings for each item, supporting evidence, and team discussion. A facilitator to support the administration of the Critical Components Tool should also be identified.

Complete the Critical Components Tool. The facilitator will identify each item and ask team members to indicate their individual rating by a show of fingers. (Not implementing = 0, Emerging = 1, Implementing = 2, Exemplary = 3) If everyone is in agreement, the notetaker will record that rating. If team members have varying responses, the discussion will be held until a consensus regarding the rating is reached. The discussion will be documented in the notes section. Record evidence supporting the ratings of “Implementing” and “Exemplary” only.

Use the completed Critical Components Tool for Special Education Programs to analyze the results, identify areas of strength, and challenge. Prioritize areas of
challenge and select items for further analysis and/or action planning. Develop goals to improve identified areas. Goals and action planning from your review should be integrated with the District/Cooperative/School improvement plan.

Rubric for Evaluation:

The following definitions describe each rating utilized on the Critical Components of Special Education Programs Checklist:

Not Implementing(0)

No evidence of implementation

Emerging (1)

Inconsistent evidence of implementation


Implementation is occurring but requires ongoing support, professional learning, and/or further development

Exemplary (3)

Implementation is occurring consistently in all settings without the support and is a part of the district/school culture


Listen to the Tool Training Here for instructions: Critical Components Tool Training