SEA Dispute Resolution Coordination & Leadership

Whether you are new to your Dispute Resolution (DR) coordination and leadership role or not, you may find the content housed in this online suite of resources helpful in the administration of the required IDEA DR processes, as well as the implementation of other prevention and early resolution practices along the CADRE Continuum.

Know the Basics

Understanding IDEA, including its purpose and provisions, is critical to anyone in a dispute resolution coordination or leadership role. Visit OSEP’s About IDEA and Topic Areas webpages for more information. You may also wish to check out the Essential Components of the Special Education Process Modules at the Idaho Training Clearinghouse to learn more about the IEP process overall.

IDEA requires each State to establish, implement and maintain procedural safeguards related to mediation, written State complaints and due process complaints. While States must adhere to the federal requirements under IDEA, there is variability in how States fulfill these requirements. To assist States in implementing effective and efficient dispute resolution systems that align with IDEA, CADRE has developed or curated a number of resources for each required process, including customizable manuals and slide decks based on the 2013 OSEP Dispute Resolution Q&A, links to commonly used OSEP resources, and much more.

Understanding how dispute resolution relates to other aspects of special education, and how each of the required processes work together and fit within a larger continuum of dispute resolution options is important. Check out the customizable slide deck below.

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Optional Prevention & Early Resolution Practices

four people in a meetingCADRE strongly encourages States to have infrastructure in place to support the prevention and early resolution of special education disputes. Strong infrastructures include well-defined policies and procedures, sufficient resource allocation, trained staff and practitioners, and mechanisms for access and delivery of services, and more. Many States have adopted alternative dispute resolution options and implemented training and supports to help families and educators effectively work together and through conflict.

For more information, visit:

Collect and Report Required Dispute Resolution Data

Each SEA is required to report dispute resolution data as part of the Annual Mandatory Collection of Elementary and Secondary Education Data. There are two submissions that require specific dispute resolution data:

First is the IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Survey, commonly referred to as 618 data. This survey provides the U.S. Department of Education information on the counts of occurrences for the following: 

  • Written, signed complaints
  • Mediation requests
  • Due process complaints
  • Expedited due process complaints

The data collected using this survey is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 618. The data are also used for monitoring the programs and activities under IDEA and reported by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)’s Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA. The IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Survey covers an entire year of counts. For example, the SY 2020-21 data collection reporting year is defined as July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The window to submit the survey data is October - November.

Second is the reporting requirement that mandates States to submit data through EDFacts to complete their State Performance Plans (SPP) and Annual Performance Reports (APR). While the submissions require data from a variety of sources, there are indicators focused on dispute resolution, specifically B15 (percent of hearing requests resolved through resolution session settlement agreements), and B16, (percent of mediations held that resulted in mediation agreements). The data used to calculate these percentages are collected under Section 618 of the IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution Survey. The federal APR Tool will be open from January -  February. 

For information on EDFacts and EMAPS for dispute resolution reporting, see The U.S. Department of Education: The EDFacts Initiative.

Find Out About Your State Specific Procedures and Activity

It’s important to have a good grasp of how your DR system functions, what’s working well, as well as where there are opportunities for improvement. The CADRE Dispute Resolution System Self-assessment Tool can help guide your assessment process. The intent of the assessment is two-fold: (1) to provide a baseline for describing where your State dispute resolution system is now, and (2) to help individuals involved in DR system improvement efforts to begin thinking in a common framework.  

-    CADRE’s Dispute Resolution System Self-assessment Tool

For more information on how to assess, plan for, and operationalize the required IDEA processes as well as other early resolution options, visit CADRE’s Improving Your System suite of online resources or contact CADRE for technical assistance at

Consider Using CADRE's Data Drill Down Tool and DR Cost Comparison of DR Activities Tool

This tool can further assist you with the analysis of your dispute resolution data.

-    CADRE’s Data Drill Down Tool

This tool can assist you with comparing the costs associated with each of the dispute resolution processes.

-    CADRE Cost Comparison of Dispute Resolution Activities Tool

Ensure Policies and Procedures Align with IDEA and State Regulations

States also need to ensure that their DR policies and procedures align with IDEA and State regulations. To assist you with this responsibility, CADRE has curated the following OSEP resources:

Check your State specific regulations to ensure they are consistent with the federal regulations.

Learn More

Visit Contact CADRE for individual technical assistance at

Create Your Professional Learning Network

Learn how other States are implementing administrative requirements. Share your knowledge and expertise with others.

  • Post, respond, and view queries on CADRE’s secure listservs
  • Attend CADRE’s National Symposia
  • Participate in CADRE’s learning communities and workgroups
  • Connect with an experienced DR Coordinator

CADRE is eager to continually improve its resources. Your feedback is vital to supporting CADRE's mission and ongoing work. Please consider completing the following survey:

CADRE would like to thank the following stakeholders for their valuable input during the creation of these resources: Natè Dearden, Utah State Board of Education; John Inglish, University of Oregon; Kathy Clayton, Ed21 Consulting Services; and Monica Drvota, Ohio Department of Education.