Individualized Education Program
The IDEA 2004 regulations specify changes to IEPs that make them more relevant to student progress and reduce paperwork: The following information is based on a report published by the Council for Exceptional Children in January, 2007.
IEP Goals, Performance Levels, Progress Reports, and Assessments
- IEPs must include a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.
- Measurable goals statements must include academic and functional goals. (The 1997 regulations included benchmarks and short-term objectives.)
- States can continue to use benchmarks and short-term objectives for all students, but they must inform their districts and the U.S. Department of Education.
- Benchmarks and short-term objectives are required for children who take alternate assessments.
- IEPs must tell how the child’s progress will be measured and when periodic reports on the child’s progress will be provided. (The 1997 regulations said reports on the progress of children with disabilities must offered as often as parents were informed of the progress of non-disabled students.)
- If the IEP team decides the child will take an alternate assessment, it must include in the IEP a statement of why the child cannot participate in general education assessments and why the alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child.
- An initial evaluation must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for evaluation or within the timeframe the state established (if the state established this timeframe).
- Transition services must be included in the IEP when a child is 16 or younger. (Previously, the mandatory age was 14.)
- When the IEP team meets to discuss the child’s post-secondary goals and transition services, the child must be invited to the meeting. If he or she does not attend, the child’s interests must be considered.
- Measurable post-secondary goals must be developed for each student based on age appropriate transition assessments related to his or her training, education, employment, and independent living skills.
- All team members are not required to attend an IEP team meeting if:
- The area discussed isn’t being modified.
- The parents and school agree in writing.
- Written information is shared before the meeting.
- If the child’s parents and school agree, changes can be made to an IEP without convening an IEP meeting.
- If changes are made to a child’s IEP without a meeting, the IEP team must be informed of the changes.
- When students transfer to another public school, whether in-state or out-of-state, schools must share the IEP to ensure it is implemented and the child receives FAPE.
- The schools must provide comparable services.
- The student’s new school must have the opportunity to develop a new IEP.