Steps in the IEP Process (page 3)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Apr 30, 2014

Step 6: Implementation of the IEP

Once the IEP is developed, the student's services and individualized program begin. The IEP now lays out what constitutes an appropriate education for the student, the extent to which the student participates in the general education curriculum, the accommodations the student receives both for instruction and for testing, and the array of multidisciplinary services from related service providers that support the student's educational program. For students who are participating in a different curriculum or whose goals differ from those of the general education curriculum, the IEP has specified alternate assessment procedures as well.

Minor adjustments in students' goals or in the benchmarks that indicate their attainment do not signal a need for a new IEP or another IEP meeting. Services continue. However, major changes in goals, services, or placement do require parents to be notified in writing. Some changes, particularly if they involve a more restrictive placement, may necessitate a meeting of the IEP Team and the family. Most often, this situation arises when issues surrounding discipline are the reason for the change in placement or services. Later in this chapter you will learn more about behavioral intervention plans, which must be developed as part of students' IEPs when serious behavioral infractions (e.g., bringing guns or drugs to school, fighting, being "out of control") occur. You will also learn about the rules that must be followed when such infractions cause students' placements to be changed, even for a relatively short period of time. Even under these circumstances, however, educators and students are to persist in their progress toward attainment of the goals specified in the students' IEPs. Special services, as indicated in the IEP developed during Step 5, must continue.

Step 7: Evaluation and Reviews

IDEA '04 requires accountability for each IEP developed. In most states, students' IEPs are reviewed annually. Under an IDEA '04 pilot program, which is attempting to reduce paperwork and administrative burdens on educators, 15 states conduct these reviews every three years. The purpose of the IEP review meetings is to ensure that students are meeting their goals and making educational progress. Because accountability measures determine whether the student is making progress, educators are careful to describe expectations for tasks and skills the student needs to learn in terms that can be evaluated. Whether the IEP process is for an infant or toddler (an IFSP) or a schoolchild (an IEP and possibly a transition component), the expectation is that frequent assessments of the individual's performance will occur, even if major IEP reviews occur once a year or only every three years.

NCLB and IDEA '04 require that all students participate in annual state- or district-wide testing or in alternate assessments. Alternate assessments are made available to students learning English as their second language and to students with disabilities whose IEP goals focus less on accessing the general education curriculum and more on skills related to independence, life skills, and community presence. Most students with disabilities participate in these high-stakes testing situations with supports from accommodations like those they receive when they are accessing the general education curriculum (Bolt & Thurlow, 2004). For example, students who use enlarged print or braille to read classroom materials receive these accommodations in the testing situation as well. Remember that in addition to annual assessments, students with disabilities frequently receive less formal evaluations of their progress. Sometimes these assessments are even daily or weekly. The purpose of such measurements of progress is to guide instruction and be sure those interventions scheduled are effective.

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