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1. Revise general requirements for the content of IEPs.

As used in Part 300, the term individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with 34 CFR 300.320 through 300.324, and that must include:
  • A statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance…
  • A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to:
    • Meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and
    • Meet each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability;
  • For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives;
  • A description of:
    • How the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals described in 34 CFR 300.320(a)(2) will be measured; and
    • When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided;
  • A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child…
  • A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments consistent with section 612(a)(16) of the Act; and if the IEP Team determines that the child must take an alternate assessment instead of a particular regular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment and why the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child….
[34 CFR 300.320(a)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Within the commentary included in the Part B Regulations it is noted that several commenters requested that “functional be defined. OSEP stated “We do not believe it is necessary to include a definition of ‘‘functional’’ in these regulations because the word is generally used to refer to activities and skills that are not considered academic or related to a child’s academic achievement as measured on Statewide achievement tests.” In your view, what is meant by functional performance and functional goals? Please give some examples.

  2. What message is conveyed in IDEA 2004 by ensuring both measurable academic and functional goals are considered in annual goals on an IEP?

  3. How might IEP development and implementation change given IDEA’s new focus on academic achievement and functional performance as opposed to the previous focus on educational achievement?

  4. What assessments are currently being used in your district in order to report a child’s present level of academic and functional performance?

  5. Although some states may choose to require benchmarks or short-term objectives in IEPs in their states and would have to identify in writing to the LEAs located in the state and to the Secretary that such rule, regulation, or policy is a State-imposed requirement, IDEA no longer requires the development of short-term objectives for any students other than those being assessed on an alternate assessment. How might this impact the communication between families and teachers in meeting annual goals?

  6. How might general and special education collaborate in aligning general education curriculum and state learning standards for students with IEPs?

  7. How might the consideration of peer-reviewed research. . . .impact the development of an IEP?
    • impact the delivery of services?
    • impact AYP scores?
    • correlate with RTI?

  8. What might be reasons a child cannot participate in the regular assessment? What steps might be taken to determine an appropriate alternate assessment?

  9. Does your state have guidelines that limit the use of accommodations on alternate assessments? If so, what are they?

Application Questions

  1. Has your State adopted a formal definition of “functional performance"? How does or will your district measure academic and functional performance for students with disabilities?

  2. What type of training or professional development might be necessary to assist education personnel and families in understanding, assessing, and addressing a student’s functional performance?

  3. What guidelines need to be in place in your District/State regarding the type of information that should be documented for academic achievement and functional performance?

  4. Short-term objectives have previously been used to guide instruction. What strategies might be important in providing the guidance that short-term objectives previously provided?

  5. When short-term objectives are not written into the IEP for a student, what information might school personnel use to report to parents their child’s progress towards achieving annual goal(s)?

  6. What factors do you think could influence the IEP team decision as to when and how often progress will be reported relative to IEP goals?

  7. How will community-based agencies be involved in developing and implementing functional goals when appropriate?

  8. What system will your district use in order to facilitate communication between general and special education teachers on monitoring and reporting student progress?

  9. How will your district or state determine if they met the guidelines of evaluating services based upon peer-review “to the extent practical”?

  10. What type of university and/or professional development training is necessary to prepare families, education personnel, and other stakeholders to judiciously choose and properly implement research-based practices within the classroom?

  11. How will your district or state ensure teachers, related service personnel, and families have access to resources that document peer-reviewed research?

  12. How might the new focus on academic achievement and functional performance impact selection of appropriate assessments?

  13. What procedures might be helpful at the classroom, building, district, and state levels to ensure proper reporting of alternate assessment data?
    • What data will be required and how will collection occur?
    • What data might be required and how might data collection occur?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Family Member
    Location: Arizona

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: California

    Role: Teacher
    Location: Colorado

    Role: Educational Consultant
    Location: Florida

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: Georgia

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: General Education Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Teacher
    Location: South Carolina

    Role: Family Member
    Location: Wisconsin