An IEP must include:
• The student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance - This means looking at the student’s current skills, both academically (such as reading, math, writing, and language) and functionally (such as fine and gross motor skills, personal care, behavioral, social, and emotional skills, and independent living skills). It also includes how the student’s disability affects his/her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum.
• Measurable goal(s) that the CCC expects the student to achieve over the next 12 months – This includes goals designed to meet the student’s academic and/or functional needs that result from the student’s disability. Well-written goals will help the student be involved and make progress in the general education curriculum to the fullest extent appropriate. Although previously required that the IEP include benchmarks or short-term objectives for every goal, they are now only required if the student participates in ISTAR instead of ISTEP (see section below on Participation in Statewide Assessment).
• Information on how the student’s progress toward achieving the IEP goals will be measured – Although objectives and benchmarks may not be required, it is still an expectation that all IEP goals will be written so that period reports can be given to the parent(s) on how the student is progressing in achieving each IEP goal. Depending on how the goal is designed, the teacher may be monitoring such things as scores on assessments, incidents of behavior, or other examples of skill attainment observed by the teacher. The data collected must be specific to the student’s goal(s) and should provide the parent(s) with information that is easily understood. The amount and type of data to be collected by the teacher should be discussed by the CCC
Information on the student’s progress will be reported to the parent(s) – The school must provide the parent(s) with a periodic report on the student’s progress that is easy to understand. The report must be given to the student’s parent(s) at least as often as when progress reports (report cards, mid-term reports, etc.) are provided to the parent(s) of students who have not been identified as having a disability. Although a more frequent report of progress may be provided if determined appropriate by the CCC.
• A description of the special education services and supports that will be provided to the student or to staff working with the student – The type of services and supports to be provided to a student and staff will be based on the student’s educational needs. The supports are designed to help the student achieve his/her annual goals and participate in the general education curriculum, extracurricular activities, and other nonacademic activities with non-disabled students as much as possible. In addition to specially designed instruction, the student may need related services, accommodations, or modifications in order to benefit from his/her special education. If staff members who are in contact with the student need supports or training to better understand the student’s strengths and needs or to implement the student’s IEP, those may be listed as well (see the section below on Related Services, Accommodations, and Modifications).
• The projected date the services will begin and end, and the length, frequency, and location of the services – The IEP must include the dates of when the school expects services to begin and end, how often the services and supports will occur, how long each service or support will last, and where the student will receive the service or support.
For example, the IEP may state that the student will receive: o 30 minutes of speech therapy one time a week in the general education classroom beginning on or about September 1, 2009 and ending on or about June 1, 2010. o 60 minutes of reading instruction two times per week in the resource room beginning on September 1, 2009 and ending on December 31, 2009.
Although some schools build time into service providers’ schedules at the beginning and end of each school year to allow for screening of new students or convening annual case reviews for current students, the provision of services cannot be reduced unless the CCC agrees to these exceptions. To adjust for schedules an IEP may state that the student will receive 60 minutes of reading instruction two times per week for the first and last month of the school year; and 30 minutes of reading instruction two times per week for all other months during the school year. However, unless the CCC discusses and agrees otherwise, the Individualized Education Program - 32 decision to modify the IEP at certain times during the school year due to staff requirements such as screening or annual case review is prohibited.
• Information about how the student will participate in local and statewide assessments – Schools test students at various times during the school year. ISTEP (the Indiana Statewide Testing of Educational Performance) is the statewide test that schools give to students. Most students will participate in the ISTEP+ either with or without accommodations. In 2010, a modified version of ISTEP+ is expected to be available for students with disabilities who meet the criteria to participate in a modified assessment. For students with more significant cognitive disabilities the state has an assessment called ISTAR (the Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting).
The ISTAR assessment has two achievement levels that the CCC must consider for a student to be eligible to participate. It is up to each student’s CCC to decide whether the student should participate in: o the ISTAR assessment aligned to academic competence, or o the ISTAR assessment aligned to independent functioning. All assessment decisions for the student are based on his/her expected educational outcomes using existing performance data available to the CCC. Students in high school who intend to graduate with a high school diploma must participate in the end of course assessment (EoCA) for Algebra and Language Arts 10. An EoCA in Biology is expected to be added in the upcoming year. Students who have a significant cognitive disability will be assessed minimally at grade 10 and optionally at higher grades (see the Appendix for criteria expectations and decision-making charts). The CCC must discuss the testing options available for the student, including local and national tests not regulated by the state. In making testing decisions the CCC must discuss any potential consequences (e.g., earning a high school diploma) and record the reason the CCC chose the assessment option(s) for the student. Accommodations used routinely by the student in his/her educational program may be offered in the assessment situation if so determined by the CCC. However, any accommodation offered on the state-mandated assessment must meet the guidance criteria provided by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). The assessment guidance is updated routinely and is available on the IDOE website at: http://www.doe.in.gov/istep/. Look for the link for the ISTEP+ Program Manual.
• The student’s participation with non-disabled students – If the IEP does not limit a student’s participation in any way, the student should be able to participate with non-disabled students in academic classes and other educational programs such as vocational education, art, music, industrial arts, consumer and homemaking education, field trips and convocations. The student should also be able to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities such as meals, recess, athletics, recreational activities, school-sponsored groups or clubs, graduation ceremonies, and student employment. If the CCC decides that a student needs supplementary aids and services in order to participate with non-disabled students in extracurricular or nonacademic activities, the CCC should include these in the IEP.
• The student’s need for extended school year (ESY) services – ESY services means special education and related services that are provided to a student at times when other students are not in school (like during the summer or after school). The CCC decides, based on the student’s educational needs, if a student needs ESY services. If the CCC decides the student needs ESY services, the services must be described in the student’s IEP. This description must be specific enough that all involved with the student understand the ESY services to be provided and when/how they will occur. participate with non-disabled students, the CCC must identify those situations in the IEP. This covers all educational, extracurricular, and other nonacademic activities.
• The student’s placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) – The CCC decides where the student should be placed. For example, will the student be placed in the general education classroom and receive some or all of the special services and supports in that classroom, or will the student spend only part of the day in the general education classroom and receive services and supports in another location? There are a variety of placement options ranging from full time placement in a general education classroom to placement in a private residential setting.
Written notes to document the CCC meeting – The IEP and the documentation of the CCC may include a section called written notes. This document may blend the required components of the IEP and other necessary details such as the date and the purpose of the meeting, the names and titles of everyone who participated in the meeting, the issues discussed, the rationale for various decisions made by the CCC, and other educationally relevant notes considered by the CCC.
Information on transfer of rights when the student turns 18 – When the CCC is developing an IEP for a student who will turn 17 when the IEP is in effect, the parent(s) and the student must be notified that the parental rights will transfer to the student when the student turns 18. The statement that the parent(s) and student have been notified of this transfer must be documented in the IEP (see the section on Preparing for Transition from School to Adult Life).