May a report card identify special education being provided for that student or otherwise indicate that the student has a disability? For instance, may the report card refer to an IEP or a plan for providing services under Section 504?
Report cards indicate a child’s progress or level of achievement in specific classes, course content, or curriculum. Consistent with this purpose, it would be permissible under Section 504 and Title II for a report card to indicate that a student is receiving special education or related services as long as the report card informs parents about their child’s progress or level of achievement in specific classes, course content, or curriculum. For instance, a report card for a student with a disability may refer to an IEP or may refer to a plan for providing services under Section 504.
TEC §28.0216 requires that school district grading policies:
“(1) must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the students’ relative mastery of an assignment; [and]
(2) may not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work.”
These rules apply to classroom assignments, examinations, and overall grades for each grading period. Because of this, teachers may not assign a grade based on effort, and schools cannot pass a student who has not mastered the curriculum. Since goals can be either academic or functional in nature, they either serve as a “link” to grade level standards, or they serve to help a student “access” grade-level standards. In this case, IEP goals remain supplementary to grade-level standards. Because of this, mastery of an IEP goal does not constitute passing a course, and passing a course does not equate to mastering an IEP goal.
If a student is receiving instruction in a resource setting, do you determine grades based on progress toward their IEP goals or on progress toward mastery of the curriculum?
All students are general education students first. For all students in the state of Texas grades K-12, the state standards are the TEKS. A student’s education setting does not change curriculum standards. Students should earn grades for activities in which they are accessing the standards.
Considerations for grading students with severe cognitive disabilities are the same as for all students with disabilities. The focus of IDEA 2004 is to provide all students access to general curriculum. Students should earn grades based on activities for which they are accessing the standards, not based on progress toward goals and objectives. The expectations for what these students should achieve in the grade-level content may be different from what is required in grade-level achievement standards due to needed modifications; however, the essence of the content at grade level should not change.
Las consideraciones para calificar (asignar notas) a los estudiantes con discapacidades cognitivas severas son las mismas que para todos los estudiantes con discapacidades. El enfoque de IDEA 2004 es el de proporcionar a todos los estudiantes acceso al currículo general. Los estudiantes deben obtener calificaciones basadas en las actividades para las que están accediendo a los estándares, no en base al progreso hacia las metas y los objetivos. Las expectativas de lo que estos estudiantes deben lograr con respecto al contenido del grado pueden ser diferentes de las que se requiere en los estándares de logro del grado escolar debido a las modificaciones necesarias; sin embargo, la esencia del contenido a nivel de grado no debe cambiar.
TEC §28.021(a) requires that promotion from one grade level to the next be determined “only on the basis of academic achievement or demonstrated proficiency of the subject matter of the course or grade level.”
Mastery of an IEP goal does not automatically constitute passing a course, and passing a course does not automatically equate to mastering an IEP goal.
What can you do if the school appears unwilling and/or unable to create a program or services to prevent your child from falling further behind or to narrow the gap with his or her peers? The school may say “Your child is making good progress” or “Your child is making passing grades”.
Recall the Law
An individualized education program “must include … A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to— (A) 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 (B) Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability; … (4) 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, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child— (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals; (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum”. 300.320(a)(2)(i)
As referenced in state law (TEC § 28.0216), a school district grading policy must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the student’s relative mastery of an assignment. Effort, attendance, work habits, and participation are not directly related to the demonstration of mastery of an assignment, nor do they give a clear picture of the student’s academic learning.
Monitoring your child’s progress is important anytime, but it is especially important now that the school year is half over. Reports from the school are not always very specific. Where is the child in relation to his/her peers, the grade level curriculum, his/her IEP goals?
The PRN website blog will be focusing on progress monitoring this month. We will be sharing articles and resources on grading and how to determine if your child is making progress towards IEP goals, a Section 504 plan, in RTI, and the general curriculum. You are encouraged to leave comments and ask questions at the end of the articles. Chuck Noe, our Education Specialist, will be answering questions and providing insight to help you determine if your child is making adequate progress and options to explore if your child is not making progress.