May a report card refer to an IEP or a plan for providing services under Section 504?

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.

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How Does Mastery of Annual Goals Relate to Grading and Promotion?

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.

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Si un estudiante recibe instrucción en el entorno del salón de recursos, ¿Las calificaciones se determinan con base en el progreso hacia sus metas del IEP o en el progreso hacia el dominio del plan de estudios?

Todos los estudiantes son estudiantes de educación general primero que nada. Para todos los estudiantes en el estado de Texas de los grados K-12, los estándares estatales son los TEKS. La colocación educativa de un estudiante no cambia los estándares del plan de estudios. Los estudiantes deben obtener calificaciones por las actividades a través de las cuales están accediendo a los estándares.

La colocación en la que un estudiante recibe servicios no tiene relación con las calificaciones que recibe. El dominio relativo del TEKS, con o sin adaptaciones o modificaciones, es la base para calificar a un estudiante.

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Are grades based on progress toward IEP goals or mastery of the curriculum?

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.

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How do you grade for a student with severe cognitive disabilities who is receiving services in the general education setting?

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.

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¿Cómo se califica a un estudiante con discapacidades cognitivas severas que recibe servicios en el entorno de educación general?

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.

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Can Teachers Base Grades on a Student’s Effort, Work Habits, Attendance, and/or Participation?

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.

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Should a Student’s Progress or Mastery toward IEP Goals be the Basis for Grades?

A student’s progress or mastery toward his/her IEP goals is never the basis for his/her grade.

It is important to point out that, even if written in measurable terms, a goal such as “70% mastery of grade- level TEKS” does not meet IDEA requirements of a measurable goal detailed in 34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(ii). Such a goal is simply a restatement of the expectations for all students in general education.

Students’ IEPs should not contain a restatement of the state standards, but must include measurable annual goals. Those goals designate the necessary learning for the student to ensure access to and progress in the general curriculum as well as resulting in the student’s attainment of standards set out as critical in his/ her PLAAFP (performance levels of academic achievement and functional performance).

LEAs report students’ progress towards mastery of their IEP goals through IEP progress reports.  This is its own process and is separate from reporting students’ grades.

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