Traits, personality traits, or characteristics … no matter what you call them, if ignored, it is almost a guarantee that your child’s IEP goals will fail. What are these traits you ask? They are the immeasurable qualities that make your child who they are.
- Your child’s learning style
- Your child’s interests
- Your child’s anxiety triggers or fears
- Your child’s view of themselves
Knowing and documenting these characteristics will help everyone on the ARD committee understand how best to provide services to your child. It will also help you determine if a particular intervention or accommodation is right for your child. For example, because my son is a visual learner, with auditory processing and concentration issues, having read-aloud as an accommodation is counter-intuitive. Because I know this, I would ask that the accommodation be adapted (i.e, giving my child a book to follow along with or using turn-taking during read aloud).
Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help you make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.
Our children’s progress is being monitored constantly at school, through the steady stream of homework assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized tests. On first hearing the term “student progress monitoring,” our initial reaction may be “they’re doing this already!” or “more tests?”.
But do you really know how much your child is learning or progressing? Standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. However, these tests are given at the end of the year; the teacher who has been working with your child during the year will not be able to use the test results to decide how to help your child learn better.
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.
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)
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.
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.