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To meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), all states must set rigorous standards for student achievement in reading, math, and science, and test students using assessments that are aligned with your state's academic content standards, which define what children must know and be able to do at each grade level. Since your child will be tested based on these standards, it would seem logical that formulation of his IEP goals would be based on them, particularly if your child has a deficit in reading or math. As a parent, you can play a role in making sure that your child's IEP goals are aligned with these academic content standards, even if your child may not reach the standards for his grade level in a single academic year.
By GreatSchools Staff
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that your child's IEP include a description of how the child's progress toward the annual goals will be measured, and when periodic reports of progress toward annual goals will be provided. Although short-term objectives are no longer required under IDEA 2004 for most students, parents may continue to request that annual goals contain additional information about the interim points of achievement that clearly indicate that the goal will be reached by year's end. Nothing in IDEA 2004 prohibits the development of short-term objectives. Periodic reports on your child's progress toward his IEP goals should be issued at least as often as those issued to parents of students without a disability, for example, at the same time report cards are issued. The two examples below show what a progress report on improvement of a child's math computation skills within a single grading period might look like:
Remember that you can also schedule an informal conference with the special education teacher to see how your child is doing. As the parent of a child with an IEP, you should communicate regularly with teachers and other school professionals, to ensure that your child is making measurable progress toward his IEP goals (and objectives and benchmarks, if applicable), so that you won't be in for "surprises" a few months down the road.
Sometimes parents and schools have different ideas about whether progress is being made toward a child's IEP goals or how quickly it's happening. Ideally, for academic deficits in reading and math, your child's IEP goals would be aligned with your state's academic content standards, but expectations must also be realistic. If your child is three grade levels behind his classmates in reading, he probably won't be able to catch up to them in a year, but he should make progress in closing the gap. If, after talking with the teacher about your child's lack of progress toward IEP goals you are still concerned, ask for an IEP review meeting. You can do this by writing a letter to the principal of your child's school or to the school district's special education administrator, and sending copies to the staff who work with your child.
Updated January 2010
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