Aug 032013

Can YOU determine if your child is making adequate yearly progress by yourself?
Could an independent examiner determine if your child is making adequate yearly progress based upon your child’s IEP goals?
Is your child’s progress based solely upon teacher judgement?

The IEP Measures of Adequate Yearly Progress are supposed to help you know for certain if your child is progressing.  If your child already has an IEP, you might want to go get it.  Look at the goals and measurement standards. Do the goals have a means of actually measuring progress?  Are your child’s goals based upon someone’s opinion or vague criteria?

How do you measure adequate yearly progress?

Measure = measuring has a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated; it is an expression of a number or measure or quantity; used to judge the worth of something (WordNet Dictionary @

Measuring during cooking is done with cups or spoons.

Measuring for woodworking is done with a ruler or yardstick.

Measuring learning goals is done through data collection, standardized testing, or other evaluative instruments. You can compare your child’s percentile rankings and grade equivalents (GE) from one year to the next.

Each year you want to see your child’s scores going UP. If the scores are staying the same, or even worse–going down, your child is not making PROGRESS.

Is your child moving forward educationally or is he regressing?  Regression is far more common than you may think! It’s a real possibility your child will fall further behind each year if you are not personally tracking your child’s educational progress.

When defining your child’s educational goals, be sure to set measures that let you judge your child’s progress. Use numbers so you can determine if your child is making adequate yearly progress.

How Much Progress is Adequate Yearly Progress ?

Progress = gradual improvement or growth or development; the act of moving forward toward a goal; a movement forward; develop in a positive way (WordNet Dictionary @

Adequate = as much as necessary for some requirement or purpose; about average; acceptable; a good or acceptable quantity or quality (WordNet Dictionary @

So, when you’re talking “adequate yearly progress,” consider the amount of progress you would EXPECT a typical child to make. You’d expect your child to go from one grade to the next in an average year.

For example, if your child’ is in third grade and reads at a 3.3 grade equivalent (GE), you’d expect him to be at a 4.3 GE one year later in the fourth grade school year. 

Many school personnel will say, “But he has learning disabilities. You can’t ‘expect’ him to learn at the same rate.”

Why not? By definition, if your child has been designated as having a “learning disabilities,” then he IS able to learn. If he CAN learn, he can catch up if his instruction is intense enough. Intense, one-on-one instruction is proven to bring better results.

My son caught up because my son had intense, one-on-one instruction. He went from a virtual non-reader (5th grade) to a 12+ GE in 7th grade in THREE years of home instruction.

Catching UP CAN happen **IF** a child receives the right type of instruction.. Focused, daily instruction of sufficient intensity can catch a child up. If a child is going to CATCH UP, he needs to make MORE Than one grade level of progress per school year. It’s possible for a child to make two or three years of progress in a school year. It happens when instruction is intense enough.

If your child makes LESS than a year of progress per school year, he will get further behind his peers each school year.

So, the question becomes, HOW MUCH progress is ADEQUATE for your child?

Adequate yearly progress is usually set by whatever you are willing to tolerate and what your child’s school wants to set.

What IDEA says about measuring adequate yearly progress :

Measurement of progress is mandated by IDEA for goals in the child’s IEP. Quite simply, the child’s progress must be “measured” with definitive, objective means of measurement. 

Additionally, your child’s progress should be forward moving with IDEA specifying the standard of Adequate Yearly Progress as the measure.

Your child’s IEP goals are supposed to address your child’s specific areas of disability. IDEA Appendix A clarifies that goals don’t relate to “general curriculum,” but rather they relate to your child’s specific area of disability.

For example, if your child has a reading disability, his IEP goals will relate specifically to reading instruction and the development of his reading skills.

In general, your child shouldn’t need goals for the “general curriculum,” because he should automatically be making adequate yearly progress **if** your child’s school is providing appropriate accommodations and assistive technology.

What IDEA Appendix A says about goals for adequate yearly progress in the general curriculum:

“A public agency is not required to include in an IEP annual goals that relate to areas of the general curriculum in which the child’s disability does not affect the child’s ability to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.

“If a child with a disability needs only modifications or accommodations in order to progress in an area of the general curriculum, the IEP does not need to include a goal for that area; however, the IEP would need to specify those modifications or accommodations.

“The IEP for each child with a disability (including children who are educated in separate classrooms or schools) must address how the child will be involved and progress in the general curriculum.”

Part B regulations recognize that some children have other educational needs resulting from their disability that also must be met. Educational needs must be met if those needs are not directly linked to participation in the general curriculum.

Adequate Yearly Progress Goal Setting Summary:

If you cannot measure your child’s educational progress, you won’t be able to determine if your child is making adequate yearly progress.

You can evaluate each of your child’s IEP goals to see if there is an objective means of measuring your child’s yearly progress.

Continue with the “Next” option below if you want to fully understand how to make sure your child’s IEP has measurable goals. Making sure goals have data-based measurements will enable you to track your child’s progress.

To learn how to set measurable goals, visit the section about Goals and Objectives.

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