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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Aug 032013

Student Accommodations and Modifications

If your child has an IEP, then your IEP team must consider the need for student accommodations. This page is specifically about the legal requirements, but you’ll more about specific accommodations as you go through the “NEXT” pages in this tutorial (links at bottom of this page).

IDEA §300.324 says IEPs should include the —
(i) Appropriate positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies for the child; and
(ii) Supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and support for school personnel” —

IDEA also says in section 300.320 (6)(i) that an IEP must include “A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and district-wide assessments.”

Additionally, IDEA specifies in Sec. 300.105 Assistive technology.
“(a) Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in Sec. Sec. 300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child’s–
(1) Special education under Sec. 300.36;
(2) Related services under Sec. 300.34; or
(3) Supplementary aids and services under Sec. Sec. 300.38 and 300.114(a)(2)(ii).
(b) On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE.”

The IDEA Appendix A says, “The Act requires the IEP team to determine, and the public agency to provide, the accommodations, modifications, supports, and supplementary aids and services, needed by each child with a disability to successfully be involved in and progress in the general curriculum achieve the goals of the IEP, and successfully demonstrate his or her competencies in State and district-wide assessments.”

“Public agencies often require all children, including children with disabilities, to demonstrate mastery in a given area of the general curriculum before allowing them to progress to the next level or grade in that area. Thus, in order to ensure that each child with a disability can effectively demonstrate competencies in an applicable area of the general curriculum, it is important for the IEP team to consider the accommodations and modifications that the child needs to assist him or her in demonstrating progress in that area.”

§300.342 (b)(3) Each teacher and provider must be informed of—(ii) The specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the child in accordance with the IEP. The teacher must know what provisions have been decided upon in order to utilize them effectively.

special education placement and iep advocacy

Student Accommodations Quiz Question

A district’s list of specific accommodations and modifications places limits on what a school can provide the child.

Answer: False. The list of student Accommodations is a starting point, but does not limit your school’s options for helping your child.

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Aug 032013

IEP Accommodations and Modifications –
Help your child access general curriculum:

iep accommodationsiep accommodations

One required section in your child’s IEP is the accommodations and modifications section. IEP accommodations provide your child equal access to the curriculum.

For example, if your child can’t yet read, having audiobooks for all textbooks is a great IEP accommodation. The audio books let your child listen to the textbooks, so he has equal access to the information.

Other accommodations can include help with note-taking, extended-time for testing, the ability to provide answers orally, etc. The accommodations your child gets depends on your child’s disability and educational needs.

This section of the tutorial will help you understand the IEP accommodations and modifications section of your child’s IEP. The Objectives for this unit include the following:

By the end of this “IEP Accommodations and Modifications” unit, you will be able to:

– Explain the difference between accommodations and modifications.

– List five examples of IEP accommodations that don’t help your child progress in the general curriculum.

– Provide five examples of IEP modifications.

– Explain why modifications should be avoided when possible.

IEP accommodations are one of the easiest ways to support your child in the general classroom. Accommodations give your child full participation and access in school. They allow that without affecting the quality of your child’s education.

Additionally, accommodations are a key for insuring your child is included in the regular classroom as much as possible.

IDEA wants to be sure that children with disabilities are educated in the regular classroom as much as possible. The kids are supposed to be taught with their typical peers.

Sometimes a child’s disabilities do not permit him to learn the same content, on grade-level, with typical peers. In those cases, modifications to the general curriculum may be necessary.

You’ll need to stay involved in your child’s education to insure modifications are not used if IEP accommodations would work.

To begin with, list your child’s areas of disability. Use the resource sites listed later in this unit to research IEP accommodations that might help your child learn better.

iep accommodations

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Aug 032013

IEP Services and Supports

When a child is disabled, she may have physical impairments which prevent access to general curriculum. She may need someone to help her use learning tools. The aid would be one of the child’s supplementary IEP services.

A blind child would require braille books, a child who is unable to talk requires a talking computer to communicate “verbally”, or a child who is incapable of holding a pencil may require a scribe to write for them. Each of these kids may also require the help of a person (aid) in the classroom. These kids may need supplementary IEP services and aids.

A child may have less obvious needs such as using a word processor for writing, color overlays for reading, or a “sensory diet” to provide enough stimuli to allow the child to concentrate on learning.

Any IEP services or aids required by your child in order to learn would be called a supplementary aid and would be specified as one of the IEP Services.

IEP Services

Your child may also require specific services to support learning.

When a child has physical impairments that interfere with learning, such as an inability to hold a pencil or inability to speak properly, the child can receive occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical therapy.

If a child needs therapy, goals would be developed in the IEP Goals section for the specific areas of need. The therapy would be designated as a required supplementary service in this section of the IEP.

ANY need a child has in order to function in his education must be provided through the IEP Services section. IEP Services such as a nursing aide, who tends to medical needs during schooling, vision therapy, special camps, etc. may be provided to a child. The IEP services must be educationally necessary in some way.

When a child would regress significantly and be unable to make up lost ground at the beginning of the following school year, summer camps or summer tutoring services may be needed to maintain gains in physical, social, or intellectual skills. These types of IEP services are provided as “Extended School Year” (ESY).

ESY services can be provided any time—before school, after school, during holidays, or breaks. They can include tutoring for specific academic topics, specialized groups for social interactions, activities for developing motor skills, etc.

special education placement and iep advocacy

To figure out what supplementary aids and IEP services your child may need, ask yourself these questions:
• What does your child NEED to make learning accessible?
• Is there assistive technology that will improve your child’s learning?
• Has your child had an “Assistive Technology Evaluation”?

If your child has not had an A.T. evaluation.. Write your school a letter kindly requesting an “Assistive Technology Evaluation” now. You will need this information when you sit down with your IEP team to write your child’s IEP.

If you need ideas about Assistive Technology that may help your child, be sure to check out our Assistive Technology for Reading, Writing, and Math webpages.

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Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: We are moving a child with an IEP to a new school. The new school system says our child doesn’t qualify for special services here. Can they just stop special education services?

Your child’s IEP and disability needs are covered under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). IDEA is U.S. Federal law. It is valid in all states. — See the Special Education Programs’ IDEA website.

Under federal rules, your child has the same federal special education rights in your new state as she had in your previous state. There is no basis for your new state to claim your child is no longer eligible for services. Your child doesn’t become ineligible simply because you are moving a child with an IEP to a new school. Your child should receive similar or the same services because she is still a child with a disability.

If your child’s new school wants to provide a program with a different placement or services, they are required to hold an IEP meeting. They have to document why a change in your child’s placement or services is needed. The new school must document their reason for changing or for eliminating your child’s special education services.

I highly recommend learning about Federal IDEA laws. You’ll have to stand up for your child’s rights. Your new state can’t just ditch the IEP and say your child isn’t covered, but if that’s what they’re trying to do, you’ll have to fight for your child.

There is an online, free IEP training course at The free IEP training will teach about IEPs and the requirements for developing them. The training doesn’t cover moving a child with an IEP to a new school, but it will help you understand eligibility and what should be in your child’s IEP.

I’d also recommend checking out or get the Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy – The Special Education Survival GuideMoving a child with an IEP to a new school book.  Both resources are from Pete Wright.

Understanding IEPs and Federal Laws governing special education rights will help you better understand what affect moving a child with an IEP to a new school has. Really, it should have little affect at all.

Bottom line: You will HAVE to stand up for your child’s rights and educational needs in the new district. Otherwise, it looks like your new school district is likely to walk all over your child’s special education eligibility rights. :-/ Moving a child with an IEP to a new school is difficult enough without having to fight for services your child needs.

BEST Wishes!

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