1 Guide To Writing Connected IEPs February 2007
2 Writing Connected IEPs The heart of IDEA is the written document called the Individualized Education Program. IDEA 2004 s emphasis is on the requirement that the IEP should describe how the student s disability affects his/her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. This is accomplished through the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statement. The Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) is the foundation for writing connected IEPs. The PLAAFP statement should accurately describe the student s performance in all areas of education that are affected by the disability. This could include physical education, academics, social emotional, transition, organizational skills, speech, language, motor skills, or any other area affected by the disability and appropriate to the student s unique educational or vocational needs. The present level of academic achievement and functional performance determines approaches for ensuring involvement in, or adaptations/modifications to, the general curriculum. Each area of identified need related to the disability must be addressed in at least one of the following: annual goals, supplementary aids/services/personnel supports, or secondary transition services. It also is the foundation for decisions determining the student s participation in State- and District-wide assessments. Using the PLAAFP information, the IEP Team determines appropriate supplementary aids/service/personnel support, annual goals and short term objectives, state and district-wide assessments and, when age appropriate, transitional services. In other words, it is the foundation for every decision made by the IEP team. The big picture of an individualized education plan should create a circular link between the PLAAFP, goals, objectives, transitional services, supplementary aids and services. Ultimately, the appropriate program and related services will allow the student to make progress in the general curriculum.
3 WRITING CONNECTED IEPS 2 Evaluation (DATA) Present Level of Academic Achievement And Functional Performance (PLAAFP) Goals and Objectives Transition Services Plan Supplementary Aids and Services State and District Wide Assessment Programs and Related Services
4 3 Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAPF) PURPOSE To accurately describe the student s performance in all areas of education and a description of functional performance that is affected by the student s disability, including the student s current status/progress in relation to their desired post-school outcomes. PLAAFP information supports the IEP Team s determination of transition services, supplemental aids and services, personnel supports, annual goals, short-term objectives, state/district-wide assessments, and ultimately, whether the curriculum must be adapted or modified for the student. NOTE: This is not a detailed instructional plan. The PLAAFP should be a general direction for intervention. NECESSARY ELEMENTS Narrative summary of the baseline data In understandable terms, explain the data, areas of need, and how the disability affects success in the general education curriculum. The narrative summary must be sufficient to provide a starting point for instruction and transition planning. Baseline data may be obtained from criterion referenced tests, standardized achievement tests, diagnostic tests, classroom performance, curriculum-based measurement, systematic observations, state or district-wide assessments, checklists, progress reports, report cards, student input, parent input, or any combination of the above. A statement of how the disability impacts the student s involvement/progress in the general education curriculum. This statement must address specific needs including, but not limited to, working independently, earning credits toward graduation, need for assistance, behavior supports, and/or organizational skills.
5 A description of area(s) of educational need. Areas of educational need include academic subject areas (such as math, reading, social studies or language arts), functional areas (such as self-care, social skills, behavior, or adaptive skills), or an area of disability (such as speech/language, or motor functioning). 4 CONNECTIVITY The rest of the IEP decisions should have a direct link back to the PLAAFP statement. To General Education Curriculum: The present level determines approaches for ensuring involvement in, or adaptations or modifications to, the general curriculum. How has the student been progressing in the general education curriculum? What benchmarks have he/she mastered, or is working on? To Annual Goals and Short-term Objectives: Each area of educational need identified in the PLAAFP (including PE, if appropriate) must be addressed in at least one of the following: annual goals, supplementary aids and services, personnel supports, or secondary transition services. Least Restrictive Environment: Educational placements should be determined by the child s needs, not by the label describing the child s disability or the availability of programs. In general, each IEPT must answer the following questions. How does the student s disability require specially designed instruction that cannot be provided in general education, including PE? Why, and where in the school day, does the student need special education? (See MI Department of Education s Position Paper titled Determining the LRE in Accordance with IDEA, dated August, 2004, for guidance.) Supplementary Aids/Services/Personnel Support: What identified areas of need suggest the need for supplementary aids and services, or personnel support? What accommodations or modifications to the assignments and/or curriculum would allow success in general education (including PE)? Transition Services Plan: At the IEP prior to the student s 14 th birthday, a determination must be made about where this student is presently functioning in relationship to where they want to be per his/her postschool vision in the areas of adult daily living, career/employment, post-secondary education & training, and community participation? Are there any areas that need special instruction, related services, or accommodations in order to achieve their vision/goals and are related to his/her EDP? State and District-wide Assessments: All students must participate in Michigan Educational Assessment System (MEAS) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME). IEP Teams must determine how students will participate on a case by case basis. Decisions must be made based on each student s functional level, extent of participation in General Education, and the future vision for the student. For guidance on choosing the most appropriate MI-Access Level, see the Guidelines for Determining Participation in State Assessment for Students with Disabilities published by the MI Department of Education.
6 5 Transition Services DEFINITION A coordinated set of activities for a students with a disability that is designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation; is based on the individual student s needs, taking into account the student s preferences and interests; and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. May be provided as specially designed instruction or related services. NECESSARY ELEMENTS The IEP must include (1) For each student with a disability beginning at age 14 (or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team), and updated annually, a statement of the transition service needs of the student under the applicable components of the student s IEP that focuses on the student s courses of study (such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education program); Transiton planning begins with the Educational Development Plan (EDP) that is now a requirement for all seventh graders. This is the beginning and continuing connection to the general education curriculum. The EDP and the IEP transition plan must be connected. Must be based on transition assessments and inventories Must be in place on the 16 th birthday. Therefore at the IEP held during the student s 15 th year, a coordinated set of activities must be in place.
7 Necessary services are to be designed to attain an outcome based on the individual student s needs. That is, the student s goals must be determined prior to determining the necessary services. The IEP team, and thus the document, must clearly identify who is responsible for each outcome, where the activities will occur (instructional setting) and appropriate timelines for the activities. The IEP team must also decide whether any related services are needed during the transition activities. If so, they must be delineated in the Transition Plan, as well as the Supplementary Aids and Services and/or Programs and Services section of the IEP form.
8 6 SUPPLEMENTARY AIDS AND SERVICES DEFINITION Aids, services, program modifications, and/or supports for school personnel that are provided in regular education classes or other education-related settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with their nondisabled peers. NECESSARY ELEMENTS Must be supported by a need identified in the PLAAFP statement and a direct connection to an identified need must be shown. Supplementary aids and services include instructional supports such as peer tutors, paraprofessionals, interpreters, as well as any other instructional supports provided in conjunction with general education. May also include technological devices and services, such as calculators, tapes, tape recorders, or print-to-speech software. May be provided through either general education or special education. The amount of time, the frequency that the supplementary aid or service will be necessary, and the duration of the service must be identified. The environment, or location, in which the supports will be provided (such as general education, resource room, large group activities, during transitions, at the job site, etc) must be identified.
9 MEASURABLE ANNUAL GOALS 7 PURPOSE To describe what a student can reasonably be expected to accomplish within twelve months with specifically designed instruction and related services. Annual goals enable the student to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum and should be based on the Grade Level Content Expectations or Course Content Expectations. (They are also intended to meet the educational needs that result from the student s disability.) NOTE: Goals are not required to contain ALL curriculum standards. Non-disabled students do not achieve 100% mastery of curriculum standards/benchmarks. Look for standards/benchmarks that, if mastered, will increase the student s potential for success in the general education curriculum and are core areas. NECESSARY ELEMENTS Must be measurable (See Page 11 for list of action verbs) Must be designed to enable the student to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible Must meet each of the student s other educational needs that result from the student s disability except those addressed through the Supplementary Aids and Services Must be reasonably constructed to be accomplished in one year Must be accompanied by at least two short-term objectives Must be connected to the general education curriculum 8
10 SHORT-TERM OBJECTIVES PURPOSE To provide intermediate steps that the student will take in reaching the annual goal. Short-term objectives should be achievable within a shorter period of time (month, marking period, or semester) than the annual goal. The Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and the Course Content Expectations are the resource for the development of annual goals and short-term objectives. NECESSARY ELEMENTS At least 2 for each annual goal Measurable Intermediate step between the present level of academic achievement and functional performance and the annual goal Achievable within a month, marking period, or semester Must contain evaluation procedures, performance criteria, and schedules for evaluation Grade Level Content Expectations should be used as a resource for their development DEFINITIONS S The evaluation procedure describes by what method achievement is measured and the frequency of the evaluation. Performance criterion determine at what level the skill is to be achieved, how it is to be measured, and over what period of time. Performance criterion can be written in terms of accuracy, achievement level, or other. Schedules of evaluation indicate the frequency or schedule of the evaluation procedures for each objective, such as daily, weekly, monthly, grading period, or other.
11 REPORT OF PROGRESS 9 LEGAL REQUIREMENT Parents of students with disabilities must be informed how the child s progress toward meeting the annual goals described will be measured and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals will be provided. Progress reports must include the date, status of the goal and/or objectives, and comments regarding the student s progress. NECESSARY ELEMENTS Based on current progress data/assessment Description of the progress toward annual goals 10
12 ACTION VERBS TO ASSIST IN WRITING GOALS & OBJECTIVES SYNTHESIS COMPLEX Integrate prescribe produce plan prepare organize propose specify ANALYSIS analyze group generalize arrange infer explain combine order formulate construct relate develop create separate transform design summarize detect APPLICATION apply solve examine calculate use illustrate classify utilize employ complete related practice demonstrate COMPREHENSION associate distinguish discuss classify estimate translate compare extrapolate differentiate compute interpret predict contrast interpolate describe KNOWLEDGE count recall write define recite read draw recognize trace identify record quote list repeat tabulate mane state point SIMPLE 11