The Individualized Education Program is specifically created to identify and address the unique needs of an individual child. When the IEP is followed, improvements should be seen in how well the child learns and retains information. The results will be a better overall education for the child. and a progression in the child's knowledge and experience. This section will discuss the minimum information that is required by law to be contained in an IEP.
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- Dates and places. The IEP must list when services will begin, how long they will last, how often they will be provided, and where they will be provided.
- Annual goals. The goals that the child can reasonably accomplish in a year. They are broken down into short-term objectives or benchmarks. The goals can address academic, social or behavioral needs, relate to physical needs, or address other educational needs. They must be measurable (meaning that it must be possible to measure whether the student has achieved the goals).
- Measuring progress. The IEP must state how the child's progress will be measured and how parents will be informed of that progress.
- Current performance. The IEP must state how the child is currently doing in school. This information usually comes from the evaluation results such as classroom tests and assignments, individual tests given to decide eligibility for services, and observations made by parents, teachers, and other related service providers. The statement about "current performance" includes how the child's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum.
- Participation in standardized tests. Most states and districts give achievement tests to children in certain grades or age groups. The IEP must state what modifications in the administration of these tests the child will need. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested instead and what accommodations they will receive.
- Special education and related services. The IEP must list the special education and related services to be provided to the child or on behalf of the child. This includes modifications (changes) to the program or supports for school personnel such as training or professional development that will be provided to assist the child.
- Participation with non-disabled children. The IEP must explain the extent (if any) to which the child will not participate with non-disabled children in the regular class and other school activities.
- Transition services needs. Beginning at age 14 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must address the courses the child needs to take to reach post-school goals. A statement of transition services needs must also be included in each of the child's subsequent IEPs.
- Needed transition services. Beginning at age 16 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child prepare for leaving school.
- Age of majority. Beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority (legal adulthood), the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him or her at the age of majority. (This statement would be needed only in states that transfer rights at the age of majority.)