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What We Will Do

What We Will Do

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What We Will Do

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  1. Developing Educationally Meaningful and Legally Sound IEPsMitchell L. Yell, Ph.D.myell@sc.eduhttp://mitchyell.Wikispaces.comUniversity of South CarolinaResearch to PracticeJuly 16-17, 2009

  2. What We Will Do • Review the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education improvement Act of 2004 that directly effect IEP development • Discuss the three major components of IEP development • Present a four-step model for developing educationally meaningful and legally correct IEPs

  3. Changes in Special Education Law Issues of Access • The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of 1975 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 Issues of Quality

  4. Six Assumptions About Post IDEIA 2004 IEPs

  5. Assumption # 1 • The IEP is the tool for identifying student needs, setting goals for the year, determining services, and describing and implementing a process that will allow educators and parents to track students’ progress toward meeting these goals

  6. Assumption # 2 • The IEP must focus on the critical skills and behaviors a student needs to access the general education curriculum and not the general education content itself

  7. Assumption # 3 • The IEP should describe measurable outcomes for a student • The IEP defines a student’s progress in specific areas over a year of instruction • Special education teachers then collect progress monitoring data to decide how and what needs to be taught so a student progresses toward his/her goal • Data should be collected on general outcome measures that are indicators of educational health

  8. Assumption # 4 • The services described in the IEP must be based on research-proven educational practices • “What we know from research now needs to be implemented.” President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (P. 24, Nov., 2001)

  9. Assumption # 5 • IDEIA 2004, and thus our special education program, requires measuring progress toward each of a student’s goals, reacting to that information, and reporting progress to his/her parents • This does not require measuring the subskills of a skill or behavior (i.e., short-term objectives) • “We recommend the continuous monitoring of student progress…which research has shown enhances instructional outcomes and results for children.” President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (P. 26, Nov., 2001)

  10. Assumption # 6 • To meet the requirements of IDEIA 2004, and ensure a meaningful education for students, data collection must occur at all stages of the IEP process. • Assessment requires baseline data collection (PLAAFP) • Writing goals requires the IEP team to include the data collection process • Progress monitoring is the collection, and appropriate use, of data

  11. To meet the requirements of IDEIA 2004, special educators need the skills, knowledge, and confidence to collect and use data effectively

  12. Congressional Report on the IDEIA • The purpose of the 2004 reauthorization was to: • “Improve educational results for children with disabilities” • “To assess and ensure the effectivenessof education for children with disabilities”

  13. Comments to IDEIA Regulations • These requirements “emphasize the importance of using high-quality, research-based instruction in special education settings consistent with (NCLB)” (p.32) • This system will require evidence in the form of data-based documentation reflecting formal assessment of progress during instruction through repeated assessments” (p. 32)

  14. Special Education Requirements Two main aspects of IEPs: Procedural: Did everyone follow the rules for developing and implementing the IEP? Substantive: Does the content of the IEP confer meaningful educational benefit? Theoretically, procedural requirements support and compel substantive quality, but often procedural compliance just means that the paperwork is in order. IDEIA emphasizes the substantive (i.e., a movement from access to quality).

  15. “A decision made by a hearing officer shall be made on substantive grounds based on a determination of whether a child received a free appropriate public education” (IDEA, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(E)(I)

  16. Question: How Do We Meet the Substantive Requirements of IDEIA 2004? Answer: By providing an education that confers meaningful educational benefit

  17. Question: How can we ensure that our IEPs confer meaningful educational benefit? Answer: By developing meaningful goals, based on relevant assessments, measuring progress toward the goals, and reacting to this information.

  18. The Bottom Line To prove that our programs offer meaningful educational benefit we must have data that shows that students are making educational progress.

  19. The Three Stages of the IEP Process

  20. The Big Picture Programming Data Collection • Develop the IEP • Deliver services • Progress-Monitoring • Reevaluation Assessment • Assessmentfor Eligibility • Assessment for Instruction

  21. In the IEP this means Measurable Annual Goals & Special Education Services Assessment of Achievement/Functioning (PLAAFP) Data on Student Achievement (Progress Monitoring)

  22. The IEP • The “I” is IEP stands for individualized • The IEP is “specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of the child” • IEPs, which are the blueprint of a student’s free appropriate public education (FAPE), are legally binding commitments of resources from an LEA • The IEP must be designed to confer meaningful educational benefit

  23. Assessment

  24. Assessment: Questions • Who should receive special education services? • Eligibility & classification decisions • What instructional services will be provided? • Assessment must lead directly to instructional programming • How effective are the special education services? • Progress monitoring

  25. The “Who” Question • Is a student eligible for special education? • Two part test • The student’s disability must be covered by the IDEA • Because of the disability, the students needs special education • IDEIA Requirements • Disability cannot be caused by lack of appropriate instruction • No discrepancy formula, rather RTI • Assessment instruments: Norm-referenced tests developed by large publishers

  26. The “What” Question • What programming does a student require? • Provide information to assist the team to determine what to teach, how to teach, and what expectations are realistic • This information in included in the present level of academic achievement & functional performance component of the IEP • Assessment instruments: Criterion-referenced tests, curriculum-based assessments, functional behavioral assessment

  27. The “How” Question • How will a student’s progress be monitored? • Without this information instructional decisions that teacher’s make are based on hunches or guesses • Formative Assessment: Continuous collection of assessment data during the course of instruction • Assessment instruments: Individually-referenced assessments, curriculum-based measurement, direct observations


  29. Challenge #1 Understand the purpose of norm-referenced tests • Good for eligibility, not for instructional planning • Can give some general and vague estimates of the approximate level of functioning and help to choose further assessments • Problems • Differentially sample the many different curricula used in schools • Grade & Age equivalent scores • Unreliability of change scores • Summative, not formative

  30. Challenge #2 Linking assessment & instruction • The law requires a close linkage between assessment & instruction • Failure to directly link is a major reason that school district’s lose in due process hearings when IEPs are challenged • The assessment becomes the baseline for monitoring student progress • An inadequate assessment often results in inappropriate programming & progress monitoring

  31. Challenge #3 Making the Assessment the baseline in the PLAAFP • The IDEIA requires that we collect data on student progress • For the data to show student improvement we have to have information on their achievement/performance prior to instruction

  32. What Does This Mean for You? • Understand administration of standardized assessment instruments for eligibility determination (WJPB, Key Math) • Understand and be able to develop informal assessment instruments to help the plan and evaluate student’s instructional programs (CBMs, CBAs, FBAs) • Develop PLAAFP statements that serve as a baseline by which to measure student achievement/performance

  33. The Big Problem in Assessment • The IEP team focuses on tests to determine eligibility without doing assessments that relate meaningfully to instruction • The IEP team fails to gather information regarding students’ performance in areas of need

  34. Assessment Checklist • Were parents fully informed about assessments that were conducted and did they give their written consent? • Were parents involved in the assessment process? • Were supplementary aids, supports, & program modifications considered to allow the student to participate in general education? • Were a variety of formal & informal assessment procedures & strategies used to inform the team about the eligibility of the student for special education program? • Was the assessment instructionally relevant (the results inform programming decisions)?

  35. Assessment Summary A relevant assessment is the path to good goals A relevant assessment is the first step in program development Assessment depends on everyone’s input The assessment is the baseline of a student’s special education program

  36. Programming

  37. Programming • The process: In the IEP process, the educational program for a student is developed and then the success of that program is evaluated • Changes must be made if needed • The document: The IEP is the blueprint that constitutes a student’s free appropriate public education (FAPE)

  38. Programming Requirements • Special education programming consists of: • Special education services • Related services • Supplementary services • Program modifications • Special education services must be based on “peer-reviewed research” • The program must be designed to confer “meaningful educational benefit”

  39. What Does This Mean For You? • IEP teams must develop meaningful and ambitious goals • The purpose of goals is to determine the amount of growth we expect in one year’s time • Goals help us to determine if programs are successful • Teachers must know and keep current on the research in their field • The services that teachers provide must be based on peer-reviewed research and be designed to allow the student to reach his or her goals • Services include supplementary services & program modifications

  40. Peer-Reviewed Research IEPs must include ”a statement of special education services and supplementary aids and services based on peer reviewed research. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004)

  41. Evidence-Based Practices in Education: Where are we? Dr. Grover Whitehurst, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences

  42. IDEIA is Congress’ attempt to fix this problem this by closing the “research-practice” gap

  43. What Doe This Mean For You? • Special education teachers must adopt and use scientifically based approaches for which there is supporting research in peer-reviewed journals • Teachers are accountable for: • Using evidence-based educational practices • Knowing the research behind the procedures we use • Ensuring that our educational programs confer “meaningfuleducational benefit”

  44. U.S Department of Education • Funds educational research • Funds evaluations of promising innovations • Funds technical assistance & capacity building efforts • The What Works Clearinghouse ( • Conduct systematic reviews of interventions linked to evidentiary support