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The IEP - Module 4 Text Transcript

This module includes two activities based on information pulled from student Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), to show how IEPs can be analyzed to see if they have been reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit for the student.

Welcome to the fourth module in a five-part series on the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. The previous modules discussed recent changes in California law (resulting from Assembly Bill [AB] 114) that affected some elements of the processes and activities required to occur before the IEP is developed, and the process of IEP development once the IEP team is prepared to meet.

This module includes two activities based on information pulled from student IEPs, to show how IEPs can be analyzed to see if they have been reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit for the student. We should note that the activities contained in this module are for presentation and educational purposes only. This module should not be construed as representing actual monitoring reviews and related training conducted by California Department of Education (CDE) staff. Those reviews, while covering the same concepts contained in this presentation, are much more thorough in nature and require a greater level of documentation than what is covered in this presentation. The intent of this module is to demonstrate in simple terms how an IEP can be analyzed to determine if it was reasonably calculated to derive educational benefit for the student. The next and final module, Module 5, will address some additional considerations for IEP development.

All of the Modules are archived at the AB 114 web page at www.cde.ca.gov. Individuals seeking information on the IEP process are encouraged to consider viewing any or all of the other modules in this series.

Participants will undertake two activities in this module. The first activity focuses on determining if an IEP complies with specific legal requirements, using a tool that is similar to monitoring protocols that are used by CDE staff. The second activity focuses on determining if an IEP is designed to result in educational benefit for the student, a requirement set by the US Supreme court decision Board of Education v. Rowley. In this activity, participants review IEP data pertaining to students’ mental health needs as related to changes created by AB 114, over a two-year period to determine whether changes in the IEP were reasonably calculated to support the student to make appropriate progress toward IEP goals.

The IEP forms and data contained in this module represent actual IEPs. Personally identifiable information, and LEA-specific information, has been removed.

It is important to clarify that the activities in this module are only simulations of the actual processes CDE staff use in reviewing IEPs.

The charts and forms used in this module were developed specifically for presentation purposes and are not the actual documents that are used to conduct a full Educational Benefit Review as part of either a Special Education Self Review, or Verification Review.

Monitoring is what is done by CDE staff to ensure that the State of California fulfills its responsibilities for general supervision of educational programs for children with disabilities. Federal requirements for state monitoring and enforcement activities are found in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 300.600–300.609. Essentially, the state monitors school districts and other local educational agencies to ensure that they are complying with the requirements of the IDEA.

This chart is based on a document that is used by CDE to conduct monitoring. For each of the items contained in this and the next slide, you will look in the 2012 IEP for documentation of evidence showing that the compliance test has been met. You are not looking for the best or optimal response for each item; rather you are looking to see if there is evidence to support the LEA’s completion of the requirement being tested.

  • Compliant means that the IEP contains documentation that meets the compliance test as based on statutory or regulatory authority.
  • Noncompliant means that the IEP did not contain documentation that meets what is required by the compliance test.
  • Non-applicable means that the test item as a whole does not pertain to the particular IEP being tested. The item does not apply when the legal requirement does not pertain to the student. For example, an item based on a citation covering a requirement for pre-school students would not be applicable to the IEP of a school-age student.

For example let’s look more closely at item 3-2-2; this requirement of measurable annual goals, pertains to all IEPs. Therefore, Non-applicable is not an accurate response. What you look for is confirmation that the IEP includes annual goals that are related to the student’s assessed needs resulting from the student’s disability, and that the goals allow the student to be involved and progress in the general education curriculum. These goals must meet each of the student’s educational needs that result from the disability, and be written in a way that allows progress on them to be measured. If such goals are present in the IEP, then this item is compliant. If such goals are not included in the IEP, then the IEP is Non-compliant for this item.

Let’s look at item 3-2-7. This item actually includes three criteria that the IEP must meet in order for the item to be considered compliant.

  • Does the IEP include a description of how the student’s progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured? – Each annual goal must be written in a way that provides a description of how the goal will be measured.
  • Does the IEP include a description of how the student’s progress on annual goals will be reported? The IEP must include a statement of how progress reports will be provided. On most IEPs there will be a box that needs to be checked indicating how this will be done. Often it will state that progress reports will occur through the use of quarterly progress reports concurrent with report cards, but the IEP may call for greater or less frequency than that.
  • Does the IEP include a statement of how the student’s parents will be regularly informed of their child’s progress? – The IEP must include a statement, or check a box, showing when parents will be informed (which must be at least as often as are the parents of non-disabled students.)

IF each of these 3 components are met then this item is compliant. If any one of the three components is not documented in the IEP then this item is non-compliant.

To complete this activity you will need to print the 5th and 6th slides of this presentation. You will review and analyze the mock IEP for a student we have named “Abby” presented in the following slides, number 8 through 24. Use the tool that you have printed out to determine if each of the items listed is compliant, non-compliant, or non-applicable.

This is a sample IEP document that has been mocked up using information from an actual IEP. This page of “Abby’s” IEP tells us the date that the IEP was created: 2/01/12, when Abby was found eligible for special education and related services: 4/22/10. This page also provides some demographic data. We know that Abby is 8 years old, in 3rd grade, and African American.

The IEP team has designated Abby’s disability as “Emotional Disturbance.” Keep in mind that the disability designation does not in itself affect the services that are provided to Abby. Abby’s services are to be based on her specific needs to support her progress on her IEP goals.

This page of the IEP also provides a statement relating to how Abby’s disability affects her involvement and progress in the general curriculum. According to the IEP, Abby exhibits clinically significant internalizing and externalizing behaviors and emotional symptoms, which adversely affect her educational performance.

This page provides Abby’s present levels of performance. This includes information on her strengths and interests; parent concerns with educational progress; information on hearing and vision screening; academic and functional skills; communication development; gross/fine motor development; and social emotional/behavior.

This page is a continuation of her present levels for social emotional, and behavior, as well as vocational, adaptive living skills, health, and notes regarding her medications.

This page provides information on the statewide tests Abby will take: the grade 11 California Standards test for English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Writing. It also describes any accommodations that will need to be provided for Abby, in this case small group setting, frequent breaks, breaks within a test, on-task redirection, and word problems and writing prompts read out loud.

We should note that California’s statewide testing system is transitioning to a Common Core State Standards based testing regime. This will result in changes in the specific statewide exams students will take, including those listed in this section of IEPs. This change is slated to be fully implemented in the 2014/2015 school year. For more information regarding the Common Core State Standards, please visit the CDE website.

This “special factors” page of the IEP documents that Abby does not need any assistive technology or low incidence services.

This page also documents that Abby engages in behavior that impedes her learning, and to address this concern the IEP team developed a Behavior Support Plan (BSP) addressing externalizing behaviors of yelling out, throwing objects, elopement (meaning leaving the class or campus without permission), and self injury. Positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports to be used with Abby are documented here. These include smaller class size, positive behavioral support training program, sensory materials and frequent breaks.

At the bottom of the page, the IEP also indicates that Abby needs goals for classroom behavior and social skills.

This page provides notes that were taken during the IEP meeting. Here there is also a summary of Abby’s present levels of performance and a discussion of her previous goals and new goals.

The next several pages concern Abby’s annual IEP goals. This page of the IEP provides Abby’s reading comprehension goal, her baseline or current level of performance, how the goal will be measured, the standard to which it is aligned (97 ELA standard), and who is responsible for assisting Abby in meeting the goal.

Periodic progress reports on this goal are not provided.

This page of the IEP provides Abby’s annual goal for math and number sense, her baseline for this goal, how the goal will be measured, the grade level standard to which that the goal is aligned, and who is responsible for helping Abby to meet the goal. As schools transition to the Common Core standards, academic IEP goals should also shift as needed to align with those standards.

Periodic progress reports for this goal are not provided.

This page of the IEP provides Abby’s anger management goal, her baseline with this goal, how the goal will be measured, and who is responsible for helping Abby meet the goal. This goal is a functional goal (not an academic goal) and as such is not aligned to a specific academic standard.

This page provides progress reports dated 10/17/11, 1/29/12, and 1/31/12. Since this IEP is dated from 2/1/12, these reports reflect the anger management goal as written in the previous year’s IEP. It should be noted that the anger management goal from the 2011 IEP was not met.

This page of the IEP provides an annual goal for classroom behavior. A baseline is provided for this goal as well as, how the goal will be measured, and who is responsible for the goal.

Again, progress reports are provided, but these are for the goal from the 2011 IEP. It should be noted that the related goal from the 2011 IEP was not met.

Progress reports for this goal from the 2012 IEP are not provided.

This page of the IEP provides an annual goal for behavior in the classroom (asking for help). This page also includes a baseline of Abby’s performance for the goal, how the goal will be measured, and who is responsible for working with Abby on this goal. This goal also has two short-term objectives.

Progress reports are not documented for this goal.

This page of the IEP provides the annual goal for social behavior: accepting disappointment. A baseline is provided, as well as how progress on the goal will be measured, who is responsible for working with Abby to meet this goal, and two short-term objectives.

Progress reports for this goal were not documented.

This page addresses Abby’s need in the area of social/emotional development. It includes a baseline for accepting criticism, a measurable annual goal for her development in this area, how the goal will be measured, who is responsible for supporting Abby’s progress toward the goal, and two progress reports for this goal that reflect the 2011 IEP.

Abby did not meet this goal for the 2011 IEP. Progress reports for the 2012 IEP are not documented on this form.

This page provides for Abby’s need for a “sensory diet” and for consultation for school staff to support success on this goal. The page includes a measurable annual goal, staff responsible for the goal, and progress reports aligned to the 2011 IEP. There is no documentation in regards to whether or not the 2011 annual goal, related to consultation, was met. Progress reports for the 2012 annual goal were not documented on this form.

This page further addresses Abby’s social/emotional needs by providing a second goal for self-management. The page includes a clear description of how progress on the goal will be measured, who on staff is responsible for assisting Abby toward the goal, and two shorter-term objectives. Progress reports for this goal are not documented.

This page contains the LEA’s offer for special education and related services to the student for the 2012 IEP. These related services include Specialized Academic Instruction for 305 minutes daily in a separate classroom at a public integrated facility. The information includes a start date, but does not provide an end date. Abby also has Individual counseling with a start date of 2011 (yet this is the 2012 IEP) provided by a Non Public Agency for 42 minutes twice a month, in a separate classroom in a public integrated facility. Once again, an ending date is not documented. A second related service of Individual Counseling is provided with a note of “Collateral Services.” Duration, frequency, and location are not documented for this related service.

This page also designates that staff are to provide supplementary aids, services, or other support to Abby. These are documented as being contained in Abby’s Behavior Support Plan.

The page also designates that Abby is to receive transportation and extended school year services.

This page provides documentation for Abby’s appropriate educational setting. It notes that the program is not available at Abby’s home school and also provides the percentage of time Abby spends outside of the regular education class, the percentage of time in the regular education class, and notes on her participation in extra-curricular and non-academic activities.

Now you will have time to analyze and evaluate Abby’s IEP for compliance using our sample monitoring tool. With your printed copy of slides 4 and 5, the simplified monitoring tool developed for this activity, judge whether the IEP is compliant, non-compliant, or non-applicable for each item. Once you have completed your analysis, proceed to the next slide and compare your findings to those made by CDE staff.

These are the findings made by CDE staff on Abby’s IEP for each item. The “justification” column provides the basis for each compliance finding, specifically:

  • 3-2-1 – The IEP provided present levels of performance and a statement of the disability and how it impacted involvement and progress in the general curriculum. See the present levels of performance page. Present levels were also documented in annual goals as the baseline.
  • 3-2-2 – Both academic and functional goals were included that met this requirement.
  • 3-2-3 – The IEP shows a relationship between present levels of performance (PLP), goals, and services provided. Academic services are provided to support academic goals. The counseling service is provided to support social emotional and behavioral goals, also addressed through BSP goals.
  • 3-2-4 – IEP documents related services to be provided to the student
  • 3-2-7 – IEP describes how progress will be measured on annual goals and that it will be reported through report cards.
  • 3-2-9 – IEP indicates the projected date for initiating services and modifications.
  • 3-2-10 – IEP documents frequency, duration, and location for services.

For our second activity, we are going to analyze two IEPs for Zeke. This time our lens for analysis will not be one of compliance with a discrete regulation or statute, but rather whether or not the IEP was reasonably calculated to provide the student with educational benefit. This is often referred to as the “Rowley standard” based on the landmark Federal Supreme Court case of the same name, from which the legal concept and requirement for educational benefit was derived.

To meet the Educational Benefit expectations, the IEP team needs to keep two important points in mind:

  • The elements of the student’s IEP work together toward the objective of ensuring that the student will have an opportunity to progress academically, and the combination of the student’s instructional placement and related services all contribute to that outcome; and,
  • The IEP addresses the specific needs and current levels of performance of the student, and sets appropriate performance goals based on the student’s current circumstances that will demonstrate that the student is receiving sufficient support to progress toward annual goals.

Both of these points intend the IEP team to focus on outcomes for the student, and to make placement and service decisions to support those outcomes. This outcome-based approach is most likely to ensure that the student is appropriately served and that the school district fulfills its responsibilities under federal law. Also, using an outcomes-based approach allows for the quality of the LEA’s service and the appropriateness of the IEP to be measured in terms of how the student progresses.

These questions should be considered when developing or revising a student’s IEP. They will assist the IEP team in ensuring that the resulting IEP is designed to provide the student with Educational Benefit.

Note that these questions correspond with key elements of the Educational Benefit process, including:

  • The importance of assessment information (including whether or not the assessment evaluated the student in all areas of suspected need) and identifying present levels of performance in determining appropriate educational placement and related services;
  • The importance of establishing specific performance goals for the student to identify areas in which progress is needed, and to determine whether intended progress is being achieved; and,
  • The focus on support for meeting specific goals when identifying the educational placement and services for the student.

Please keep in mind that for the purposes of this activity we will not be analyzing the IEP from the point of view of whether or not the student was assessed to identify every one of their needs. This activity will only focus on the student’s identified mental health needs. As with the last activity, this is only a limited simulation of the actual process undertaken by CDE staff, which considers all elements of a student’s IEP.

If the LEA is able to accurately answer “yes” to each of the first six questions, the answer to the last question is “yes”.

The situation is more complex when a student fails to make progress. In such cases it is the subsequent actions of the IEP team that determine whether the LEA is fulfilling its responsibilities. If, for example, a student fails to make progress and the IEP team makes changes to services in areas where the student demonstrates the need for more support, that action is consistent with the concept of educational benefit. If, however, the student fails to make progress and the IEP team continues the same services and instructional context for the student, it is not reasonable to conclude that the student’s new IEP has been reasonably calculated to result in educational benefit. In instances in which the student has not made anticipated academic progress since the last IEP, the IEP team is expected to identify the area(s) in which the student has not made expected progress, determine whether the student’s progress goals are appropriate, review the types of services the student has received, and make appropriate revisions to the students goals, services, and/or educational placement to address the lack of progress and provide the student with an IEP that is likely to support the student’s academic progress based on the information now available to the IEP team.

The analysis for activity #2 will take you through the use of specific questions meant to determine whether or not educational benefit was provided for our second fictional student, “Zeke” through reasonably calculated IEPs. Again, it should be noted that educational benefit analysis, when done by CDE or LEAs as part of monitoring, would focus on all of Zeke’s needs. For the purposes of this presentation and to simplify the analysis we will be focusing only on Zeke’s mental health needs. As with Abby, we have used information that was available on an actual student’s IEPs in developing the IEP information for Zeke. However, unlike the last activity, we will not be recreating the actual IEP pages. Instead, for efficiency, we have created tables that draw from the IEP contents that specifically address areas to be investigated and analyzed.

This table shows that an analysis of an IEP must demonstrate that a linear relationship exists among each of the five key components of IEP development: the assessment data (used to determine eligibility and identify needs for special education and related services); the Identified needs (these being the educational needs of the student that are related to the disability and how the disability impacts the students ability to access and progress in the general education curriculum; Present Levels of Performance (as related to each identified area of need, provides information as to how the student is doing); Annual Goals (can be academic and non-academic, such as behavior, that are related to each area of identified need and the goals are meant to help the student progress beyond their present levels of performance for each area of identified need); and Progress (report of progress made on each annual goal. This is an important component of the IEP as these data will drive decisions by the IEP team as to how the IEP should be adjusted).

We will start our analysis by investigating the assessment results for Zeke in the following slides, answering the first Educational Benefit question, “Is the assessment complete and does it identify the student’s needs?”

This chart synthesizes the pertinent information that Zeke’s IEP Team considered from the Triennial Psychoeducational Assessment Report. The report encompassed three individual evaluations, all using peer-reviewed and technically sound instruments that were administered by the school psychologist. In addition to the three evaluation instruments, the psychologist conducted a review of Zeke’s records, and observed Zeke at school. Based on the evaluation instruments, review of records, and observations, the school psychologist identified areas of need associated with Zeke’s disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These being:

  • Poor Emotional Adjustment: which includes behaviors of projecting blame on others, and becoming angry quickly.
  • Poor Impulse Control: which includes the behavior of interrupting others.
  • Low Social Skills: argumentative

The school psychologist recommended to the IEP team that Zeke be found to continue to be eligible for special education and related services and that he would benefit from two specific strategies: 1. a small, highly structured, self-contained class; and, 2. instructional strategies that would promote positive social interactions meant to increase his impulse control, modulate his anger, and improve his problem-solving skills.

This table synthesizes the information that Zeke’s IEP Team needed to process from the County Mental Health (CMH) report of assessment, or “evaluation” results. The report included language stating that clinicians with the CMH agency conducted evaluations of Zeke while he was being provided with services by CMH. The report encompassed three different types of evaluations; Face-to-face interviews, historical reviews of mental health data, and conversations between CMH staff and school staff. The CMH evaluations, as included in the report, identified that Zeke has needs concerning Behavior and Emotional control that are related to his disability of ADHD and interfere with his ability to learn. These needs are:

  • Lack of sustained attention
  • Becomes easily distracted
  • Avoids work

In this report CMH staff recommend that Zeke work on two goals:

  • To increase his appropriate behavior in class by setting appropriate limits and boundaries with peers and improve socially appropriate behavior in class.
  • Develop and implement effective coping skills and self-control strategies, allowing Zeke to carry out expected responsibilities, and participate constructively at school.

Considering the information you have concerning assessment activities for Zeke, what would your answer be to the first Educational Benefit question?

Is the assessment complete and does it identify the student’s mental health needs?

In regards to the mental health needs, yes.

The analysis for this question comes from Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 300.304. This section provides the requirements for evaluation procedures. The review of records (as provided for this exercise) indicates that in general that the LEA’s overall assessment of the student for his mental health needs met the procedural requirements found in federal regulations. As provided for this exercise, the mental health assessment for this student included two separate reports, comprised of eight individual evaluations, thereby meeting the requirements for the use of multiple assessment tools and strategies that are technically sound. The assessment process provided relevant information that assisted the IEP team in determining the educational needs (created by the mental health needs) of the child.

Next we consider Zeke’s identified needs and present levels of performance. This table pulls together information that Zeke’s IEP Team needed to analyze his present levels of performance, for 2011 and 2012, in order to determine if they included all of Zeke’s identified mental health needs that are associated with his disability.

The identified needs, from the assessment reports, are:

  • Poor Emotional Adjustment, Poor Impulse Control, and Low social skills.

The 2011 present levels of performance included the identified needs of:

  • Poor Emotional Adjustment (toned down …); Poor Impulse Control (Does things without thinking, Distracted and work avoidant, Reminded and Prompted); and Low Social Skills (learning to wait his turn).

The 2012 present levels of performance included the identified needs of:

  • Low Social Skills (He is either working quickly and at a loud volume or nearly asleep); Poor Emotional Adjustment (strong moods affecting energy levels); poor impulse control (working quickly at a loud volume).

Now for the second educational benefit question: Do Zeke’s present levels of performance include all of the mental health needs identified in the assessment?

Emotional adjustment and impulse control are both included in the present levels of performance in the 2011 IEP but are weak to non-existent in the 2012 IEP.

Social skills are addressed in the 2011 IEP but the 2012 does not have present levels of performance for social skills.

Taken as a whole, present levels of performance do not include all the needs identified in the assessments.

Next we address the third Educational Benefit question, “Are all of the student’s mental health needs addressed by appropriate goals and objectives?”

This table synthesizes the required information from the assessment reports and the 2011 IEP to determine if all the mental health needs (as related to Zeke’s disability) are addressed by goals and objectives. The next slide will be a similar table, but for the 2012 IEP.

This slide, for the 2012 IEP, synthesized the information from the assessment and 2012 IEP that the IEP Team will review to determine if for each one of the needs there are goals and objectives aligned to those needs. The next slide will provide CDE’s analysis for the 2011 and 2012 IEPs for this question.

Educational benefit question 3: Are all of the student’s mental health needs addressed by appropriate goals and objectives?

The 2011 IEP had goals aligned to impulse control and social skills, but none of the goals seem to address the emotional needs of Zeke, in particular his anger issue.

The 2012 IEP had a goal for impulse control but none for emotional and social needs.

Taken as a whole, the 2011 and 2012 IEP goals for Zeke, do not address his identified mental health needs.

To answer the fourth Educational Benefit question, “Do the services support the goals and objectives; we look for a clear relationship between the related services that the IEP team has established for the student and the student’s IEP goals.

This chart pulls together information that the IEP Team would have analyzed from the 2011 IEP. In this case we are looking at the goals and objectives and comparing them to the related services provided to Zeke. The question for analysis is: do the related services provided to Zeke help to support his progress on each of the goals?

The next slide will look at goals and objectives, as compared to the related services offered, for the 2012 IEP.

This chart shows information that the IEP Team would have analyzed from the 2012 IEP. Just like the previous chart, we are looking at the goals and objectives and comparing them to the related services provided to Zeke. The question for analysis is; do the related services provided to Zeke help to support his progress on each of the goals?

The next slide provides CDE’s answer to the question and the analysis used to justify that answer.

Question 4: Do the services provided (for both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs) support the goals and objectives (for the 2011 and 2012 IEPs)?

Yes, but on the basis of what analysis?

The counseling services, Resource Specialist Program, Extended School Year, and support to general education staff (2011 IEP only), provided support for Zeke’s behavioral goals for both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs.

On to Educational Benefit question 5, “Did the student make yearly progress?”

In order to determine whether or not Zeke made yearly progress based on his 2011 IEP, his team must analyze the progress reported on the IEP as compared to the goals contained in the 2011 IEP. This chart includes both of these sets of information, as much as they were available, for the 2011 IEP.

The information on this chart, based on the 2012 IEP, will lead Zeke’s IEP team to analyze whether or not Zeke made yearly progress on the basis of the goals and stated progress from the 2012 IEP.

The next slide will provide CDE’s answer and analysis.

Based on the 2011 and 2012 IEPs did Zeke make yearly progress?

NO

Both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs lacked documentation showing that for each goal, Zeke had made progress.

The sixth Educational Benefit question asks whether the goals and services in the student’s IEP were changed appropriately to reflect the student’s progress in the prior year. If Zeke’s progress in the prior year was less than expected, the IEP team must consider whether Zeke’s IEP-based services need to be increased or changed so that his pace of progress on his IEP goals can be improved. The IEP team may also need to adjust Zeke’s goals so that they reflect Zeke’s expected progress in the coming year. If Zeke did progress at a pace anticipated by the IEP team, his goals for the coming year will need to be changed to reflect his increased performance levels so he can continue to advance. Also, given his successful progress in over the past year, Zeke’s prior level of services may be appropriate, but they may also need to be adjusted to support his progress on his new, more challenging goals.

A comparison of Zeke’s goals and services for 2011 to his goals and services for 2012 will determine whether, based on Zeke’s progress on his 2011 goals, his IEP team made appropriate adjustments to those goals and services.

This slide provides Zeke’s IEP goals in 2011 on the left column, and his IEP goals for 2012 in the right column. Compare the goals for the two years. What changed? What remained the same? Given Zeke’s level of progress in 2011, were his IEP goals in 2012 changed appropriately to reflect that level of progress?

This slide provides the services that were called for in Zeke’s IEPs for 2011 and 2012. Compare the services Zeke received in the two years and note how the services were changed in 2012. Does the change in Zeke’s services in 2012 appropriately respond to Zeke’s level of progress in 2011?

Now to answer Educational Benefit question six. Given Zeke’s level of progress in 2011, were Zeke’s goals and objectives changed in his subsequent IEP to appropriately assist Zeke in making progress? Were Zeke’s services changed in the subsequent year to better support his progress?

NO

Both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs lacked documentation showing that for each goal, Zeke had made the expected level of progress. If Zeke didn’t make anticipated progress, the IEP team would be expected to make some adjustments to Zeke’s services, and perhaps his goals, to better support his progress. Because Zeke did not appear to progress as expected, and because Zeke’s IEP goals and services were not changed to address that lack of progress, we find that Zeke’s IEPs do not meet this element of Educational Benefit.

Now we are ready to complete activity #2 and determine if the 2011 and 2012 IEPs provided Zeke with educational benefit. Remember that this analysis was not made in hindsight, but instead was done on the basis of information to Zeke’s IEP team in 2011 and 2012. We analyzed the information from the IEPs by answering:

  • If the assessment for Zeke was complete and did the assessment identify educational needs related to Zeke’s disability?
  • Did the 2011 and 2012 IEPs include statements of present levels of performance that covered all of Zeke’s identified educational needs (keep in mind that we constrained ourselves to only mental health needs that were related to Zeke’s disability)?
  • In both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs, were Zeke’s educational needs (as they were related to his mental health needs) addressed by goals and objectives?
  • Did the related services provided to Zeke in the 2011 and 2012 IEPs support his ability to make progress on each one of his goals?

The following two slides will provide CDE’s answers based on the analysis that we have previously discussed.

Was Educational Benefit provided to Zeke? Let’s review the analysis that has been conducted.

  • Was Zeke fully assessed identifying his educational needs (as related to his mental health needs)? Yes. When we reviewed the evaluations conducted by the school psychologist, as reported in the Psychoeducational Triennial assessment report, and the ongoing evaluations provided by CMH staff as documented in the 26.5 report, both fully assessed the student for how his mental health needs impacted his ability to learn.
  • Does the present level of academic achievement (performance) include all the areas of need as identified in the assessments? No. Our analysis of the 2011 and 2012 IEPs showed that taken as a whole, the present levels of performance that were documented did not include all of the needs as identified through the assessments.
  • Were all of Zeke’s mental health educational needs addressed by appropriate goals and objectives? No. The analysis showed that the 2011 IEP was week in its alignment between goals Zeke’s educational needs as related to his emotional needs (anger) and the 2012 IEP did not contain goals addressing his emotional and social needs.
  • Did the related services support the goals and objectives for Zeke? Yes. The related services provided did provide support for Zeke’s behavioral goals in both the 2011 and 2012 IEPs.
  • Did Zeke make yearly progress? No. The IEPs did not document, for every goal, whether or not Zeke made progress. Specifically, the analysis showed that the 2012 IEP in particular did not have enough documentation to support a claim that Zeke had made progress on his goals.

Since we have determined that the student did not make yearly progress, we ask the following questions to determine if Educational Benefit was provided for Zeke.

  1. Were enough services provided to ensure that the student could make progress? Yes, the services provided do appear to support the student’s annual goals and objectives.
  2. Were the IEPs reasonably calculated to result in educational benefit? – No, the 2011 IEP did not contain goals for all areas identified as needs in the assessment, nor were annual goals written for all identified areas of need. Both of these issues plague the 2012 IEP, and progress reports were not documented on all annual goals on either IEP.
  3. Were goals and objectives changed in the subsequent IEPs to help the student make progress? As a whole we determine this answer to be No. While the goals use different language from one year to the next, the substance of the goals remains the same. They are not adjusted to account for the lack of documented growth from the previous year’s IEP.
  4. Were services changed from one IEP to the other? Yes, duration for the services was increased from the 2011 to the 2012 IEP.

Based on the answers from the analysis conducted on the educational benefit questions, the IEP Team determines whether or not Zeke’s IEPs were reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit.

If the IEPs did not appear to provide the student with educational benefit, the IEP Team should consider what else needed to be done in order for the Zeke’s IEPs to meet the educational benefit standard.

We will provide you with some time to answer these two questions on your own prior to providing you with CDE’s response available on the next two slides.

Our analysis showed that present levels of performance were not included for all areas of need, goals and objectives did not address all of Zeke’s educational needs created by his mental health needs, and documentation was not provided to show that he made yearly progress on all of his annual goals.

As such, the analysis, when taken as a whole, does not show that the 2011 or the 2012 IEPs were reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit.

Faced with this situation, the IEP Team should ask the question of what needed to be done differently in order for the IEPs be reasonably calculated to provide Zeke with educational benefit. The next slide will provide the CDE’s response to this question.

Essentially, for each educational benefit question where the analysis yielded an answer of “no” the IEP Team needs to review the contents of the IEP that are aligned to that question and make sure that the IEP contains documentation satisfying the need created by the requirement. In this case the IEP Team needs to address:

  • The lack of present levels of performance as aligned to Zeke’s identified educational needs.
  • The lack of goals for all identified areas of educational need.
  • The lack of progress reports for all goals.

Writing technically-compliant IEPs helps to ensure that each student is receiving the educational opportunities and support services to which they are entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Also, if IEP teams are diligent in following the sequence for developing goals and services for students with disabilities, as listed here and described in this module, they greatly increase the likelihood that the IEP will be designed to provide the student with educational benefit as required by law.

This completes the fourth module in this series. We encourage you to view the fifth and final module, which addresses additional considerations for IEP development. Module 5 will make clear some additional legal requirements concerning IEP development and related activities, including:

  • Timelines for completion of activities that are established in law;
  • A clear understanding among all involved parties of the specific services to be provided, and how and when each service is to be provided;
  • The importance of establishing student performance goals and creating an appropriate plan for measuring student progress; and,
  • Requirements concerning the frequency of assessing student progress.

We will also note some other resources that provide additional information on the IEP development process and related activities.

For more information on a variety of issues related to the passage of Assembly Bill 114, please visit the AB 114 web page on the California Department of Education website. For other information about California Public Schools, visit the CDE home page.

There are several additional resources that provide more detailed information on the subjects addressed in this series.

Questions:   Special Education Division | AB114TWG@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-4602
Last Reviewed: Thursday, September 9, 2021
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