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The IEP - Module 5 Text Transcript

This module addresses some additional considerations not covered in the previous modules for Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams as they undertake the process of IEP development.

Welcome to the fifth and final module of a series created by the California Department of Education (CDE) on the Individual Education Program process. The previous modules discussed recent changes in California law that affected some elements of the process, activities required to occur before the IEP is developed, the IEP development process itself, and demonstration of the education benefit process through a review and critique of a sample IEP.

This module addresses some additional considerations for IEP teams as they undertake the process of IEP development.

All five modules are archived on the AB 114 web page. We encourage individuals and groups interested in obtaining more information about the IEP process, particularly in light of changes that have resulted from the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 114, to consider reviewing other modules in this series.

The intention of this module is to 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 also include some other resources that provide additional information on the IEP development process and related activities.

Before we proceed, we should note that while AB 114 impacted how some services are provided to students with disabilities, much of the information in this module is based on federal requirements that have not changed. One effect that AB 114 had was to remove some California law concerning mental health services to students. The result was that such services are now governed by the more general federal laws established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act., or IDEA, which includes the laws discussed in this module.

Local educational agencies (LEAs) and IEP teams need to keep in mind some important timelines established in law concerning IEP development. These timelines are intended to ensure that students with disabilities receive timely support in the identification of the services they need, receiving those services, and being periodically assessed to ensure that current services are appropriate or to have services changed to address changing needs.

Beginning the date that a student is referred for assessment based on a suspicion that the student has a disability, the LEA has 15 days to complete a proposed assessment plan. The parent has 15 days from the receipt of that proposed plan to consent to its implementation.

When scheduling an IEP team meeting, parents must be informed of the meeting in advance, “early enough to ensure the opportunity to attend.” That IEP meeting must occur within 60 days of the LEA’s receipt of parental consent for the assessment, and the assessment must be conducted prior to that meeting so the results are available for the IEP team to review them. LEAs are encouraged, whenever possible, to share the results of the assessment with parents in advance of the IEP meeting to facilitate discussion on the student’s performance level and appropriate services. This will allow for a more efficient process in developing or revising the student’s IEP. Also, note that services identified in the IEP must be implemented as soon as possible after the IEP is developed.

Whenever the parent requests a subsequent IEP meeting, a new meeting must be scheduled with 30 days of that request.

Each student’s IEP is to be reviewed annually to ensure that the current placement and services are appropriate, student progress is reviewed, and services and placement are changed if needed to achieve expected progress.

Students are to be reassessed whenever appropriate. At minimum, a student must be reassessed once every three years, but they may be assessed more frequently, up to once a year, when circumstances warrant a reassessment.

It is important that all parties involved in IEP development and implementation are clear about the services to be provided to the student.

The LEA must secure parental consent to the IEP team’s decision on the services to be provided to the student, and the parents must be provided with a copy of the IEP.

Those responsible for providing instruction and related services to the student must be given access to the IEP so that they are clear about their specific responsibilities, and familiar with the goals established for the student.

Progress is measured and reported as designated on the IEP, but must be provided to parents as least as often as progress reports are for general education students.

Goals must address the student’s progress on the state curriculum, but they may also address other areas, such as behavior and social skills. It is critical that goals are written so that they are readily measurable, such as:

“The student will complete 5 two-digit addition problems within one minute with 80% accuracy in 3 of 4 trials.”

As noted previously, the LEA is required to ensure that the IEP team reviews the student’s IEP at least annually, or more often if the parent or school staff request the review sooner.

This review includes determining whether the student’s placement and services are appropriate based on the student’s progress on current goals. If the student is not making expected progress, the IEP is revised as needed, which may include changing the placement, changing the type and/or frequency of the services the student is to receive, and/or establishing more appropriate goals.

The annual review does not require that the student be reassessed,. However, if the IEP team determines through the annual review that additional information about the student is needed to identify appropriate changes to elements of the current IEP, some new assessment may be necessary.

At minimum, each student must be assessed every three years, except in cases in which the LEA and parent both agree that a reassessment is not necessary at the three-year point.

Note that, even though the three-year, or “triennial” assessment is a regular activity, it is still necessary for the LEA to obtain the parent’s formal consent to the assessment before it is conducted.

The purpose of the triennial assessment is two-fold:

  • To verify that the student continues to have a disability potentially affecting their opportunity to access the general curriculum; and,
  • To identify the student’s current educational needs, including the appropriate educational placement and any services needed to support the student’s access to the curriculum.

A reminder – The triennial assessment is a minimum requirement – the student may be reassessed more often if requested by the parent or a teacher, as often as once per year.

  • 60 days of receipt of parent’s written consent for initiation of the assessment process.
  • The student’s teacher(s) and related service provider(s) have access to the IEP and understand their specific responsibilities for implementing it. Parents are provided with a copy of the IEP in their native language. The LEA must ensure that the IEP is implemented as written.
  • The annual goals in their IEP.
  • At least once every 3 years, or more often if the IEP team determines that additional assessment information is needed.

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.

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

Questions:   Special Education Division | | 916-445-4602
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 07, 2023
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