The First Marking Period IEP Check-Up
By Michael Connolly, Esq.
Supervising Partner of The MLO Special Education Department
The falling leaves and colder temperatures not only mean the holidays are nearing, but these seasonal changes also indicate that the close of the first marking period is approaching, which is the perfect time for the first IEP check-up of the year.
While report card grades and teacher comments can certainly provide you with some important information on how your child is doing overall in their classes, the first marking period report card should be accompanied by the first marking period IEP progress report on your child’s goals and objectives. The IEP progress report should provide more detailed and meaningful information to help you gauge how your child is doing.
The progress report document should also report on progress consistent with how each goal is written to be progress monitored, and not just including vague statements indicating “no progress,” “some progress,” “progress,” or “mastered.” So, for example, if your child’s IEP includes a goal that says when presented with a particular grade level text, they will be able to answer factual and inferential compression questions with 90% accuracy in 4 out of 5 opportunities, the progress report should state the percentage correct of comprehension questions achieved by your child on that grade level text, on 5 different opportunities during the marking period. The progress report should also indicate how many of the correct responses were factual and how many were inferential. Similar specificity in reporting progress on other goals should also be provided. So again, for example, if a goal has a child demonstrating a skill independently or with no more than a certain number of verbal or physical prompts, the progress data reported should indicate the number of verbal or physical prompts necessary to demonstrate the skills.
If your child’s progress reports don’t include this kind of data, ask for it. If you have questions or don’t understand the progress reports, tell your school district. If you want to see the progress monitoring that the progress reports are based on, again, ask for it; it is an educational record, and you are entitled to a copy.
Once you have the data, use it to judge whether your child is making appropriate progress towards the goals in the IEP. If you have concerns, raise those concerns with the school district, or ask for an IEP meeting to discuss any concerns over progress, and discuss any possible revisions that may be necessary to your child’s program. If you have more questions or concerns regarding your child’s academic progress, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our firm provides free consultations in all special education and damages matters, and most cases are handled without charge to families. Families should not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.