The IEP must be developed by a team of individuals which minimally includes the parent(s) of the student; not less than one regular education teacher of the student; not less than one special education teacher of the student; the school district representative; and the student, if appropriate. The student must be invited beginning when the student is 14 years of age or younger if appropriate, and postsecondary goals and the transition services to assist the student in reaching those goals are considered. At least one of the individuals on the IEP team must be someone who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results. In addition, at the discretion of the parent or the school district, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student may be invited. For students 14 years of age or older a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services must be invited to attend (§300.321).
In order to afford the opportunity to participate, schools must notify parents ten (10) school days prior to the meeting and schedule at a mutually agreed upon time and place.
In developing the IEP, the team must consider the strengths of the student, his or her academic, functional and developmental needs, and the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child. For students 14 years of age or older, the various assessments, particularly those related to transition planning, are used to inform the student’s development of post-school goals. These goals will be in the areas of education and training, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills (300.320).
This information serves as the foundation of the IEP and much of it is generated from the results of evaluations. These evaluations can be formal, such as the results of testing using curriculum-based measurements; or informal, such as the results of observations, analysis of day to day work samples, interest inventories, etc.
All team members should contribute to the development of the present levels of functional performance and academic achievement, especially parents and the student (§300.324). The information from the various sources of data is used by the IEP team to develop the student’s measurable present levels of performance. The present levels of performance are a comprehensive description of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, and must include information on how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum.
In the description of the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, the IEP team must be certain to provide clear, measurable levels of performance. These measurable levels are used as baselines for the development of the measurable annual goals (§300.320).
In the area of academic achievement, the team describes what the student can do in the academic areas of reading, writing, and mathematics and other areas as appropriate. For a student 14 years of age or older, the IEP team is guided by the student’s post-school goals in the areas of education and training, employment, and if appropriate, independent living.
In describing what the student can do in the academic areas, the IEP team will use as its reference point the academic expectations from the general education curriculum for the student’s age appropriate grade. (Common Core State Standards, AAGSEs and the district’s Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements). For preschool age youngsters, the focus is on the child’s participation in appropriate activities for children aged 3-5 and the RI Early Learning Standards. If a student is an English Language Learner, meaning another language is his/her first language and the student is learning the English of communication and academics, the IEP team must also consider the student’s performance level in terms of the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards.
In the area of functional performance, the team will describe what the student can currently do in the nonacademic areas of everyday life, such as communication, interpersonal skills, behavior, organizational skills, etc. In describing what the student can do in the functional areas, the team will use as its reference point the functional expectations for a typically performing student at the student’s age level. For preschool age youngsters, the focus is on the child’s participation in appropriate activities for children aged 3-5 and the RI Early Learning Standards.
For students 14 years of age or older, the IEP team must consider the transition services that will be needed to assist the student in attaining his/her post-school goals. Transition services include instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment, and other post-school adult living objectives, as well as, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills, and the provision of a functional vocational evaluation (§300.43).
From the present levels of performance, the IEP team determines those areas of need that require specially designed instruction. Using the measurable data or baseline provided for each area of need in the present level of performance, the IEP team will develop measurable annual goals in those areas requiring specially designed instruction. For most students, the measurable annual goal will be based upon each student’s expected performance in a twelve-month period of time. The expected performance is usually determined by one of a number of methods, such as end of the year benchmarks or proficiency levels for the student’s grade or research-based rate of improvement norms. The expected performance will be stated in measurable terms. This measurability enables the team to objectively evaluate, using the data gathered, whether the goal has been met.
For each annual goal, the IEP team determines how progress toward the goal will be measured, such as weekly frequency counts, and how often that progress will be reported to parents. The IEP team will also specify the interim steps (i.e., short term objectives or benchmarks) toward attaining the annual goal.
Next the IEP team will describe the special education and related services, accommodations and program modifications, and support for school personnel that are required to assist the student in achieving his/her goals and that will be necessary to enable the student to be educated in the least restrictive environment (§300.320).
The IEP team will describe the student’s involvement in state and district-wide assessments. The IEP team decides if the student will take the assessments without accommodations, with accommodations or whether the student will participate in the state’s/district’s Alternate Assessment. If the student requires accommodations, the IEP team determines the specific accommodations for each assessment. If the student will participate in RI Alternate Assessment, the Participation Criteria for the RI Alternate Assessment System form must be completed and attached to the IEP (§300.320).