An IEP must include the following:
- A statement of the student's present level of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP)—this is how the student is doing in school now
- The student's annual educational goals
- Special education supports and services that the school will provide to help the student reach goals
- Modifications and accommodations the school will provide to help the student make progress
- Accommodations the student will be allowed when taking standardized tests
- How and when the school will measure the student's progress toward annual goals
- Transition planning that prepares the student for life after high school
What does an IEP contain?
IEP's are designed to meet each student's individual and unique needs. This means that every IEP will look different, but all IEP's must contain the following elements:
The student's present level of academic achievement and functional performance (PLOAF): This is a thorough description of the student’s current abilities, skills, weaknesses and strengths. It’s the part of the IEP that explains how the student's learning issues affect his/her ability to learn the general education curriculum. The PLAAFP includes details on how the student handles academic subjects and everyday or “functional” activities, like socializing.
The PLAAFP should be based on teacher observations and objective data, like test results. Each year as the student matures and masters skills, performance and needs will change.
The results of student's evaluations and tests: This should include district-wide and state assessments.
Special education and related services to be provided: The IEP spells out what kinds of support and services the student will receive.
Accommodations and modifications: These help the student learn the general education (mainstream) curriculum. Accommodations are changes in how a student shows what he/she has learned. They can help the student work around his/her learning issues. Modifications are changes in what is taught to or expected of a student.
Supplementary aids and services: These are supports to help a student learn in the general education classroom.
Annual educational goals: These should be realistic, achievable and measurable. The IEP lists the academic and functional skills that the IEP team thinks the student can achieve by the end of the year. Annual educational goals are designed to help the student participate in the general education classroom.
A description of how the student's progress will be measured and reported: By law, the IEP must explain how the school will track the student's progress toward goals. And it must describe how the school will share those results with parents.
An explanation of how much the student will participate in general education classes and extracurricular activities: Participation at the fullest level possible is required by law, in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
The date the IEP will go into effect: In NJ the annual review is one calendar year minus a day.
Depending on the student's age and situation, the IEP might also include:
A transition plan: This kicks in when the student turns 16. Transition Planning includes services and support to help a student graduate from high school and achieve post-high school goals.