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Developing S.M.A.R.T. IEPs Mitchell L. Yell, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Family Connection March 20, 2010. Changes in Special Education Law. Issues of Access. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975

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Changes in Special Education Law

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    1. DevelopingS.M.A.R.T.IEPsMitchell L. Yell, Ph.D.myell@sc.eduhttp://mitchyell.wikispaces.comUniversity of South CarolinaFamily ConnectionMarch 20, 2010

    2. Changes in Special Education Law Issues of Access • The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement of 2004 Issues of Quality

    3. The purpose of the 2004 reauthorization was to: “Improve educational results for children with disabilities” “To assess and ensure the effectivenessof education for children with disabilities” Congressional Report on IDEIA

    4. These requirements “emphasize the importance of using high-quality, research-based instruction in special education settings consistent with (NCLB)” (p.32) This system will require evidence in the form of data-based documentation reflecting formal assessment of progress during instruction through repeated assessments” (p. 32) Comments - IDEIA Regulations

    5. Two main aspects of IEPs: Procedural: Did everyone follow the rules for developing and implementing the IEP? Substantive: Does the content of the IEP confer meaningful educational benefit? Theoretically, procedural requirements support and compel substantive quality, but often procedural compliance just means that the paperwork is in order. We are emphasizing substantive (i.e., a movement from access to quality) today Special Education Requirements

    6. “A decision made by a hearing officer shall be made on substantive grounds based on a determination of whether a child received a free appropriate public education” (IDEA, 20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)(3)(E)(I)

    7. Question:How can we ensure that our IEPS confer meaningful educational benefit?

    8. Answer:By developing S.M.A.R.T.IEPs

    9. Educationally Meaningful & Legally Correct A S.M.A.R.T. IEP is…

    10. Specific Measurable Ambitious Research Based S.M.A.R.T. IEPs are… Team Developed

    11. The fundamental purpose of the IEP is to specify (a) the unique educational needs of the student, (b) the services that the school district will provide to address those needs, & (c) the expected results of those services

    12. The “I” is IEP stands for individualized The IEP is “specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of the child” IEPs, which are the blueprint of a student’s free appropriate public education (FAPE), are legally binding commitments of resources from an LEA The IEP must be designed to confer meaningful educational benefit The IEP

    13. The Big Picture Programming Progress-Monitoring • Develop the IEP • Deliver services • Formative Evaluation • Reevaluation Assessment • Assessmentfor Eligibility • Assessment for Instruction

    14. Special Education Services Current Achievement/Functioning (PLAAFP) Achievement in a Year (Annual Goals & Progress) To Illustrate in Another Way

    15. Assessment

    16. Who should receive special education services? • Eligibility & classification decisions • What instructional services will be provided? • Assessment must lead directly to instructional programming • How effective are the special education services? • Progress monitoring Assessment: Questions

    17. Teachers must understand administration of standardized assessment instruments for eligibility determination • WJPB, Key Math • Teachers must understand and be able to develop informal assessment instruments to help the plan and evaluate student’s instructional programs • Curriculum-based measurement, curriculum-based assessment, FBAs What Does This Mean for You?

    18. Too often the IEP team focuses on tests to determine eligibility without doing assessments that relate meaningfully to instruction The Big Problem in Assessment

    19. Were parents fully informed about assessments that were conducted and did they give their written consent? • Were parents involved in the assessment process? • Were supplementary aids, supports, & program modifications considered to allow the student to participate in general education? • Were a variety of formal & informal assessment procedures & strategies used to inform the team about the eligibility of the student for special education program? • Was the assessment instructionally relevant (the results inform programming decisions)? Assessment Checklist

    20. A relevant assessment is the path to good goals A relevant assessment is the first step in program development Assessment depends on everyone’s input Assessment Summary

    21. Programming

    22. The process: In the IEP process, the educational program for a student is developed and then the success of that program is evaluated • Changes must be made if needed • The document: The IEP is the blueprint that constitutes a student’s free appropriate public education (FAPE) Programming

    23. Special education programming consists of: • Special education services • Related services • Supplementary services • Program modifications • Special education services must be based on “peer-reviewed research” • The program must be designed to confer “meaningful educational benefit” Programming Requirements

    24. IEP teams must develop meaningful and ambitious goals • The purpose of goals is to determine the amount of growth we expect in one year’s time • Goals help us to determine if programs are successful • Teachers must know and keep current on the research in their field • The services that teachers provide must be based on peer-reviewed research and be designed to allow the student to reach his or her goals • Services include supplementary services & program modifications What Does This Mean For You?

    25. IEPs must include ”a statement of special education services and supplementary aids and services based on peer reviewed research. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004) Peer-Reviewed Research

    26. Evidence-Based Practices in Education: Where are we? Dr. Grover Whitehurst, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences

    27. Special education teachers must adopt and use scientifically based approaches for which there is supporting research in peer-reviewed journals • Teachers are accountable for: • Using evidence-based educational practices • Knowing the research behind the procedures we use • Ensuring that our educational programs confer “meaningfuleducational benefit” What Does This Mean For You?

    28. Funds educational research • Funds evaluations of promising innovations • Funds technical assistance & capacity building efforts • The What Works Clearinghouse ( • Conduct systematic reviews of interventions linked to evidentiary support U.S Department of Education

    29. Technical Assistance Centers • National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support • National Center on Student Progress Monitoring • National Center on Learning Disabilities • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities Office of Special Education Programs

    30. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities http://www.reseacrh/ The Promising Practices Network Blueprints for Violence Prevention The International Campbell Collaboration Educational Agencies & Corporations

    31. Special education programs are often not based on evidence-based practices Teachers don’t write goals that are measurable Teachers don’t measure student progress by collecting and inspecting data The Big Problems in Programming

    32. Were programming decisions individualized? • Was the programming based on the needs of the student and not the availability of services? • Were supplementary aids, supports, & program modifications considered to allow the student to participate in general education? • Were all necessary services specified and delivered? • Were the parents meaningfully involved in all programming decisions? • Were special education services based on peer-reviewed research? • Was behavioral programming included in the IEP if behavior was a concern? Programming Checklist

    33. Evaluation

    34. To determine if the instructional program is working (Progress-monitoring) • If the programming is not successful, we need to make changes • To determine if the child is still eligible for special education Purposes of Evaluation

    35. Is the student’s progress being monitored regularly? • Is the student’s progress toward each of his or her goals being reported to the parents at least every nine weeks? • Has the school reconvened the IEP team to reevaluate at least annually? • Has the school notified the parent of the three year reevaluation and received permission to conduct it? • If the school doesn’t want to do a total reevaluation, have they made a request to the parents? Evaluation Checklist

    36. A Four-Step Model for Developing Legally Correct & Educationally Meaningful IEPs

    37. “Sadly most IEPs are horrendously burdensome to teachers and nearly useless to parents. Many, if not most, goals and objectives can’t be measured and all too often no effort is made to actually assess the child’s progress toward the goal.” Bateman & Linden, 2006 The State of the Art

    38. Step 1: Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance Step 2: Measurable Annual Goals Step 3: Special Education Services The IEP Process Step 4: Progress Monitoring

    39. What are the student’s unique educational needs that must be considered in developing the individualized program? • What goals will enable the student to achieve meaningful educational benefit? • What services will we provide to the student to address each of his or her educational needs? • How will we monitor the student’s progress to determine if the instructional program is effective The Four IEP Questions

    40. Step 1: Write the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance Statement

    41. PLAAFPBased on a full and individualized assessment, the IEP team determines a student’s unique educational needs to which special services must be directed and explains the effects of the student’s disability on his or her learning and involvement in the general education curriculum.

    42. The PLAAFP statement is a brief, but detailed, description of all areas of academic achievement and functional performance that are affected by a student’s disability

    43. We develop measurable annual goals from the PLAAFP statements

    44. Accurate PLAAFP statements provide the starting point for all decisions regarding a student’s IEP

    45. Board of Education of the Rhinebeck Central School District (39 IDELR 148, 2003) • “Two years of the student’s IEPs were deficient in that they lacked objective data inthe student’s present levels of performance statement…which resulted in an inadequate basis upon which to measure (the student’s) progress and to develop meaningful, measurable goals.” • The entire IEP is based on the present levels statements How Important is the PLAAFP?

    46. Determine the student’s current academic needs Determine the student’s current functional needs Determine how the student’s academic and functional needs are discrepant from expected levels of academic and functional skills Determine what amount of growth can be expected within one year’s time that will significantly close this gap Gathering Information -PLAAFP

    47. The educational needarising from a student’s disability Effect on a student’s involvement in the general education curriculum Two Parts of the PLAAFP

    48. Jeremy is a fourth grade student with a severe reading problem. He currently reads at an average rate of 24 words per minute out of his grade level reading textbook; his peers read at an average rate of 62 words per minute in the same book. Jeremy’s reading problems make it difficult for him to work successfully in general education classes that require him to learn by reading. Example: Academics

    49. Jeremy has difficulty staying on task during instruction. During three structured observation periods, he was on task an average of 54% of the time observed. His peers were on task an average of 88% of the time observed. Jeremy’s difficulty remaining on task result in low achievement in classes that require sustained attention to task. Example : Behavior

    50. Is the statement written in understandable language & clear to everyone on the team? Is the statement precise enough to lead to measurable annual goals? Does the statement describe how the student’s disability affects educational performance? Does the statement explain how the student’s disability affects his or her participation in general education? Does the PLAAFP statement describe only the unique needs that will be addressed in the IEP? Do all needs identified in PLP statements lead to an annual goal, special education service, or both? PLAAFP Checklist