The Jonathan Foundation



Special Education Questions and Answers

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – Federal Special Education Law (cited as 20 U.S.C Section 1400-1487 and 34 C.F.R. Part 300),

Individual Education Program, IEP is a legally enforceable document that is used to provide individuals with disabilities special education programs and related services. An IEP ensures that all children with disabilities have available to them a Free and Appropriate Public Education.

Free and Appropriate Public Education.FAPE provides special education and related services via an IEP, designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, meets state standards, and are provided at public expense.

Present Levels of Performance, identifies specific academic and non academic performance areas. Provides assessment information specific to the performance area. Includes a detailed summary of the student’s strengths; needs, impact of disability, and links to an appropriate goal.

Measurable annual goals are descriptions of what a child can reasonably be expected to accomplish within 12 months with the provision of special education (specially designed instruction) and related services. When selecting areas of need to address through annual goals, the IEP Team’s focus should be on selecting goals from the standards and benchmarks of the local district. It is necessary that the child’s performance be measured against the district standards and benchmarks.

Benchmarks are major milestones that describe content to be learned or skills to be performed in sequential order. They establish expected performance levels that coincide with progress reporting periods for the purpose of evaluating whether a child’s progress is sufficient to achieve the annual goal.

Level of performance at the “start” of data collection. The baseline can be used to measure change of important performance indicators in the future. When baseline data is compared with data collected at later points in the educational process, decisions can be made as to whether students are making adequate progress. Baseline is generally the most recent data available.

Assessments are various tests that are administered to individuals in an effort to obtain an overview of what is happening with them. These individuals are unable to access grade level academic curriculum; they may have emotional, social and behavioral challenges. These challenges may impede the individual from successfully performing in the school environment, the same as those individuals without special needs. Assessments drive IEPs, therefore setting Baselines, Goals, and Benchmarks.

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