Maryland Statewide Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process Guide July 2014  

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Section II: Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance

As part of the evaluation process, in order to address the educational needs of the student, the IEP team needs to have a comprehensive picture of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance in order to develop the IEP. The IEP team’s determination of how the student's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum is a primary consideration in the development of the student's annual IEP goals. Federal regulation, 34 C.F.R. §300.320(a)(1)(i), consistent with 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)(aa), requires the statement of the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance in the IEP to include how the student’s disability affects the student’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. This directly corresponds with the provision in 34 §300.320(a)(2)(i)(A) and 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(II)(aa), which requires the IEP to include measurable annual goals designed to meet the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.

In developing each student’s IEP, the IEP team, shall consider the:

  • Strengths of the student;
  • Concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their student;
  • Results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation of the student; and
  • Academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student.

“Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance” provides a holistic view of the student through a variety of means. This includes current classroom- based assessments, district and/or state assessments, and classroom-based observations, as well as parent, student and general education teacher input in all relevant areas. The determination of the student’s present level of academic may vary over time. Standardized assessments alone may not necessarily provide adequate information to determine the educational needs of the student relative to his or her performance and participation in the general curriculum. Therefore, curriculum- based assessments, portfolios, running records, student work, etc. may be appropriate information sources for identifying present levels of academic achievement and functional performance in relation to general education curriculum. If this is a review or revision of the student’s current IEP, the current level of performance should include a description of the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals of the current/previous IEP.

 

It is particularly important to include student strengths, as well as areas of concern/needs that were identified during the assessment, including parent, student and general education teacher input related to strengths and concerns/needs. The IEP team should focus on how the student’s strengths and concerns/needs affect the student’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum. As part of the process of defining the student’s current level of performance, the IEP team should identify what the student currently knows and can do.

 

“Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance” defines the student’s need for specialized instruction and determines how that specialized instruction should look in terms of goals, supports, and services. The remaining pages of the IEP should align to the information in this section. The IEP team should provide a narrative summary of performance rather than a detailed report of assessment procedures and results. Detailed assessment information should be found in separate assessment reports. For any data that is recorded in this section, the IEP team must document the source of the data (classroom-based assessments, district and/or state assessments, and classroom-based observations, parent, student and general education teacher input, etc.).

 

Issues that are identified as a concern/need should result in corresponding goals and objectives. According to 20 U.S.C. §1414(d) (1) (A) (i) (II), goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks are designed to meet the student’s needs that result from the student’s disability. Therefore, the concerns/needs detailed in this section should include those that have a marked impact on the student’s educational performance and requires specialized instruction should result in a corresponding annual goal. If there are concerns raised that do not rise to the level of needing specialized instruction, then the IEP team may note these under options discussed and considered by the IEP team but rejected in favor of the proposed actions and should be recorded as “Document Basis For Decision(s) that corresponds to the requirements of Prior Written Notice (PWN).