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

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Additional Local School System Graduation Requirements

Identify any additional local school system graduation requirements, if applicable.

A list of additional local school system graduation requirements may be attached to the closed IEP document. If you are attaching a document to the paper copy of the IEP, summarize what is being attached and maintain a copy of that attachment with the paper copy of the IEP within the student’s record.

Graduation Requirements Explained to Parents

YES – if you explained the graduation requirements to the parent

NO – if you did not explain the graduation requirements to the parent.


Student Participation Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards

Document whether or not the student will participate in an alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards in applicable assessed grade in:

  • reading
  • math
  • science

Indicate YES or 

Indicate whether the student is pursuing a:

  • Maryland High School Diploma; or
  • Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion

The decision to award a student with disabilities a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion will not be made until after the beginning of the student's last year in high school unless the student is participating in the Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement Standards.
[COMAR 13A.03.02.09D(3)]


Participation and Performance on District/Statewide Assessments

All students must be included to the fullest extent possible in all statewide assessment programs and their assessment results are a part of Maryland’s accountability system. MSDE requires all students to participate in statewide assessment programs unless documented as described in the “Maryland Accommodations Manual.” The Maryland participationrequirement is supported by federal legislation requiring the participation of students with disabilities in standards-based instruction and assessment initiatives. Two key federal acts governing student participation in assessments include the No Student Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). For specific information relative to each assessment, please refer to the “Maryland Accommodations Manual,” July, 2012.

The Maryland Assessments include the following, as applicable to the student:

  • MSA – Grade 5 & 8 Science Only
  • Mod-HSA* Only for students who took and failed a MOD-HSA assessment in the 2013- 2014 school year and requires a second administration in 2014-2015 school year
  • Bridge Validation Program (Bridge Plan)
  • Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS)
  • Access for ELLs
  • Alternate Access for ELLs

NOTE: It is best practice for a student’s IEP team to use the IEP Team Decision-Making Process Eligibility Tool as a safeguard to ensure appropriate identification of students with disabilities for participation in the Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS). This completed tool must be maintained in the student’s cumulative school record, to verify student eligibility to participate in the AA-AAAS [Maryland Accommodations Manual, July 2012].


Student Participation in Statewide Assessment

Indicate YES or NO to all applicable Statewide assessments, in which the student will participate, including applicable content areas.

NOTE: MSDE requires all students to participate in the MSA.. The Maryland Accommodations Manual, July 2012 delineates special exemption conditions for:
• English Language Learners (ELL) who are in their first year of enrollment in a U.S. school may substitute their test results on the ELPT for the Reading MSA rather than sitting for the MSA Reading test itself. Such students must still participate in the MSA Mathematics and MSA Science tests.

• Special Medical Exemption Conditions for students when they cannot take the assessment during the entire testing window, including the make–up dates, because of a significant medical emergency. A significant medical emergency is a significant health impairment that renders the student incapable of participating in ANY academic activities.





Document Basis for Assessment Decision(s) (required)

Document the basis of the IEP team’s decision relative to the student’s participation in MSA,  HSA, Mod-HSA, or Alt-MSA, as applicable.
A required text field for an IEP team to provide additional information to document the basis of the IEP team’s decision. If addressed properly, documentation will meet requirements of prior written notice (PWN), in accordance with 34 C.F.R. §300.503 and COMAR 13A.05.01.12, PWN includes:

• A description of the action proposed or refused;
• An explanation of why the public agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
• A description of the options the public agency considered and the reason the options were rejected;
• A description of each assessment procedure, test, record, or report the public agency uses as a basis for the
proposal or refusal;
• A description of any other factors relevant to the proposed or refused action;
• A list of sources a parent may contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA; and
• If an action proposed by a public agency also requires parental consent, a public agency may provide notice at the same time it requests consent.

[20 U.S.C §1415; 34 C.F.R. §300.503; COMAR 13A.05.01.12]


To ensure that students with disabilities receive the appropriate provision of accommodations, IEP Teams, which includes the parent, must employ good decision making when determining accommodations for a student based on his/her instructional needs in the classroom and for assessments. Beginning with the Maryland IEP that will be in effect July 1, 2012, in Section 2 of the Instructional and Testing Accommodations page, the IEP Team must complete the Document Basis for Decision text field. The Document basis of the IEP Team’s decision is relative to the student’s participation in the MSA, HSA, Mod-HSA, or Alt-MSA, as applicable.


In addition, in Section 2, for accommodations noted with an asterisk, the IEP Team must complete the Provide specific description stating the type of accommodation and how the accommodation will be administered text field. This dialogue box is required for IEP Teams to specify the type of accommodation(s) that will be administered, and how the accommodation(s) will be administered (i.e., Visual Cues: Teacher will gesture to the student and/or point to assignments to support the student to stay on task when experiencing difficulty with attention or behavior). For information regarding the use of specific accommodations for online testing, the IEP Team must refer to Section 5 of the Maryland Accommodations Manual Issue, July 2012.

Participation in National /International Assessments

*NOTE: A student may be asked to participate in National or International Assessments. Only allowable accommodations on National / International Assessments are permitted. See Commonly Used Terms, page 10.

Complete for High School Seniors that may be Eligible for HSA Waiver

By April 1, the school principal shall consider whether to recommend to the local superintendent a waiver of the HSA graduation requirements that the student has not fulfilled if the senior may fail to graduate because:
(1) The student has taken none of the required HSAs; or

(2) The student has taken some or all of the HSAs and failed some or all of them, and

(a) The student has or will meet all other graduation requirements;
(b) The student has or will take all required HSAs before the graduation date; and
(c) If the student had an opportunity to participate in one or more interventions, or remediation opportunities, including the Bridge Plan, the student participated in them; and

(3) The student is prevented from meeting the HSA graduation requirements because:

(a) Of a decision made by the local school system about scheduling, course sequencing, test taking, or provision of interventions as required.
(b) The student experienced a special, extraordinary, or extenuating circumstance or combination of circumstances preceding the administration of the most recent HSA, such as a recent death in the immediate family, a serious or prolonged illness or pregnancy with medical complications, an accident causing serious injury, or a destructive house fire; or
(c) The student moved to the United States in the junior or senior year and the student is literate in the student's native language but not literate in English.

[COMAR 13A.03.02.12]

If a student with a disability who is an high school senior may be eligible for an HSA waiver, the IEP team is to discuss the criteria of the waiver decision-making process for the student and indicate whether or not it supports an HSA waiver recommendation to the local superintendent.

YES (If yes, specify date recommended); or