Advocacy Tip #3


  • Reviewing and comparing your child’s IEP progress report every grading period. Know what you child’s baseline is.  (Should be in the PLAAFP or IEP goal itself)
  • Requesting the data from the school that was collected each grading period.
  • If your child has not made progress or has regressed after 1 IEP progress reporting period schedule a meeting with your child’s gen. ed. teacher and/or special education teacher
  • If your child has not made progress or has regressed after 2 IEP progress reporting periods request an ARD meeting.

Problem Report Worksheet

Do you keep track of all the times your child’s school calls you to report an incident or behavior?  If not, you may want to consider doing so.  A great tool to use is the Problem Report WorksheetContinue reading

IEP Progress Reports


Section 300.320(a)(3)(ii) of the Federal Regulations state that the IEP is to contain a statement of when reports on progress towards IEP goals will be provided to parents.  The law does not specifically state a timeframe.  Most schools issue them concurrent with report cards.  As an ARD (IEP) committee you can determine the progress reporting timeframe that fits your child’s needs.  If your child is struggling or is working on emerging skills you may wish to have progress reported on a more frequent basis.  Continue reading

Requesting Data and Work Samples for IEP Goal Progress Monitoring

1_Progress%20ReportI want to discuss the importance of requesting data and work samples for each IEP progress reporting period.  Many times you will receive your child’s progress report and it may show that your child is making progress, but the school work that you see does not show that your child is making progress.  You discuss this with your child’s teacher and they assure you that your child is making progress.  Without data to back up the assurances of your child’s teacher, the response is just the teacher’s opinion.  The data is what determines if your child is making progress or not.

As a parent you have the right to request and receive the data.  Take a look at your child’s IEP goals and notate the reporting period for reporting progress on IEP goals.  For most this will be the same time that report cards are issued.  Then calendar no less than 5 business days before each reporting period to send a letter or e-mail to either your child’s case manager or the ARD facilitator requesting the data on progress for all goals (including behavior goals) for the reporting period, including computer generated data and work samples.  Below are several reasons for requesting the data each reporting period:

1. The data and works samples may get destroyed prior to the next ARD meeting;

2.  You can track baseline data and progress towards the performance level your child is expected to be at by the end of the IEP year;

3.  You can determine if any modifications and supports need to be changed prior to the annual ARD meeting; and

4.  This data can help develop new IEP goals and determine the need for Extended School Year Services (ESY).

If you do not understand the codes that are being used on the progress report and/or the data, ask that you be provided with a key.

If you have not been able to get your questions answered by the teacher or the case manager or if you feel your child is not making progress you can make a request in writing for an ARD meeting to be scheduled.  In Texas, the school must then schedule the ARD meeting or provide you with a written explanation as to why the district refuses to schedule an ARD meeting.  This written explanation must be provided to you within 5 school days of receiving your request for the ARD meeting.

More Information:

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney. 

Homework Log: A Tool to Help Prepare for School Meetings

Homwork Pic

One way you as a parent can monitor and communicate with your child’s school about the progress your child is making is to keep a Homework Log.  This log should contain the name of the assignment, how long it took them to complete the assignment, accommodations used, the level of parental support and a spot for notes and observations.  You can even add columns for the date the assignment was due, turned in, and the grade.

When filled out on a consistent basis this log can provide valuable information to your child’s team when it comes time to making changes to their accommodations.  This log will show the team if your child is taking longer than expected to complete assignments, how much help they are receiving from you, and if the accommodations are working successfully or not.  Changes to your child’s current accommodations or new accommodations can be made based off this log.

If you are trying a new accommodation at night and your child has been successful using it, this log can help show the school that the accommodation is working and should be implemented in the classroom as well.

More Tools to Help Prepare for School Meetings:

Progress Monitoring and Your Child

CheckListThe federal regulations state that your child’s IEP include a description of “how the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in paragraph (2) of this section will be measured.” (34 CFR §300.320)   The act does not require goals to have outcomes or measures on a specific assessment tool.

Most IEPs only contain a statement that says progress monitoring will be done by data collection and observations.  They are not specific in how the data will be collected, how often the data will be collected, and when changes in instruction will be considered.  If procedures are put in place they will help direct how data will be collected in order to help the IEP team make decisions about the progress of your child.  Most schools also only monitor progress around the time report cards are issued or even once a quarter.  This is not enough information to determine if your child is making progress on his/her goals.  IEP goals should be monitored frequently and consistently.

 Progress monitoring tools, such as those discussed in my previous post, when used consistently and correctly should give you and your child’s teachers an effective tool to monitor how well your child is responding to classroom instruction and what progress they are making towards their IEP goals.  Progress monitoring allows a teacher to make adjustments to their instruction strategies to help your child make progress.

If you have questions about how your child’s progress is being measured or how he/she is making progress, schedule a meeting with his general education teacher, special education teacher or case manager.  At the meeting ask how your child’s progress is being monitored and measured.  Ask to be provided with the data and discuss how often you would like to be provided with the data.  If you do not receive the answers to your questions consider asking for an IEP meeting to discuss your questions and concerns.  You have the right to ask for the data as this will allow you to make an informed decision about your child’s IEP.

Some questions to ask the IEP team regarding progress monitoring:

  1. How will my child’s progress towards these goals be measured?
  2. What methodology will be used to help my child make progress in his/her particular areas of academic deficit and is it research based?
  3. How often will progress be monitored?
  4. How will you document my child’s progress?
  5. When will changes in instruction be considered?

Progress Monitoring Tools

4amonitoringprogressIn today’s post, I am going to list and give a brief description of some, not all, of the different progress monitoring tools your child’s school may use.  In my next post I will write more about progress monitoring and what it means to your child.

The Center on Response to Intervention describes progress monitoring as:

Progress monitoring is used to assess students’ academic performance, to quantify a student rate of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.

In progress monitoring, attention should focus on fidelity of implementation and selection of evidence-based tools, with consideration for cultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student strengths.

Information in the descriptions are taken from the website for the progress monitoring tool or from the National Center on Intensive Intervention.  The National Center on Intensive Intervention has a longer list of tools including a ratings system.

AIMSweb:  Is a comprehensive K-12 assessment system that supports Response to Intervention (RTI) and tiered instruction.  This system provides brief, accurate measures of reading, math, spelling, and writing.  Testers will require 4-8 hours of training.  AIMSweb Math-CBM is designed for Benchmarking all students for universal screening and more frequent progress monitoring for those with severe basic skill performance discrepancies, and writing evidenced-based IEP goals for students who receive special education.  To ensure effective interventions in IEPs, weekly monitoring is required.

Curriculum-Based Measurement in Reading (CBM-R) Word Identification:  Is a progress monitoring tool for individual first grade students, based on Curriculum Based Measurement.  Testers will required 1-4 hours of training.  Testing accommodations should be consistent with those specified on the student’s IEP for high-stakes testing and implemented consistently for every progress monitoring occasion across the school year.

Curriculum-Based Measurement in Reading (CBM-R): (Letter Sound Fluency, Maze Fluency, and Passage Reading Fluency)  Is a progress monitoring tool for individual students, based on Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM).  Testers will required 1-4 hours of training.  Testing accommodations should be consistent with those specified on the student’s IEP for high-stakes testing and implemented consistently for every progress monitoring occasion across the school year.

DIBELS 6th Edition:  (Nonsense Word Fluency) Is a standardized, individually administered test of student’s alphabetic principle skills, including letter sound correspondence and the ability to blend letters into words in which letter represent their most common sounds. NWF is designed for progress monitoring use with students in grades K-1.  Testers will require 1-4 hours of training.

DIBELS 6th Edition:  (Oral Reading Fluency) Is a standardized test of accuracy and reading fluency with connected text for students in Grades 1-5.  Testers required 1-4 hours of training.

DIBELS 6th Edition: (Phoneme Segmentation Fluency)  Is a standardized test of phonological awareness requiring students to say the sounds in words.  This measure is typically administered from the middle of kindergarten.  Testers required 1-4 hours of training.

DIBELS Next:  Measures are brief, powerful indicators of foundational early literacy skills that: are quick to administer and score; serve as universal screening (or benchmark assessment) and progress monitoring; identify students in need of intervention support; evaluate the effectiveness of interventions; and support the RTI/Multi-tiered model. DIBELS Next comprises six measures: First Sound Fluency (FSF), Letter Naming Fluency (LNF), Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF), Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF), DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (DORF), and Daze.  DIBELS Next is an assessment instrument well-suited for use with capturing the developing reading skills of special education students learning to read, with a few exceptions: a) students who are deaf; b) students who have fluency-based speech disabilities, e.g., stuttering, oral apraxia; c) students who are learning to read in a language other than English or Spanish; d) students with severe disabilities.  Use of DIBELS Next is appropriate for all other students, including those in special education for whom reading connected text is an IEP goal. For students receiving special education, it may be necessary to adjust goals and timelines. Approved accommodations are available in the administration manual.  Testers will require 4-8 hours of training.

i-Ready:  i-Ready Diagnostic adapts to each student, providing easier or harder questions depending on students’ answers to previous questions. By adapting across grades K–12, i-Ready Diagnostic helps teachers understand the root causes behind student challenges.  This is especially beneficial for providing differentiated instruction and for identifying gaps spanning back multiple years, or for determining where students are ready for further challenge. i-Ready Diagnostic assesses student performance across the key domains in reading and mathematics for grades K–12, providing a valid and reliable measure of student growth with detailed diagnostic results and individualized next steps for instruction.

mCLASS:  (Math) Is a set of screening and progress monitoring measures for students in Grades K-3.  Testers will require 4-8 hours of training.

mCLASS:  (Reading:  3D-Text and Reading Comprehension) is a set of screening and progress monitoring measures for grades K-5.  Testers will require 4-8 hours of training.

 More Information:

How to Know if an IEP or 504 Plan Accommodation is Working?

Question Mark

Your child has an IEP or 504 Plan in place that includes accommodations, so how do you know if those accommodations are working?  Below are a few key things to look at:

1.  What were the results when the accommodation was used?  Did your child master the lesson?

2.  Are grades improving?

3.  Is it being used regularly by your child?

4.  Is your child being encouraged to use the accommodation and is he/she being given the accommodation?

5.  Does your child have a positive attitude towards the accommodation?

6.  Does your child’s teacher(s) and/or paraprofessional believe the accommodation is working?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above, then the accommodation is working.  If you answered “no” to any of the above then the accommodation is not working.  You and your child’s team may need to look at how the accommodation can be implemented differently or consider implementing a different accommodation or a combination of two or more accommodations.

Teachers should use progress monitoring on a frequent basis to monitor how your child is progressing in meeting his or her IEP goals.  Part of that monitoring should include the frequency in which an accommodation is being used and whether or not it is working and their basis for why the accommodation is or is not working.

In my next blog, I will discuss progress monitoring tools.