It is important to remember that a child’s independent education plan (IEP) is a living document. Although parents and the IEP team might meet annually to discuss or revise certain aspects of the plan, the team can revise the plan as many times as necessary. As children learn and grow, the plan designed to support their education should be able to change and adapt to them. This is why progress monitoring is such an essential part of the IEP.
Progress monitoring is an important part of the IEP
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) indicates that an IEP must explain how the IEP team will monitor the child’s progress throughout the year. Teachers generally must monitor the progress of all of their students; however, progress monitoring for students with IEPs helps parents and schools determine:
- If students are achieving the goals outlined in their IEP
- How effective the instruction and strategies are
- If any revisions are needed, based on the first two factors
The IDEA also states that teachers must provide parents with regular updates about the child’s progress.
What does progress monitoring look like?
Progress monitoring can take many forms, ranging from testing to monitoring a child’s performance in action.
For example, if one of the child’s IEP goals relates to reading comprehension, teachers can monitor how well the student is able to answer targeted questions about a novel in class or on an assignment.
This is why IEP goals must be specific. Vague goals often lead to inaccurate and subjective progress monitoring. Alternately, creating specific, achievable goals helps the IEP team establish specific plans for how they will monitor the child’s progress.
What should parents do?
There are a few things that California parents can do proactively to encourage proper progress reporting. At the IEP meeting or even informal meetings, parents should:
- Ask teachers to elaborate on how the team will monitor progress
- Ask to review rubrics or plans for monitoring
- Determine when teachers will conduct these strategies
- Confirm when parents should expect progress reports
The plan to monitor progress – as well as the entire IEP – should be detailed. That is how the IEP team can effectively measure and support a child’s academic needs and growth.