Our last post focused on the first factor in determining whether your child is adequately making progress against the goals set forth in his or her IEP: having a comprehensive evaluation performed. This post will address additional factors and criteria used to ensure that your child's IEP is both an accurate representation of his or her actual abilities and challenges, and that it is appropriately being used as a benchmark to guide your child's development.
Concrete information about the child's "Present Levels of Performance"
The most important information you should be able to take away from a comprehensive evaluation of your child's educational benchmarks is concrete knowledge about his "Present Levels of Performance" (PLOP). This information should be expressly set out in the results of the evaluation, and will give you much more defined, measurable information not only about where your child started, but about where he is currently with regards to educational performance.
Too much emphasis cannot be added about the importance of well-defined, concrete information and examples about your child's PLOP, particularly as they relate to specific academic and functional areas. A blanket statement that "Jill is showing improvement in reading comprehension" is simply not sufficient to guide educational development or the need for further intervention. Nor is it enough to include the results of standardized testing that all students in the same grade level are required to take.
Instead, a more detailed passage saying that "While Jill now has a broader vocabulary than she did at the beginning of the year, she still struggles with putting words into context and with making inferences commensurate with that of the ability seen in her peers" is results-based, providing information about the progress Jill has made as well as the opportunities that exist for further instruction.
Our next post will focus on the need for IEPs to provide age- and skill-level-appropriate goals and benchmarks to ensure that your child's development stays on track.