What is an IEP?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document which is designed to completely spell out the learning plan, needs, progress expected and accommodations a child will receive in order to improve their learning capabilities throughout the school year. An IEP is a legally binding document and requires the school to provide everything it promises in the document.

By law an IEP must include:

  • A Statement of the child’s present level of performance (PLOP) – how the child is currently performing in school
  • The child’s annual educational goals
  • Special education support and services that the school will provide to help the child reach their goals
  • Modifications and accommodations the school will provide to help the child make progress
  • Accommodations the child will be allowed when taking standardized tests
  • How and when the school will measure the child’s progress toward the annual goals
  • Transition planning to help prepare teens for life after high school

An IEP is part of the special education process and is necessary for students to receive needed special education services through the school. Not all students who struggle with school will necessarily be approved or require and IEP. There are two actions that must be taken in order to qualify a child for an IEP; an evaluation and a decision. The evaluation is conducted by an IEP team after consulting with parents, teachers, a counselor or a doctor who may see the child is struggling to keep up in school. The decision to implement an IEP is done with an IEP team made of up parents and school officials who decide the child needs and will benefit from the use of special education services through the use of an IEP. The evaluation and decision making process can be lengthy in nature and take time to implement, but once an IEP is in place, the child is to be afforded all accommodations spelled out in the IEP by law.