FAQ’s: IEP Basic Requirements

Girl with laptop computer

How is an individualized education program (IEP) defined?

An IEP is a written statement for each student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in meetings held by the IEP team

What information needs to be included in the IEP document?

  • Student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance;
  • How the student’s disability affects participation and progress in the general education setting;
  • For preschool students, how the disability affects the child’s involvement in age appropriate activities;
  • A statement of measurable academic and functional annual goals with a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives, and how the student’s progress will be measured;
  • How will student progress be reported to parents (i.e monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, etc.);
  • A description of special education and related services, supplementary aids and services that will be provided to student;
  • A statement of program modifications and supports provided to student;
  • A statement of appropriate accommodations to measure academic achievement and functional performance;
  • A start date for the provision of services;
  • The frequency, location, and duration of the provision of services and modifications;
  • When student turns 16 the transition services including courses of study to assist in reaching objectives and goals.

Can the school hold an IEP meeting without a parent in attendance?

Yes, an IEP meeting may be held without a parent in attendance whenever the school is unable to contact or convince parents to attend.

How can the school prove they tried to communicate with parents?

Schools are required to document their communication attempts with parents to arrange for a mutually agreed time and place to hold the IEP meeting.

Can the school unilaterally schedule an IEP meeting without parent input?

No, schools must make every effort to schedule an IEP meeting at a mutually agreed time and place. In other words, schools must be flexible in their schedules to accommodate parent needs.

What communication attempts is the school required to document?

Schools must keep detailed records of all attempts and telephone calls to parents; the results of those telephone calls; copies of any correspondence sent to parents and responses received; visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and results of those visits.

Are parents entitled to receive a copy of the IEP?

Yes, schools must provide a full copy of the student’s IEP at no cost to parents.