IEPs

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2006
IEPs
6
Fri, 08-18-2006 - 8:37pm

Hi, I was wondering if any of you could please tell me what specific assessment tools are used to determine **current performance levels** of a student in order to make an IEP? Are there certain assessments that are used or does it vary from school to school? If it varies, could you also tell me why you prefer one over the other?
Thank you so much to anyone who has time to answer this question for me. I have a child who may need another assessment because the IEP isn't addressing the right needs.
Sincerely, Av


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: av1506
Fri, 08-18-2006 - 9:17pm

I was just wondering, before answering the question, are you a teacher, or a parent/gaurdian? Can you describe the student a bit more and how you think his IEP needs modification?

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2006
In reply to: av1506
Fri, 08-18-2006 - 11:01pm
Thanks, I'm actually a behavior analyst, and work with kids with autism...i have worked with the same families for years so I kind of consider them my own kids :-)
I recently got more involved with IEP development for some of my kids... one child in particular was given the most ridiculous "goals and objectives" in his IEP... they were all stuff the child (in 1st grade) had already mastered the year before in my ABA sessions with him! The multidisciplinary team clearly did not properly define his "present levels of performance" in accordance with IDEA for the IEP. I only wish I was part of the IEP team originally. Of course the parent didn't sign off on this version of the IEP, and we're going back to the table on it.
Anyway, I was just wondering what some of the other more common assessments are used to determine present levels of performance. I think they only used achievement tests and a diagnosis assessment which is not enough to pinpoint accurate developmentally appropriate goals in my opinion...but why don't they know that!? I'm a bit frustrated because I love this kid and I want him to have the best service possible. I'm wondering if they would consider the ABLLS (assessment of basic language and learning skills).
Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
In reply to: av1506
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 9:15am

It not only varies from school to school, but from child to child. Hence the name, "Individualized" Education Plan. There is no "cut and dry" method that everyone uses. There are various tools available for math, reading, spelling, general knowledge, etc.

What you need to do is sit down with the psychologist and special ed. person in your building and sort out what you are seeing and what the current goals state.

When was the child's last ETR/MFE (the full blown testing)? That could help to know, as well, because if it has been a while, it may be time for new testing. New testing could change goals, as well as placement for the child.

Good luck.

Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
In reply to: av1506
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 9:20am

Absolutely bring any data you have on the child's current levels of performance to the meeting. Sometimes the people doing the testing don't work with the kid on a regular basis, so they are going on just a test (or a few tests) done in a short period of time.

Anything can be used for current performance levels. If you are talking about reading, ask if someone will do a DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment). It is a one-on-one running record of the child's reading ability. A skilled person with DRA will also check the fluency level. Comprehension and % of words correctly read on level are already built into the test.

It's hard to say what to use since you are so vague with what you're asking -- as in what tools they can use. They can use almost any tools. We've taken end of unit math tests in as "current performance" to show which skills a child had mastered/not mastered. It all depends, really.

I don't know about the ABLLS enough to comment on it, but I'd say if there is independent research to back up it's being a credible source, then absolutely it could be considered as help for providing "current levels". I would think the district would be happy to have you at the team meetings and have your input.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: av1506
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 9:37am

Your clarification was very helpful-thank you! I am in special ed, but so far I have had nothing to do with Autism or even early childhood, for that matter, but I do have experience in advocacy, and that may be the direction you are headed in.

In answer to your specific question about what data should be used for curent levels of educational performance, a combination of grades, classroom teacher comments/observations, clinical notes, standardized tests and so on can be used. The more data the better.

In answer to your second question, poor IEPs are adopted for a vareity of reasons-teacher preparing document to busy to get new data, the IEP is not considered important be anyone on the team, and so on.

You should be applauded for wanting to help your clients because a well planned education is especially vital to kids with special needs. However, effective advocacy is very time consuming. There is much to learn both legally and tacitly. For example, the simple truth is that even though the IEP doesn't look anything like your client on paper, she may in fact be receiving a better education than it seems because she is with a good teacher. Many teachers, good or bad, rarely even look at IEPs.

That is not to say your goals to improve it are not relevant, only to underscore the need for patience. IEP changes are best held in a nonconfronational manner, with the idea of "walk softly but carry a big stick". Understanding how schools work aids in that understanding when faced with ovewhelming evidence that the student is not getting an appropriate education.

I can't possibly go into everything in one message. But if you are serious about the follow through here, you need to understand that to "do it right" you are probably undertaking a multiyear project that, on the good side, will have wonderful results for your client. Therefore I would urge you to become involved in the IEP messageboard at ivillage, and I can put you in direct contact with an advocate from there if you are still game. Letting someone else lead in your first case would probably be an advantage.

For example, what you really have to do in your situation is probably ask for a reevaluation - but you would have to make the request using a certified letter and you might want to have a meeting before or after it was agreed on as to what kind of data you wanted gathered. You could just convene an IEP meeting first saying the team wanted more data-but the team would have to have reached a consensus about that. Somebody would have to review the IEP to really advise you. Also, you might want to locate an attorney in your area who specializes in special education as backup. I have used such an attorney and they are invaluable. But the key is to maintain a working relationship with the team.
An advocate is viewed as less threatening. You may just want to hook your client up with such an advocate and let them handle the responsibility of managing the case. It can be very demanding.

HTH,

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2004
In reply to: av1506
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 11:25pm

I would bring documentation of the child having mastered the goals and objectives. Something I have come across is that a child doesn't preform in school. I can't mark a goal or objective as mastered if I haven't seen it or another staff member hasn't seen it, with proper documentation. Even in elementary school most of our ESE students have different teahers so I wouldn't always be the one to provide the primary instruction so I frequently communicate the the other teacher(s) to assure that a student has mastered a skill.


Most of my PLP comes from the student's preformance in my room. Most of my class will get reevaluated because they're turning 6 and are DD but the evaluations given don't shed much light on what they can or can't do in terms of classroom preformance. I've seen, in my short time, that I prefer at annual IEPs to the inital staffing because they are more specific.


I ALWAYS read the IEP, as soon as it comes in. I use it as a starting point not a limit to what I can teach the child.

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