Kids Count > IEPs and System Accountability
Use of the Student's
Individualized Education Program (IEP) for
has been suggested by some members of Congress that changes
to the ESEA should include provisions that allow schools to
use the Individualized Education
Program (IEP) as
accountability tool for determining the progress
and proficiency of some - perhaps all - special education
students. However, the U.S. Department of Education has stated
that IEPs are not appropriate for system accountabilty (see
are a multitude of reason why a student’s IEP cannot
and should not be used for school accountability under ESEA.
Specifically, these are:
- The IEP outlines
agreed-upon services and supports required to address the
individual needs of a student that enable him or
her to participate in the regular education curriculum aligned
to the standards set for all and with his or her
peers without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.
- The IEP serves
as a tool for monitoring individual child progress based
only on the effectiveness
the individualized services and supports developed to address
the student’s disability related educational
- The IEP is
not designed or utilized as a tool for holding schools accountable
for ensuring that students with
taught to the academic content and achievement standards established
by the state for all students. As a result, a student's annual
goals are often set too low and do
not align with state or district
is not possible to aggregate performance data from IEP goals
to use as valid, reliable data in determining accountability
a school, district or state level .
- There are no consequences attached
failure to attain individual IEP goals.
teams do not make curriculum decisions.
- Some 13
percent of public school students currently receive special
education supports nationally.
The rate is as high as 20% in some states. To exclude
students with disabilities from the system accountability,
or to marginalize their participation by using IEP goal
attainment as an alternative measure, will limit accountability
for one of every 5 to 7 public
school students and would surely result in a violation of their
civil rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Dept. of Education on use of IEP Goals for School Accountability
from Non-Regulatory Guidance, Alternate Achievement
Standards for Students
with the Most
Disabilities, August 2005
[Full document available
a State use student progress on IEP goals or an assessment
of functional life skills to meet
I regulation requirements?
A. No. There are at least two reasons why IEP goals or functional
life skills are not appropriate achievement measures for
First, IEP goals are individualized for each student, and
a student’s progress toward each goal is measured
for purposes of reporting progress to parents and for making
individualized decisions about the special education and
related services a student receives. In addition, for AYP
determinations, test results must ensure consistency in
judgments made about schools. IEP goals are not designed
for this purpose.
Second, as required by Title I, schools are accountable
for student achievement only in the content areas of
reading/language arts and mathematics. IEP goals may
address a broad range
of individualized instructional needs, as well as behavioral
and developmental needs, and might not be based on the
academic content standards. IEP goals may cover a range
of issues beyond reading/language arts and mathematics,
as behavior, social skills, or the use of adaptive equipment,
and, as such, an examination of how well a student met
his or her IEP goals is not synonymous with achievement
by an alternate assessment for AYP purposes. In addition,
IEP goals might not be aligned to State standards, and
it is not possible to set achievement standards based
goals. While States and LEAs may develop assessments
that measure students’ progress toward IEP goals,
such assessments are not required by Title I. In addition,
of functional life skills may be an important component
of some students' IEPs, it is also critical that such
students have access to the general curriculum and that
be counted for AYP purposes."
March 15, 2010, the Education Task Force of the Consortium
for Citizens with Disabilities sent a letter
to Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller stating its objection
to any use of the IEP as an accountability tool under ESEA.
Forty organizations signed the letter.