The Individualized Education Program (IEP) documents a child’s eligibility for special education services and formalizes the school system’s plan to provide special education programs and services that are appropriate for the child’s unique needs. It contains specific information about a child and the education program designed to meet these needs, including:
- A child’s current development and/or performance in school and goals that can be reasonably accomplished in a school year;
- Special education and related services, e.g., counseling and speech, occupational, or physical therapy, paraprofessional support, assistive technology, behavior intervention, and modifications;
- Participation with non-disabled children;
- Date services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, and for how long; and
- Means of measuring a child’s progress.
The IEP lists measurable annual goals, consistent with the child’s needs and abilities, which include benchmarks or short-term instructional objectives, evaluative criteria and procedures, and schedules to be used to measure progress toward the annual goals. Programs should regularly monitor student achievement data over time to adjust the student’s instructional program as necessary and request meetings of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) to consider changes to the child’s IEP as appropriate. Programs should also provide regular written reports of the child’s progress to the parent and CPSE.
Purpose of Progress Reports
Progress reports to parents and the CPSE provide a mechanism to monitor a child’s progress toward the annual goals and to evaluate the effectiveness of the child’s special education services. If a child is not expected to reach his/her annual goals, the CPSE should review and revise the IEP to ensure that the child is being provided the appropriate supports and services, and the IEP reflects the child’s current needs and abilities.
Frequency of Progress Reports
Programs that operate a special class and/or special class in an integrated setting (SCIS) must provide three (3) reports of progress per year for preschool students receiving 10 month special education services and four (4) reports of progress per year for preschool students receiving 12 month special education services as required under the terms of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Part 200, section 200.4(d)(2)(iii)(c).
Progress reports can be used during annual reviews and requested reviews (IEP meetings) with the CPSE as well as transition to kindergarten (“turning 5”) meetings with school-age IEP teams.
What Should be Included in a Progress Report
Each annual goal establishes the criteria, schedule, and method for evaluating the student’s progress. Establishing goals that are measurable is important so that progress can be adequately assessed. To report a student’s progress, the teacher(s) must have gathered evidence of what the student is able to do in each annual goal area. Establishing a systematic data collection system is the first step to effective progress reporting to parents and the CPSE.
Progress reports should be distributed to the child’s parent and CPSE, and should contain, at a minimum:
- A review of the educational/related service(s) IEP goals and objectives, and the student’s current levels of performance in achieving the goals;
- A review of the educational/related service(s) to which the report pertains, including a description of the student’s response to the service and/or current levels of performance;
- The extent to which progress is sufficient to enable the child to achieve the annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goals by the by the end of the IEP period; and
- Suggested modifications to the duration and frequency of educational/related service(s), if any, and recommended changes to goals and objectives, if any.
Additional areas to consider for progress reports include:
- Academic achievement and learning characteristics, including the current level and development in cognitive skill areas, including rate of progress in acquiring skills and information, and preferred learning style;
- Social development, including the degree and quality of the child’s relationship with others, self-concept and self-awareness, self-regulation, and adaptability to change;
- Physical development, including the degree and quality of a child’s motor and sensory development, health or limitations to the learning process; physical well-being, health, and motor development, including vision, hearing, and movement;
- Approaches to thinking and learning, including the child’s level of engagement in learning and play, persistence in completing activities, including the ability to disregard distractions and interruptions, and initiative to act upon and/or take on certain tasks or reasonable risks;
- Communication and language, including the degree and quality of a child’s ability to communicate their needs and/or wants or limitations to the learning process;
- Activities of daily living (ADL) skills, including toileting, eating, and dressing; and
- Preschool special education services, including responses to supports and progress towards individualized goals.
How Should Progress be Reported?
There are many ways that parents can be informed of their child’s progress toward IEP goals, including, but not limited to parent-teacher conferences, written progress reports, and regular parent communication. The reports to the parent do not need to be lengthy or burdensome, but they need to be informative. For example, the report to parents could include a statement of the goals with a written report of where the student is currently functioning in that goal area and/or a rate of progress to indicate whether the student’s progress to date will likely result in the student reaching the goal by the end of the year. A sample template for a written progress report can be found at the end of this guidance document.
- The frequency and manner of reporting to parents and the CPSE is determined in consideration of a student’s unique needs.
- Progress is reported to parents in a manner that is understood by them (e.g., jargon-free) and is objective, not subjective.
- Specific data is included in measurable terms regarding the extent to which the student is progressing towards meeting annual goals.
- The information included in reports to parents is sufficient to identify a student’s lack of progress early enough that the CPSE could, if necessary, reconvene to review and, if appropriate, revise the student’s IEP to ensure the student is provided the appropriate supports to reach the annual goals.
For support in developing preschool progress reports, email Rebecca Burke at Rburke11@schools.nyc.gov.