The IEP for each student must include:
- The present levels of educational performance, including how the student’s disability affects his involvement and progress in the general curriculum (for preschoolers, present levels must include how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate activities);
- A statement of measurable annual goals related to:
- Meeting each of the student’s educational needs that result from the disability, and
- Meeting the student’s needs that result from his disability to enable his to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.
For students who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, a description of measurable benchmarks or short-term objectives must also be included:
- A description of how the student’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured, and when periodic progress reports will be provided (such as quarterly or at the same time report cards are issued);
- A statement of specific special education and related services (for example, physical education, vocational education, extended school year, instruction in academic or perceptual areas, teacher qualifications, class size) and supplementary aids and services (instructional aides, note takers, use of the resource room, extra time on tests, etc.) to be provided.
Special education and services must be based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable. The IEP must also contain a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to allow the student:
- to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;
- to be involved and progress in the general curriculum and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and
- to be educated and participate with other students with disabilities and non-disabled students (for example, modifications to the regular class curriculum, use of computer-assisted devices, special education training for the regular teacher, etc.);
- An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with non-disabled students in regular education classes or in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;
- The projected date for when services and modifications will begin and their duration, frequency, and location (for example, occupational therapy two times a week for 45-minute sessions in a room outside the classroom);
- A statement of any individual modifications or accommodations in the administration of state-wide or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the student to participate in the assessment, including the reason why he cannot participate in the regular assessment and the reason why the alternative assessment selected is appropriate;
- A description of the type of placement needed to implement the IEP in the least restrictive environment with an aide or other adaptations if necessary (the school district must ensure that a “continuum of alternative placements” is available, including instruction in regular classes, special classes, non-public school, state special schools, residential placement, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions);
- A description of activities needed to integrate a student into a regular education class if the student is transferring from a special class or center or a nonpublic school for any part of the school day and the necessary support for that transition. This description shall indicate the nature of the activity, and the time spent on the activity each day or week;
- In the first IEP after the student turns 16-years-old, if not earlier, the IEP must state appropriate measurable goals for the student’s life after high school. These goals (to be updated annually) should be based on age-appropriate assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills, and the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals;
- Extended school year services, when needed; and
- One year before the student turns 18, include a statement that the student has been informed that special education rights will transfer to the student at age 18.
[20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(d); 34 C.F.R. Secs. 300.116 & 300.320; 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3042(b); Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56345.]
It is important to understand that the major components of the IEP must relate to each other. State law requires that each IEP show a direct relationship between the present levels of performance, the goals and objectives, and the specific educational services to be provided. [5 C.C.R. Sec. 3040(b).] In other words, the annual goals should be written based on how the student is presently performing in school and the educational services must be sufficient for the student to make progress toward meeting the annual goals.