From Rowley to Endrew, Have Individual Education Programs Improved ?: Insights from Rural Texas Independent School Districts
Abstract: Students who are eligible to receive special education and related services are entitled to a free and appropriate public education including the necessary emotional, behavioral, and social supports to access the general curriculum. This study explores Individual Education Program (IEP) plans of students with disabilities who have social, emotional, or behavioral needs served in five rural independent school districts. Specifically, the study sought to investigate (a) whether the present level of academic and functional performance (PLAAFP) and annual goals demonstrated congruence and (b) the degree to which the IEP documents conform to both procedural and substantive requirements for development. A review of 126 IEPs suggests that although IEPs are somewhat compliant, they fail to comprehensively address student needs or align across areas, violating the spirit of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004). Results suggest that teachers rely heavily on teacher reports and notes rather than quantitative measures of student progress to determine student outcomes. Implications for practice, professional development, and future research directions are provided.
Rachel Scarcelli*, Amelia Martin, Minerva Mirafuentes, & Campbell Reid
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