No Child Left Behind brought a new term to the forefront of special education lingo. “Standards Based.” This idea is applied to everything from textbooks to instruction to IEPs. What does it really mean and how does it impact the development of IEPs?
When something is associated with standards, then the inference is that the state’s standards of quality or benchmarks for instruction are the foundation for this instructional practice. That is to say that if you lived in Virginia, your child would be assessed on how they are making progress through the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL). These standards can be found at the following website: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/index.shtml
The standards form the backbone of the curriculum for the entire state. Every child in grade 2 for example will be taught and later measured on these two SOLs in Oral Language:
2.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of oral language structure.
a) Create oral stories to share with others.
b) Create and participate in oral dramatic activities.
c) Use correct verb tenses in oral communication.
d) Use increasingly complex sentence structures in oral communication.
2.2 The student will continue to expand listening and speaking vocabularies.
a) Use words that reflect a growing range of interests and knowledge.
b) Clarify and explain words and ideas orally.
c) Follow oral directions with three or four steps.
d) Give three-step and four-step directions.
e) Identify and use synonyms and antonyms in oral communication.
An IEP that is standards based uses the state standards as the basis for IEP annual goals and IEP short term benchmarks and objectives. In the case of a second grader inVirginiain the area of oral language, the IEP annual goal would be based on the line from the sample above preceded by 2.2: The student will continue to expand listening and speaking vocabularies. IEP teams use the state standards to develop useable IEPs for all levels of students. The process of developing standards based IEPs involves considering what is expected of ALL students in a specific grade and then determining how a specific child’s disability may interfere with them attaining the standard. Along with that consideration is the generation of supports and alternatives that are appropriate for that individual child.
The See My IEP website has a quick link to each state’s department of Education where you can find the state standards. Keep watching for a list of the State Standards links coming soon as a premium member benefit.