IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is the federal law that mandates special education in our nation. IDEA states that parents of children who receive special education services should get a report of progress at least as often as general education parents.
Most school districts issue progress report cards every 6 or 9 weeks. Some schools even issue progress reports every 2-3 weeks. According to IDEA, students with IEPs should receive reports at least this often. Reports can be given more often than every 2 -3 weeks, but not less often.
An important thing to remember is that the teachers are usually doing what they think is best. If they are not giving you progress reports as often as they should, there’s a good chance that they don’t know they are supposed to. A simple conversation with the teacher should remedy the situation. Otherwise, a meeting with the principal should do it.
All students should receive a report card with a real grade in each of their classes/subjects. If you have a student with an IEP who doesn’t get a report card, talk to his teacher or principal and request one.
In addition to regular report cards and progress reports, students with IEPs should also get progress reports on their goals. All IEPs have goals included as part of the plan. These goals should be measurable and meaningful. And at least once each grading period, the student should receive a report of how they are doing on each goal.
Progress reports on goals should make sense and be a clear report of the student’s development. The report should include every goal in the student’s IEP. It’s not enough for the teacher to mark a goal as “In progress.” The goal should be reported as a percentage if that’s how the goal is measured. If the goal is stated in number of trials per grading period, then that’s how the progress should be reported. If the report doesn’t make sense to you, be sure to ask the teacher about it. And if the report needs to be changed or updated, ask them to update it.
It is important for parents to be in the know on how their student is doing in school. Regular reports of progress will help them stay connected. To learn more about developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), go to the Special Education pages on this website.
Before I had my son, I was a special education teacher. I was one of those teachers who believed that these "special" kids needed to be kept safe. After teaching in a self-contained special education class, my views slowly started to change.