An services, evaluated, and found eligible (as defined

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program developed for students with disabilities to ensure their educational goals are achieved. Learn more about IEPs, objectives, and examples and test your knowledge with quiz questions.


An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a required step in the process of receiving special education services. A student’s parents, teachers, and other service providers meet to come to a consensus about the educational accommodations necessary to assist the student in meeting the objectives. This group of professionals and parents are known as the IEP Team.Before an IEP can be written a student must be identified as needing services, evaluated, and found eligible (as defined by the Individuals with Disability Education Act, IDEA) for services. IEPs can be written for academic, social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities.

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Once the IEP is written and approved by the parents and school personnel services can be provided. Parents are provided with a copy of the IEP. Progress is reported regularly so parents know if the objectives for the year will be met. At least once a year the IEP team meets to review. During reviews, school personnel and parents (and student if appropriate) evaluate the progress and decide if revisions should be made. If they are unable to come to consensus the parents may ask for mediation or a due process hearing.


The purpose of an IEP is to meet the child’s needs based on the child’s development rather than predetermined expectations based on grade level.

The IEP takes both strengths and challenges into consideration, using a child’s strengths to improve his or her challenges. The IEP Team must determine the proper placement for a child using the environment that is the least restrictive possible. A child is pulled out of a regular classroom and put in another environment only when absolutely necessary for the child’s education. Any time spent outside the regular education classroom must be explained in the IEP.



IEPs are required to include certain information including, but not limited to, the child’s current level of performance, goals, accommodations, modification, services, and least restriction environment explanations.


Lacie is a sixth grade student with dyslexia, which makes reading difficult. Her current IEP goal for this year is to increase fluency from 70 words a minute to 120 words with a 95% accuracy rate.She has a number of spelling goals that include receiving 80% or higher on her spelling assignments and correctly writing ‘b’ and ‘d’ 99 times out of 100 on her class assignments.An IEP also includes modifications that the school will provide to assist the student in meeting the goals.

  • She has been provided a set of textbooks to keep at home and given an electronic reader so she can listen rather than read.

  • Teachers do not deduct for spelling errors in homework.
  • She’s given ten spelling words each week instead of the typical sixth grade 20 words.
  • She spends 30 minutes a day with a teacher’s aide to assist her.
  • She is allowed to turn in assignments late with no deduction.

At the October progress meeting, teachers are very happy with her progress and recommend increasing her spelling words to 12 and reducing the teacher aide time to 20 minutes.

The parents agreed with the 12 spelling words, but not with the 20 minutes of aide time. The IEP Team was able to finally agree on 25 minutes of aide time. The IEP was revised to reflect the changes.

The next meeting is scheduled for February.



An IEP is an education plan designed to meet the needs of a student who has been identified as qualifying for special education services. The IEP is both required before services can be provided and a plan for teachers and other professionals to help students meet the goals.

Learning Outcomes

After this lesson, you should feel confident in your ability to:

  • Define an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • Describe how a child may be assessed for an IEP
  • Discuss government policies pertaining to special needs students
  • Give examples of learning modifications that may take place related to an IEP

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