The best way for parents to determine whether their child is making effective progress is to rely on independent evaluators. In addition, there are red flags to look for within a student’s school records, including those found in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and progress reports that might indicate that a student is not progressing.
Below are ten examples of red flags that might indicate that a student is not making effective academic, social, and emotional progress.
- Goals and short-term objectives repeat year after year.
- Goals and short-term objectives change without progress reports indicating that the student met the previous year’s goals.
- Goals and short-term objectives that are not measurable. The Massachusetts special education law (Chapter 71B) was amended in 2013 to include: “A child’s individualized education program, or IEP, as defined in 20 USC sec 1401 (14) shall include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, and a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives.”
- Lack of measurable post-secondary goals (transition goals) based on a transition assessment for students 14 and older.
- Progress Reports that use vague language.
- Progress Reports that specifically state that goals or short-term objectives were not met.
- Drastic changes in services year after year.
- Reduction of services without evaluating the student, or when the student is moved to a new school building.
- Failing grades or MCAS scores.
- Language in evaluations or IEPs related to the student’s lack of consistency, including “varying progress,” “day to day,” “sometimes,” “with varying degrees of prompts,” “depending on mood/behavior,” etc.