Can a Child with an IEP Fail?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Does having an IEP guarantee my son will not fail?

The answer to this particular question is No. An IEP does not guarantee that a child will not fail.

If a child has a disability and needs special education services, the school and parents meet to develop an IEP.

The IEP is an educational plan that should be tailored to meet your child’s unique needs. The program, or plan, describes what a child needs to enable him to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.

The IEP does not guarantee that your child won’t fail, although it is unusual for a child with an IEP to fail.

On the flipside of this, a different question.

The school is denying my child services under Section 504 because he is not failing.  Does a student have to be failing to get a 504 plan or an IEP?

The answer to this question is No.  A child does not have to be failing to qualify for services under Section 504 or IDEA. The law does not mention “failing” as a criteria for services under Section 504 or IDEA.

If a child has a disability that limits a major life activity (such as reading and learning), he or she should be eligible for 504 protections.

Recently, the ADA was amended and renamed ADAAA. Section 504 was amended so that it incorporates the ADAAA and applies to public school students under Section 504. See

Take a look at the articles and resources on this page:

Your Challenge

If you have a child that is not failing but needs services, the law is on your side.  But that is not enough. You need to be a salesman and portray your child and his situation so school people want to help. This is your challenge.

Read our “Letter to the Stranger” article to see how a parent changed
their message, and in doing so, got her son the help he needed:

Leave a Reply

54 Comment threads
34 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
70 Comment authors
Notify of

my child is in IEP classes for reading, writing, and math. He always brings home F’s yet the schools continue to pass him onto the next grade. He is in the fourth grade but on a kindergarten level for every class. Even though we work with him at home the school still passes him onto the next grade. WHY?


There can be a number of reasons for this. I suggest contacting your state parent training and information center.


My daughter is 18 and a senior she has nt passed 3 of the OGT test to graduate. She has IEP. With having an IEP does she have to pass those test in order to graduate?


This would depend on your state rules. Your state parent training and information center can assist you on this.


What can we do if a student with an IEP keeps getting passed to the next grade even though they can’t read? The said student is 16 years old and can not read at all but is graded with A’s.


You can request accelerated instruction during the school year, & summer to address his deficits, & reading. Also study the data. State, & local testing should show how he compares to his peers. You can also request an independent education evaluation (IEE) to obtain additional data. If you are not ok with the district’s response, using the state dispute resolution processes is an option. Your state parent training and information project can assist you.


I adopted my nephew and he has an IEP plan in place. I don’t understand something, he has autism and ADHD and he is A B honor roll but, he is at a level one?!?! Please can someone please explain this to me.


Sometimes teachers give grades based on how hard the child tries, their behavior, etc. not on the same factor they use for students without an IEP.


If my son has a iep and the school has a rule if you get kept back two times your out . Does he has the right to stay in that same school


That sounds really wrong. Contact your state parent training project for help on this.


I have a ninth grader that has had an IEP since kindergarten and has been denied to have someone verbally read the information to her for various different reasons. Just this last year for her recertification I was finally told that they could get someone to read to her but she ended up failing the 9th grade what can I do?


Use the state office for dispute resolution or you can request for mediation with the school. Also ask for an IEP meeting to look over the goals along with accommodations and modifications. These may need to change. You can also consider doing a Due process with the school.


My daughter was born deaf. Shes an IEP student and her school held her back.


Why did they hold her back? What services is she getting? Was she receiving those services? You need to find out what happened. It sound stop me and could be wrong that the IEP was not followed. Request for an IEP meeting to resolve this issue also.


My son is 16 years old and has an IEP: he is on the spectrum. He completed the courses for 9th grade successfully with As and Bs. He was hospitalized and could not take the Spring semester classes. He has been transferred to another school that offers an ideal environment for students on the spectrum. The new school is telling me that the credits/classes he took in the fall are not accepted because he needed to complete the whole year for those credits to count. He will therefore be repeating the 9th grade. Something just doesn’t sound right. The school he attended and the new school are both in NYS. Can you advise me.


Was the course a year long course or a semester course? If year long, then I would think the school is correct and he did not complete the course. If it was only a semester long course, then I would think that he had completed it.


Did he complete course work while in the hospital? That should count towards him completing the grade


Rip I just failed my 10th grade English class and I have an IEP. I fell behind and I couldn’t catch up, and the pace was just too fast, I have no time management skills, I shutdown under pressure and adhd makes it hard to do work after school; even though I take meds for it. Also I have to take two English classes since I go to a vocational school and Massachusetts makes it mandatory to have a certain number of hours in subjects; causing two English and algebra classes in my schools sophomore class. I wish summer school wasn’t mandatory, I understand whats going on in english, it’s just I can’t turn in work as fast as they give it out, it’s too much. This kinda makes me feel dead inside ;-;


First do not beat yourself up and feel dead. What does your IEP say with goals to time management? If there are none then its time for you and your parents to call and IEP meeting have those goals implemented into your IEP. There also needs to be accommodations put into place where they will accept your work late. Good luck to you!!! You are a bright and vibrant young lady and you will do well!!


My son will be in ninth grade for the second time now and will be repeating 9th grade next year for the third time! He has had an IEP for years. Needless to say he is not academically inclined and I feel that the school is quick to blame my child for not performing when it’s ultimately their job to help figure out how to enable him and teach him in a way he could learn. Am I wrong on this?


James, Kimberly, it is the school’s responsibility to address the student’s needs. Your state parent training and information project can assist you in advocating for your child.

Kimberly D.

My child is 15 with an IEP for a specific learning disability, he is in a co-taught English/Reading class to meet his needs but it failing every subject. I have his annual meeting coming up and looking for some suggestions or advice in how to increase services in other areas to meet his needs. I need him to enjoy school and believe the only class he feels confident in is his co-taught class.


My son is 12 and has an IEP, suffers from Ear Infections (Tubes 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grade & TMJ – wont give us a 504 asked by his pediatrician because they said it’s in his IEP), he’s only on a 3rd & 4th grade reading level and my son and I both want him to stay behind because he doesn’t feel he is learning. The school says he can’t stay behind because I will damage his learning. They won’t give him a professional tutor either. He also suffers from anxiety from bullying at school and kids that just won’t leave him alone. Plus he suffers from PTSD.


I’m realizing that it’s more about money than helping a child. My son has an IEP in language. He’s failing that class. I see no changes, lack of change and attitude from sped teacher. I’m a parent that is truly disgusted by what I see. No solutions, no changes. Red tape and a system that is allowing our kids to fall in the cracks. Some great teachers are apparent, but some don’t care at all.


My daughter is in the 4th grade we moved to another state in mid Oct she was transferred with a full I.E.P already it is now March and we just just had our meeting here they did another full evaluation on her informed me she is below grade level and want to retain her. And they are not equipped with the integrated services here she needs. 5 months to evaluate a child who is now behind.?? She was transferred with a full I.E.P help plz….


I feel that the best source of help is your state parent training and information center.