What’s the Intent of a Summary of Performance?

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When I asked the IEP team about my son’s Summary of Performance, I got the “deer in the headlights” look – they didn’t even know what it was.  We finally got one in late summer when my son was already out of high school.

What is the intent of a Summary of Performance?  What should it look like?

When your child graduates from high school with a regular diploma or “ages out” of special education, IDEA requires the school to provide a “summary of academic achievement and functional performance.” The Summary of Performance (SOP) should include recommendations about ways to help your child meet post-secondary goals.

The SOP must be completed during the final year of high school. It is most useful when completed during the transition IEP process when your child has the opportunity to actively participate in the development of this summary. The SOP should contain the most updated information on academic achievement and performance, and include your child’s abilities and aspirations.

The information in the Summary of Performance should be based on your child’s unique needs and his goals after he graduates from high school, although IDEA does not spell out specifically what the SOP must contain. The intent of the SOP is to provide crucial information to those people who may assist your child in the future.

Since specific information that must be included in the SOP will vary by state, parents should become familiar with their state’s requirements. You should check to see if your state Department of Education has developed a policy on the SOP development process.

The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) provides information on the Summary of Performance (SOP) as well as other state transition resources.

In 2005, the National Transition Documentation Summit, a group of secondary and postsecondary representatives, rehabilitation specialists, consumer advocates, and parents, produced a model template for the Summary of Performance. It is available to be freely copied or adapted for educational purposes.

Go to Transition: Summary of Performance at https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/trans.sop.htm

You’ll find more information, a link to the NSTTAC State Resources Map, Q and As, and a link to download a copy of the model template.

  1. I live in California. My son has IEP with autism and ADHD. He will start 9th grade (freshman) next year. He is placed on the regular diploma for high school. If later he will not has ability to earn a regular diploma, will he be placed back to modified curriculum in all of his classes as needed. Meaning that for example, he will receive his core content in smaller classes with an average student/teacher ratio 15:1 and instructional aide support is present in theses classes. Is this a big issue that the school will not deny to put him back to modified curriculum. I have heard from other parents who have special education children that it is very hard to go back to modified curriculum and must hire a special education attorney with very high fees.

  2. You state when a student exits with a HS diploma or ages out—IF MY son has a certificate only but is still in the system- Is the district required to write a SOP for him????

  3. There have multiple violations in my daughter’s case. At an IEP meeting in February the school suggested I just home school her. As a result I have hired an attorney and am currently looking at private placement options. My attorney says that if my daughter is accepted and we agree to a placement, the home district can override our decision if they do not agree. An advocate/neuropsychologist with 20 years experience also working on my daughter’s case (I had to get an independent evaluation because the school would not agree to test her) says that once the home district agrees to seek private placement and sends packets out to private schools, they can not override our decision,. Which is true?

  4. My grandson is only a Junior but just turned 18 on 5/6/11, so the Probation Department has ‘kicked him out’ of their “ACCESS” (California Prob.Dept. Education). Two big issues exist for me: 1/He has not recv’d. a final IEP/Review Evaluation (annual report), and 2)now I see there is also this ‘Summary of Perfomance’ report due. I called his Spec. Ed. contact today and left a message. How do you suggest I get both of these reports, as they are telling me they can’t perform them now, since he is not ‘in the ACCESS program (because they just ‘disenrolled him’ since he did not attend school for 6 weeks, and turned 18!! Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  5. How can I find out my rights to have my child tested by the school district? I have sent a letter requesting psychological testing as my son seems brilliant, bored, and seems to have trouble socially. The principal said they would not test but I should take my child to my own psychologist if Iwas concerned. Then my child was suspended for 3 weeks with no home tutor because he was involved in using a teacher’s computer password to enter the grading system. The principal had been warned by my husband about the passwords being accessible to students months earlier. Now that he has returned to school, his teachers are calling him thief and telling him they don’t want him in their classes.

  6. Colleen – The solution to the problem you describe is informed parents and advocates. By describing the purpose of the Summary of Performance, and providing the model template, we hope to eliminate or minimize this problem.

  7. Unfortunately the Summary of Performance or Exit Summary is being used by some districts to showcase the district instead of developing it to truly assist the student in the future. Our school district refused to make any changes to the IEP and instead focused on conducting an Exit Summary touting thier efforts instead of my son’s performance. The summary meeting was conducted as a final IEP meeting almost 5 months before the end of the school year. I’m saddened and sickened by the gross distortion of the meaning of Summary of Performance and its original intent.

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