New! COVID-19   Law    Advocacy    Topics A-Z    Training    Books & Videos   Store  Blog

 Home > Doing Your Homework > Your Child's IEP: Progress in the General Curriculum by Sue Whitney

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

Jun. 29-30 - USAF

Oct. 14 - Columbia, MD

Nov. 4-5 - Torrance, CA

Full Schedule


Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
Military Discounts
Student Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Cool Tools
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Short Course Series
Success Stories

Law Library

Fed Court Complaints
IDEA 2004
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504


American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention
  (Part C)

Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma,
   Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc

Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE / Inclusion
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based

Response to Intervention

Restraints / Seclusion
   and Abuse

School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
  Disability Groups
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites


Print this page

Doing Your Homework:
Your Child's IEP & Progress in the General Education Curriculum

by Suzanne Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw

Progress - Plan Head

In this article, you'll learn about requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the *No Child Left Behind Act for your child's involvement in and progress in the general education curriculum.


You'll learn about the requirement that schools provide children with special education and related services so they can meet the high expecations and goals established for children who are not disabled.

Finally, you'll learn how to get your state's academic standards and how to use these standards to develop your child's IEP.


Note: Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.


No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

In 2001, when Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (and renamed it the "No Child Left Behind Act"), they described the purpose of the No Child Left Behind Act as follows:

"The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assesssments. (emphasis added) This purpose can be accomplished by ... meeting the educational needs of low-achieving children ... [including] children with disabilities." 20 U.S.C. § 6301 (See Statement of Purpose on pages 137-138 of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind)

For children with disabilities who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), NCLB requires that the child will receive "reasonable adaptations and accommodations for students with disabilities ... necessary to measure the academic achievement of such students relative to State academic content and State student academic achievement standards."

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

When Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004, they found that:

"The education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by ... having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general curriculum to the maximum extent possible, in order to meet the developmental goals and ... the challenging expectations that have been established for all children and ... be prepared to lead productive and independent adult lives ..." 20 U.S.C. 1400(c) (See Findings and Purposes page 45 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that your
child's IEP must be based on "the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance." The IEP must include "a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum ..."

Your child's IEP must include "a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aides and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child or on behalf of the child to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum ..." 20 U.S.C. 1414(d). (See Individualized Education Programs on pages 99-101 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law

And that's not all.

When Congress reauthorized
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, they added new language about "individual appropriate accommodations" on state and district testing and new requirements for alternate assessments. The child's IEP must include "a statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments ..." 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)

State Academic Standards

What do you know about your state academic standards? These standards describe what children in each grade need to know and be able to do.

To get a copy of your state's state's academic standards, go to the website of your
state department of education and download your state academic content standards. Your state may refer to this as "academic standards" or "grade level expectations" or "curriculum frameworks."

After you read and review these academic standards, you'll know what your child should know and be able to do in each grade. This is the "general education curriculum" that Congress said your child should be involved in and make progress in.

Print the academic standards for the grade your child will attend next year. You can use these academic or curriculum standards and information from current evaluations of your child to write appropriate, measurable IEP goals for the upcoming year.

Parents, Laws, and NCLB. An Interview with Suzanne Whitney - "The more you read the easier it gets. When a parent first enters the education process it takes a while to learn the system and the jargon. Every state has academic content standards."

Learn more about IEPs

Read more Doing Your Homework columns by Sue Whitney.

Revised: 11/26/19

Meet Sue Whitney

Sue Whitney of Manchester, New Hampshire, works with families as a special education advocate and is the research editor for Wrightslaw.

Doing Your Homework, Suzanne Whitney gives savvy advice about reading, research based instruction, and creative strategies for using education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools.

Her articles have been reprinted by,,, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys.

Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that was published by Harbor House Law Press, Inc.

She also served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC).

Sue Whitney's bio.

Copyright © 2002-2022 by Suzanne Whitney.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

June Special!
Special Ed Law &
Advocacy Training (6.5 hrs)

Check Out
The Advocate's Store!

Wrightslaw on FacebookWrightslaw on TwitterWrightslaw YouTube Channel 

Wrightslaw Books
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright

About the Book

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

Student Discounts

Military Discounts

The Advocate's Store

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training

Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Wrightslaw Mutimedia Training Download

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $49.95