COVID-19   Law    Advocacy    Topics A-Z     Training    Wrights' Blog   Wrightslaw Store    Yellow Pages for Kids 
 Home > IDEA  > IEP Roadmap: What You Need to Know About IEPs, IEP Teams and IEP Meetings

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

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

Aug. 22 - TRT-CLE

Sept. 24 - MD via ZOOM

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
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

IEP Roadmap:
What You Need to Know About IEPs, IEP Teams and IEP Meetings

When Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabiities Education Act, they made significant changes to Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and IEP meetings. These changes included:

  • content of IEPs;
  • who is required to attend IEP meetings;
  • IEPs by agreement;
  • reviewing and revising IEPs;
  • transition and transition plans; and
  • alternate ways to participate in meetings.

Use this article as your roadmap to IEPs and IEP meetings.

Content of IEPs

Present Levels of Performance

When Congress reauthorized in IDEA, they required that the child's IEP include a statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance from objective data in tests and assessments.

Annual Goals

IEPs must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals.

Educational Progress

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires IEPs to include a description of how the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when periodic reports of the child's progress toward meeting the annual goals (as by quarterly or other periodic reports at the time report cards are issued) will be provided to the parents.

Special Education and Related Services

The IDEA includes language about research-based instruction. The child's IEP must include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research (to the extent practicable) that the school will provide and a statement of program modifications and supports for school personnel.

Accommodations and Alternate Assessments

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes new language about individual appropriate accommodations on state and district testing and 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 ... "

"... if the IEP Team determines that the child shall take an alternate assessment on a particular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment ... and why ... the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child."


The first IEP after the child is 16 (and updated annually) must include:

"appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment and independent living skills" and transition services (including courses of study) the child needs to reaching these goals.

When IEP Team Members May be Excused from Meetings

A member of the child's IEP team may be excused from attending an IEP meeting if the member's area of the curriculum or service will not be discussed or modified and if the parent and school agree.

An IEP team member may be excused if the member's area of curriculum or service will be discussed or modified if the team member submits a written report to the parent and other members of the IEP team in advance, and if the parent provides written consent.

Developing the IEP

In developing the child's IEP, the IEP team shall consider:

  • the child's strengths

  • the parent's concerns for enhancing the child's education

  • the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation; and

  • the child's academic, developmental, and functional needs.

The IEP team shall consider special factors for children:

  • whose behavior impedes learning

  • who have limited English proficiency

  • who are blind or visually impaired

  • who are deaf or hard of hearing

Educational Placements

Parents are key members of the team that decides the child's placement. The placement decision cannot be made until after the IEP team, including the parent, reaches consensus about the child's needs, program, and goals.

Although the law is clear on this issue, the child's "label" often drives decisions about services and placement, leading to school personnel to determine the child's placement without receiving parent input and before the IEP meeting. These unilateral actions prevent parents from "meaningful participation" in making educational decisions for their child.

Reviewing and Revising IEPs

The IEP must be reviewed at least once a year to determine if the child is achieving the annual goals. The IEP team must revise the IEP to address:

  • any lack of expected progress
  • results of any reevaluation
  • information provided by the parents
  • anticipated needs

Revising the IEP by Agreement, Without an IEP Meeting

If the parent and school agree to amend or modify the IEP, they may revise the IEP by agreement without convening an IEP meeting.

The team must create a written document that describes the changes or modifications to the IEP and note that, by agreement of the parties, an IEP meeting was not held.

Alternative Ways to Participate in Meetings

School meetings do not have to be face-to-face. IEP and placement meetings, mediation meetings, and due process (IEP) resolution sessions may be convened by conference calls or videoconferences.

In-State and Out-of State Transfers

If a child transfers to a school district in the same state, the receiving district must provide comparable services to those in the sending district's IEP until they develop and implement a new IEP.

If a child transfers to another state, the receiving district must provide comparable services to those in the sending district's IEP until they complete an evaluation and create a new IEP.

IDEA at Wrightslaw

Read more What You Need to Know About IDEA articles.

IDEA at Wrightslaw will help you find answers to your questions. How the site is currently organized:

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

In Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, you'll find clear, concise answers to more than 200 frequently asked questions about IEPs. Learn what the law says about:

  • IEP Teams and IEP Meetings
  • Parental Rights & Consent
  • Steps in Developing the IEP
  • Placement, Transition, Assistive Technology
  • Strategies to Resolve Disagreements

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd ed. by Peter W. D. Wright & Pamela Darr Wright Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-892320-16-2) by Peter Wright and Pamela Wright includes:

  • Full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and implementing regulations with analysis and commentary;
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;
  • No Child Left Behind Act;
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA);
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Act;
  • Decisions in special education cases from the U.S. Supreme Court; and
  • References and resources

Both books are available in three formats:

How to Order  Discounts   The E-book

Synopsis   Table of Contents  
About the Authors    Reviews

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Editionis designed to meet the needs of parents, teachers, advocates, attorneys, related services providers, school psychologists, administrators, college professors, hearing officers, and employees of district and state departments of education.

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

SAVE 25% Now
on Special Ed Books,
Immediate Downloads
and Advocacy Supplies!

Order Wrightslaw Product
s Today!

Check Out
The Advocate's Store!

Wrightslaw on FacebookWrightslaw on TwitterWrightslaw YouTube Channel 

Wrightslaw Books
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd 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

The Advocate's Store

Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $14.95