Summer School for Parents: Evaluations; Progress;
SMART IEPs; Pro-Parent Decision

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June 19, 2007

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 395
Subscribers: 50,581

In This Issue:

Summer School for Parents

Learn about Tests & Evaluations

Learn to Measure Educational Progress

Learn to Write SMART IEPs

A.K. v. Alexandria
Cty Sch Bd
(4th Cir 2007)

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Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


Copyright 2007, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

Congratulations on completing your first assignment in Summer School for Parents!

Last week you learned about taking care of yourself, preventing burnout, writing thank-you notes, and how to develop a master plan for your child.

This week, you'll gather information, do research, and build your knowledge base. This week's assignment:

  • Learn about evaluations
  • Learn how to measure educational progress
  • Learn how to write SMART IEPs

Your third assignment will appear in the next issue of  The Special Ed Advocate.

You'll also want to read A.K. v. Alexandria City School Board, a good decision about IEPs, FAPE, placement decisions, and procedural safeguards designed to ensure full participation by the child's parents.

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Learn about Evaluations

As a parent, you negotiate with the school on your child's behalf. To be an effective negotiator, you need to be an expert about your child. You need to know about:

  • Your child's disability, strengths and weaknesses
  • Your child's educational needs
  • Your child's educational progress
You will find this information in the tests and evaluations of your child.

A parent asks, "My child is being evaluated. I don't know what tests to request." Pat Howey answers this parent's questions about tests and evaluations in What Tests Should I Request? The parent was relieved by Pat's response.

Preparing for an Evaluation

A good evaluation for a disability is not as simple as "having your child tested." It requires preparation on your part.

In What to Expect from an Evaluation, Marianne Meyer teaches you to how to find an appropriate professional, prepare for the evaluation, and questions you may need to answer. When you prepare, you'll get invaluable information from the evaluation.

Reading Problems?

Does your child have reading problems? (At least 90% of children with disabilities do.) Reading is the gateway skill to lifelong learning. It's essential that your child's teachers focus on improving reading skills.

Before educators can design an effective reading program for a child, they must understand the exact nature of the child's weaknesses. This is not as easy as it sounds.

In What Reading Tests Measure . . . and Don't Measure, Dr. Melissa Farrall teaches you about the most commonly used tests of reading - what they measure, how they are administered, and their limitations.

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Learn to Measure Your Child's Educational Progress

"Knowing how to measure your child's educational progress is more important than knowing the law." -Pete Wright

Is your child learning and making good progress in the special ed program? Is your child falling further behind the peer group?

To be an effective advocate for your child, you need to learn how to use the bell curve to measure educational progress. You need to learn about percentile ranks and standard scores, composite scores and subtest scatter. What is your Bell Curve IQ?

Download, print and read Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney. (This has been the #1 article since 1998, when the Wrightslaw site began) To ensure that you have the graphics in this article, print the article from the screen. Expect to read this article at least three times. Use a highlighter. Make margin notes. Be patient - stick with it.

TIP:  For an indepth tutorial on how to measure your child's progress, read Chapters 10 & 11 of Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition.

Learn more about evaluations and measuring educational progress.

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Learn to Write SMART IEPs

You need to learn how to write SMART IEPS - IEPs that are specific, measurable, use action words, are realistic and time-limited.

In From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, we revised the chapter about SMART IEPs to walk you through the process of writing SMART IEPs. You use present levels of academic achievement and functional performance to write measurable IEP goals. IEP goals describe what the child will learn and be able to do.

Download Chapter 12 about SMART IEPs (16 pages, pdf). Read and reread Chapter 12 until you understand these concepts. You're likely to be surprised to learn that writing SMART IEP goals is not very difficult.

Learn more about IEPs

Read a book about IEPs

We recommend Writing Measurable IEP Goals & Objectives by Barbara Bateman and Cynthia Herr.  Please visit the Advocate's Bookstore to find good books about IEPs, disabilities, educational methods, legal rights, tests, negotiation skills, and more.

A.K. v. Alexandria City Sch. Bd: FAPE, Placement, Parental Participation

A.K. is a middle school child who has Asperger's Syndrome. A.K.'s parents asserted that their school system did not have an appropriate program or placement for their child, nor did the IEP team propose an appropriate private placement for him.

In a well-written decision, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed with the parents. The Court also discussed requirements for IEPs, FAPE, placement decisions, and procedural safeguards designed to ensure full participation by the child's parents.

Read the decision in A.K. v. Alexandria City Sch. Bd (4th Cir. 2007).

More Special Education Caselaw

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Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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