OSEP wrote to T.E.A.’s Gene Lenz on February 7, 2014 about the duty of school districts to report on the progress of students with regard to their “benchmarks or short-term objectives.” Most student’s IEPs do not have to include “benchmarks or short-term objectives"—they only need a measurable annual goal. An IEP must include “benchmarks or short-term objectives” only if the student is scheduled to take an “alternate assessment aligned to alternate achievement standards.” Our special education law (IDEA) requires schools to keep parents informed of student progress. So Mr. Lenz asked if it was necessary to report on the progress on the short-term objectives, or if reports tied to the annual goal were sufficient.
OSEP responded by quoting the statute, which makes it clear that the duty to report progress is tied into the annual goal, not any shorter term benchmark or objective. The letter notes that “there is no specific IDEA requirement for reporting to parents on every child’s progress in meeting these benchmarks or short-term objectives.”
This is the kind of tiny detail that may cause many an eye to glaze over, but it does come up in parent complaints. So Mr. Lenz has done Texas educators a service by seeking clarification of this fine point. The OSEP letter can be found at SpecialEdConnection, 64 IDELR 283.
DAWG BONE: YOU CAN REPORT ON PROGRESS AS OFTEN AS YOU WANT, BUT THE LAW TIES PROGRESS REPORTS TO THE ANNUAL GOAL.