Creating a Standards-Based IEP

Aligning IEPs to the Common
Core State Standards for
Students with Moderate and
Severe Disabilities
Ginevra Courtade, Ph.D.
University of Louisville
What should be included in the
(a) a statement of the present level of performance in both academic
achievement and functional performance,
(b) a statement of measurable annual goals (both academic and
(c) a description of benchmarks or short term objectives,
(d) a description of how student progress towards the goals will be
(e) a statement regarding related services and supplementary aids and
services (based on peer reviewed research) to be provided,
(f) an explanation of the extent to which student will not participate in
the general education classroom,
(g) a statement of any accommodations needed to measure academic
and functional achievement of the student,
(h) frequency, location, and duration of services, and
(i) postsecondary goals beginning when the student is 16 years old.
According to IDEA 2004
What do you need in order to
develop an effective IEP?
• Knowledge of federal and state regulations
• Guidelines for developing a standards-based IEP
• A process for assessing and planning
Aligning IEPs to the Common
Core State Standards for
Students with Disabilities
Have you started incorporating
CCSS into IEPs?
Underlying Assumptions in IEP
Development Have Not Changed
• All students will receive instruction on state standards with
opportunities for instruction in general education
• The student will receive instruction and supports to achieve
academic and functional goals
• The student’s unique needs will be considered
• An IEP developed through planning based on the student’s
grade level standards (or grade level alternate achievement
• Strengths and needs based on standards
• Planning process should identify ways to close the gap
between current performance and grade-level expectations
Modified from
What is a Standards-Based
Why Create a Standards-Based IEP for
Students with Severe Disabilities?
• Equity and accountability
• IDEA 1997, 2004
• Involvement and progress in the general curriculum
• Measureable goals that enable students to make progress in that
• Required outcome of achievement in reading, math, and science
What it is
What it is NOT
• An IEP that incorporates
grade level appropriate
academic goals based on
state standards or
alternate achievement
• An IEP that is focused
solely on academic
• A generic IEP that does
not meet the individual
needs of the student
Always consider long range goals:
The criterion of ultimate functioning
Brown et al., 1976
A Standards-Based IEP
How do we get there?
Begin with alignment
• The process of matching two educational components which
strengthens the purpose and goals of both
• Why is alignment important?
• IEPs aligned with state standards can prepare students for state
• For students to show progress in academic content, they need
academic instruction
• Well aligned IEPs can promote meaningful academic instruction.
Further Understanding
Alignment Example
Guidelines for developing an IEP that
includes goals that align to state
Guideline 1
• Become familiar with state standards
• Common Core State Standards-English
Language Arts
• Common Core State Standards-Mathematics
• ILS Common Core Resources
Additional National Standards
• National Science Education Standards
• National Curriculum Standards for Social
Guideline 2
• Become Familiar your State’s Approach to
Extending Standards for AA-AAS
• Illinois Alternate Assessment Frameworks
IAA Reading Frameworks
Priorities-Grade 4 example
Guideline 3
• Keep the planning student focused
• Begin with an overview of recent progress
and strengths.
• The student might lead the meeting
• Members of the team who have conducted
recent assessments can present their
• The student’s preferences and individual
goals can be a starting point for planning.
Guideline 4
• Consider both specific academic goals and
broad access goals
• The IEP creates access to the curriculum, but
is not a curriculum itself
Standardsbased IEP
Personally Relevant
(Functional) Skills
Consider the circle diagram…
• In an IEP for a student with severe disabilities
• Is academic content enough?
• Not all of your objectives will align with state standards…DO
NOT “force fit” them
• What else is needed to support the student?
• OT, PT, self-determination skills, etc.
• Overall focus should be individualized skills that consider the
criterion of ultimate functioning
• Personally relevant skills
Guideline 5
• Ask the question: Is it really academic?
• Sometimes in extending the state
standard, the essence of the academic
component is lost.
• General educators can be especially
helpful as resource people in making
sure that the final goals have clear links
to academic content.
Is it really English Language Arts?
Camilla is a 12 year old 7th grader with severe disabilities.
• Camilla will use her AAC device to greet peers in English class.
• Camilla will acquire 20 sight words that relate to activities in her
community and home.
• Camilla will select two major themes using pictures with phrases
after hearing a text summary read aloud; she will categorize 2-3
events in each chapter of the text during read alouds using
additional pictures related to the story and will summarize by
presenting a chart of these categories.
• Camilla will identify initial consonant and vowel sounds and use
this skill in writing words with software that anticipates the
spelling from the first letters.
Guideline 6
• Do not force fit all IEP objectives into
alignment with academic standards
• What else should be part of the IEP?
Writing Measurable IEP
Developing IEP objectives
• What are the general goals for the
• What is the student’s present level of
• How does the student get from the
present level of performance to the goal?
• Short term objectives
Present Level of
Camilla uses her AAC device to ask for basic needs and
greets her friends using pictures. She will also point to
pictures of familiar objects or people. She does not
yet use pictures to represent a concept.
Objective 1
Given 30 new pictures and symbols presented on the
computer selected from the content areas, Camilla will
select the picture or symbol named.
Objective 2
Given a three choice array of pictures that relate to the
lesson and asked show me ___ (e.g., "tornado"),
Camilla will select the picture that shows the concept
for 10 new concepts each quarter.
Objective 3
When asked, “What was the lesson about today?”
Camilla will select a picture from a three choice array.
Annual Goal
Given a variety of academic topics, Camilla will select
pictures to represent major concepts described in
Writing Measureable
• What is a measureable objective?
• One that when written, the entire IEP team or anyone else
working with the student, can agree that the criteria has been
• Should include:
• Condition-The circumstances under which the behavior will occur
• Behavior-the skill, action, or performance that it is being monitored,
directly observed, and measured
• Criteria-how much, how often, or to what standard the behavior
must occur in order to demonstrate that the objective has been
Non-measurable objective
Measurable objective
Joyce will improve her comprehension
After participating in a read aloud of
grade appropriate text, Joyce will
identify four elements of the narrative
(character, setting, event, problem).
(Improve how?)
Nick will increase his graphing skills
Your turn! Write a measurable goal for
(Increase to what?)
Barry will identify the science concept
(What concept should he identify?)
Your turn! Write a measurable goal for
Writing Goals/Objectives for Active
• Consider how the student can be an active learner
• Active participation occurs when the student
acquires independent responses that demonstrate
• Example- Student with a physical disability chooses
the main idea from a chapter within a chapter book
• Passive approach-help the student choose the
main idea with hand over hand assistance
• Active approach-have the student eye gaze to
which main idea best fit the chapter read
Passive Responses
Active Responses
• Brittany will circle the correct
answer with physical guidance
to answer comprehension
• Brittany will use a laser head
pointer to select between 3
pictures projected on a
screen to answer
comprehension questions
• Kevin will listen to a story the
teacher is reading.
• Your turn! Change the
passive response for Kevin
into an active response
• Do the same for Kirsten
• Kristen will accompany her
peer to buy lunch.
Writing Standards-based Goals/
Promote Broad Skills in Literacy
• Common Core State
Standards in English
Language Arts
Speaking and listening
There also are literacy
standards for
history/social studies,
science, and
• National Reading
Panel components
Phonemic awareness
Text comprehension
Promote Broad Skills in Mathematics
• Common Core State Standards
in Math K-8
• Counting & Cardinality (K)
• Operations and Algebraic Thinking
• Numbers and Operations in Base Ten
• Numbers and Operations-Fractions
• Measurement & Data (K-5)
• Geometry (K-8)
• Ratios & Proportional Relationships
• Ratios & Proportional Relationships
• Expressions & Equations (6-8)
• Statistics & Probability (6-8)
• Functions (Grade 8)
• Common Core State
Standards in Math High
Numbers and Quantity
Statistics & Probability
Present Level of Performance
• Describe what
students can do in
each content area
• Consider using level
of symbol use to
describe current
• In math Jerry can put
one object with an
object to show 1:1
correspondence. He
does not yet use or
recognize numbers or
count. He can imitate
a model to create
sets to show the
solution to a
Definitions of Symbolic Levels
• Awareness: Has no clear response
• Pre-symbolic (Beginning with Symbols):
Communicates with gestures, eye gaze,
purposeful moving to object, sounds
• Early Symbolic (concrete): Beginning to use
pictures or other symbols to communicate
within a limited vocabulary
• Symbolic (abstract): Speaks or has vocabulary of
signs, pictures to communicate. Recognizes
some sight words, numbers, etc.
Concerns About Symbolic Levels
• Can not be used to infer cognitive level
• Students may acquire symbols and show much higher functioning
than realized
• Objects can be highly complex (e.g., models)
• All students should have opportunity to receive and respond
with text
• Students can become symbolic through training in use of AAC
Aligning Grade Level Standards: Incorporating
Present Level of Performance-ELA
Strand: Category of
Reading: Literature
Integration of Knowledge and
Grade level standard
Objectives based on
present level of
4th Grade
Beginning Symbolic
Compare and contrast the
treatment of similar themes and
topics (e.g., opposition of good
and evil) and patterns of events
(e.g., the quest) in stories, myths,
and traditional literature from
different cultures.
Leslie will select an
object/picture to represent a
story’s theme for 4 of 5
Early Symbolic
Adam will use pictures to identify
themes in literature that has been
read to him and sort the different
stories by corresponding themes
for 4 of 5 opportunities.
Thomas will use a Venn diagram
to compare and contrast the
themes of literature he has
previously read with 90% of
responses correct for at least 3
Aligning Grade Level Standards: Incorporating
Present Level of Performance-Math
Grade level standard
Objectives based on
present level of
7th Grade
Beginning Symbolic
7.7a. Give examples of linear
equations in one variable with
Analyze and solve linear
one solution, infinitely many
equations and pairs of
solutions, or no solutions. Show
simultaneous linear equations
which of these possibilities is
the case by successively
transforming the given equation
into simpler forms, until an
equivalent equation of the form
x = a, a = a, or a = b results
(where a and b are different
Expressions & Equations:
Leslie will use the equal and not
equal signs on her AAC device to
indicate “same” or “not same”
for 4/5 equations augmented
with objects (e.g., ***=3).
Early Symbolic
Hannah will use a pictorial
number line to solve linear
equations with sums under 10
for 4/5 equations.
Thomas will write the linear
equation for 3 of 4 known
money facts (e.g., x quarters =
$1.00 or x (25) = 100).
Apply Longstanding Values/
• Self Determination-making choices and decisions
regarding one's quality of life free from undue
external influence
• Use general curriculum activities as context for learning selfdetermination skills that contribute to increased autonomy for
• Skills can promote learning of the general curriculum, while at
the same time foster the acquisition of skills with lifelong benefits
Incorporating SD in Academic
• Examples
• David will count tasks to determine how many jobs he completed.
• Sam will use a picture/word journal to rate characteristics of
potential jobs based on likes/dislikes
• Which components of SD are embedded?
Your turn!
• Write two standards-based objectives that embed a selfdetermination skill.
• Given numbers 1-10, Alex will correctly count items to represent
each number.
• Stephanie will select pictures to identify 2/3 of a story’s main
Apply Longstanding Values/
• Assistive Technology
• Should enable the student to engage in the task more
• Examples
• Photos, picture symbols, pencil grips, stamps, switches, software,
touch screens
AT Examples
• Original Objective
• John will read 5 three
word phrases that use
known words.
• David will watch as a
peer counts
manipulatives in sets of
1 to 10 items.
• With AT
• John will read 10
complete sentences
composed with a picture
support program using
picture cues to identify
at least one novel word
per sentence.
• David will use a math
software program with
virtual manipulatives and
a head switch to choose
the correct number of
manipulatives that have
been counted for sets 110.
Your turn!
Original Objective
• Chuck will choose 5 pictures
to put in a journal and
dictate a description of the
• Randy will partially
participate in a science
With AT
Apply Longstanding Values/
• Personal relevance/ functionality
• Using a real life activity to help make the standard meaningful
Creates a picture symbol homework list (writing)
Locates a room by its number (math)
Uses a keypad in the cafeteria (math)
Locates the sports page using newspaper index (reading)
Follows a picture schedule (reading)
Examples of
Real Life Applications of Geometry Skills
Forming shapes
while playing games
in P.E. (e.g., Let’s
make a circle; boys
a line).
Identify shape signs
(e.g., stop at red
circle sign).
Geometric shapes
Age: 7
Play video games
that use shapes.
Shape cues for
chores at school
(e.g., rectangle for
toys in toy box; circle
for help to set the
round table for
and Area
Age: 12
(Middle School)
Make a “where I
live” chart showing
area of rooms.
Use laser measure to Indicate perimeter
determine perimeter of playing field to
of objects.
show concept of
“out of bounds.”
Identify what foods
are located in
perimeter of grocery
Your turn!
• Identify simple machines
and explain how they
help us (Note: inclined
planes, ramps, wheels,
pulleys, screws, levers,
• Collect, organize and
display data to solve
problems (goal is to use
graphs and data – bar
graphs, tallies,
pictographs, Venn
diagrams, circle graphs,
line plots, tables).
Identify the mode of a
set of data (most often
Practicing Alignment to State
Aligning Language Arts
• Lisa’s Scenario
• Lisa is a 3rd grade student with Rhett’s syndrome. She is nonverbal
and currently uses objects to communicate. She shows an
interest in books read to her by peers. She will also sometimes
look at pictures in a magazine. Lisa is ambulatory, but has limited
use of her hands. She enjoys social contexts and will sometimes
make her meaning known by eye gazing or laughing.
Begin by considering the
Strand of ELA
• See Lisa’s ELA Handout
• Team targets one standard for each component of 3rd grade ELA
• Defines priority skills
• Based on Lisa’s needs (challenges accessing the general curriculum:
few foundational skills, limited hand dexterity), p. 83
Promote Self Determination
1. Lisa will choose books to be read aloud during individual
reading times.
2. Lisa will independently engage with books using technology
for read alouds.
3. Lisa will initiate use of picture communication for requests.
Use Assistive Technology
1. Lisa will use a voice output device with picture symbols to
communicate requests.
2a. Given two pictures presented on a VOD or computer touch
screen Lisa will answer "what" and "who" comprehension
2b. Given two pictures presented on a VOD or computer touch
screen Lisa will select one to fill in a sentence.
3. Lisa will use a touch screen computer to print a sentence she
composed or activate a recorded book.
Embed in Real Life Activities
• Lisa can use pictures for requesting during lunch and break
times as well as during class times.
• During times when the class chooses literature for
independent reading, Lisa can have options that relate to her
special interests which are horses and swimming as well as
other stories from the 3rd grade reading list. The teacher may
begin with some literature on these topics to teach her how to
answer comprehension questions.
• Lisa can be taught to generalize her "who" and "what"
answers and sentence writing to compose daily reports to
share with her family about her day.
• Lisa can also generalize her emerging literacy skills to social
stories the teacher will use to help her learn skills needed for
the school environment like how to eat in the cafeteria.
Lisa’s IEP Objectives in ELA
1. Lisa will select a research topic using a picture request and
copy/paste at least 5 pictures from the internet to create a
report about the topic. (Writing Standard 3.7)
*see handout for additional examples
Aligning Math Objectives
• Jerome’s Scenario
• Jerome is a student with Down syndrome and a moderate
intellectual disability. He has mastered about 50 sight words and
is learning to apply them in activities of daily living. Jerome also
has learned to recognize initial and final consonants and short
vowels can decode many simple words. With his sight words and
decoding skills, he can often help the teacher read short
passages of text that have been prepared with controlled
vocabulary. He communicates using a picture wallet and single
spoken words to make requests, answer questions, and socialize.
In math, he rote counts from 1-10, but cannot count objects
consistently or recognize numbers consistently. Jerome does
understand the purpose of money and likes to make purchases,
but needs help counting out the correct number of dollars.
Jerome is 11 years old and in 6th grade.
Begin By Considering the
Standards in Math
• See Jerome’s Mathematics Handout
• IEP team targets at one or two priority standards in each of these
areas based on the recommendation of the math teacher
• Develops priority skills
• Based on Jerome’s needs (few numeracy skills-inconsistent
number identification, no computation), p. 91
Promote Self Determination
1. When presenting a math story, Jerome could choose the
numbers to use in that days story. He could also choose which
manipulatives to put into sets.
2. As Jerome masters using a graphic organizer, he can more
easily self-direct his learning. He can learn to say, then do, the
steps to solve the problem.
3. Jerome might set a goal for how many math problems to try
that day. He could count and graph the number completed.
This self-monitoring and self-evaluation also promotes his
emerging numeracy skills.
Use Assistive Technology
1. The calculator is an important form of assistive technology for
Jerome. Once he learns to enter numbers on the calculator, he
will be able to perform more of the problems from the 6th
grade text. Once he can find the numbers 1-9, the operation
symbols, and equal, he will be able to compute problems.
2. Many of the skills Jerome needs to acquire can be practiced
on the computer. For example, he could move items on a
touch screen to create sets or perform computation on an on
screen calculator.
3. The graphic organizers Jerome will learn to use are also a form
of assistive technology. For example, he will have a graphic
organizer to help him write fractions as ___ (how many are in
part of the set)/___how many are in the whole.
Embed in Real Life Activities
1. Jerome can divide materials for projects into sets for the class
or his small group and use this experience to practice
matching numbers to sets and creating fractions and ratios.
2. By having a class store or token economy, Jerome can apply
his general knowledge of money and interest in purchasing to
practice counting accurately and learning the concept of debt
(negative numbers) and zero (no money).
3. Identifying points on a plane can become very meaningful
when applied to planning a route through a neighborhood or
IEP Objectives for Jerome In
1. When given a cluster of up to 20 objects,
Jerome will divide them into 1-5 sets and
identify the number that represents each set
for 8/10 trials. He will subdivide these sets to
show division of fractions and ratios and
represent this second number using a graphic
organizer for 8/10 trials. (Mathematics: Rations
and Proportional Relationships, Standard 6.1;
Number System, Standard 6.1)
* see handout for additional objectives
Carina Example
• Carina is a 5th grade students with severe, multiple disabilities.
She uses a wheelchair and has limited movement in her left
arm. She can move her head from side to side. Carina uses a
head switch to greet teachers and peers. She smiles when
listening to stories that are read to her by an adult. Carina
does not recognize any math symbols and does not respond to
teacher count downs.
• Develop IEP goals and strategies to align
Work for one of your students
Are we done yet?
• Your IEP is not complete…
• Also include daily living skills, social skills, therapy goals, etc.
based on individual needs and preferences
Contact Information
Ginevra Courtade
• [email protected]
• Courtade, G., & Browder, D. (2011). Aligning IEPs to the
Common Core State Standards for students with moderate and
severe disabilities. Verona, WI: Attainment Company.

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