Topical Guides


1. Changes provisions regarding present levels of educational performance, short-term objectives or benchmarks, and annual goals.
The IEP must include:
  • A statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance; including, for children who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives; and
  • A statement of measurable annual goals, including both academic and functional goals….

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. In your view, what are functional goals?

  2. How might IEP development and implementation change given IDEA’s new focus on academic and functional performance as opposed to previous IDEA language stating only educational achievement?

  3. How might an IEP team achieve balance in the development of both academic and functional goals?

  4. In your view, could an independent assessment be used in reporting a child’s present levels of academic and functional performance?

  5. What message is conveyed in IDEA 2004 by ensuring both measurable academic and functional goals be considered in annual goals on an IEP?

  6. How might this new provision encourage team collaboration during the IEP development and implementation process?

  7. Short-term(STO) objectives have been used to guide instruction, especially instruction that is reinforced and measured by paraprofessionals. What strategies might be important in providing the guidance that STO previously provided?

Application Questions

  1. How might one define and measure academic performance?

  2. How might one define and measure functional performance?

  3. What type of training or professional development might be necessary to assist teachers in understanding the new requirement of including both academic and functional performance in present levels?

  4. How might the elimination of short term objectives change the development and implementation of annual goals?

  5. What type of professional development might be needed to assist teachers in developing accurate and efficient data collection systems to measure annual goals?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Early Childhood Professional & Advocate
    Location: Maryland
    Role: Higher Education
    Location: South Carolina
    Role: Related Services Provider
    Location: New Jersey
    Role: Parent Training & Information Professional
    Location: California
    Role: Parent
    Location: New Mexico