Academic Standards High for IEP Students

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iep_smThis past week, common core state standards plan for US K-12 students in the areas of English and math was released. The new standards were written by teachers, experts and administrators in the field of education to help prepare students for college and the work force. The standards outline specific skills students should master in English and math at each grade level. For example, under the guidelines in English a second grader would be able to read a body of text and answer specific questions (who, what, where, when, why) about the passage. In math, a fourth grader would be able to understand decimal notation for fractions and compare decimal fractions.

According to a supplemental document that accompanied the academic standards plan, special education students should be held to these same academic standards stating, “Students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – must be challenged to excel within the general curriculum and be prepared for success in their post-school lives, including college and/or careers.” This document goes on to report that students with special needs will most likely need accommodations and supports listed in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to achieve these standards.

The new academic standards being applied to IEP students have caused some controversy among educators in the US. Some applaud the standards being applied to IEP students, giving them the same opportunity as their peers. Others are concerned about the sector of students with significant cognitive disabilities that sometimes take years to learn a skill being held to the same academic standards as a neuro-typical developing child.

The Department of Education is offering incentives to states that adopt these new standards. It is unclear at this time which states will incorporate these common core state standards into their curriculum.

Sources:

Disability Scoop, “National Academic Standards Call For Higher Bar In Special Education”, June 4, 2010

Common Core State Standards Report June 2, 2010

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