opportunity to make progress—despite the
student’s disabilities or limitations.
Since the SEP lays out the unique requirements of the child’s proposed educational
journey for each school year in advance,
the teacher/parent has expectations that
are more realistic and can adapt instruction accordingly. The SEP helps parents to
improve their organization of lessons and
helps them to sequence the introduction of
new learning tasks.
An SEP works as ongoing assessment
where the parent monitors the student’s
achievement during the year, since the
parent records a child’s progress or lack of
progress on the form. It specifies what the
teacher expects of the student and the conditions under which the parent will evaluate the student, and it establishes criteria
the student must meet to demonstrate mastery of a skill or task. Such documentation
eliminates guesswork about whether or not
the child has made progress—just as a road
sign helps you keep track of a journey. By
reviewing data on the SEP, the parent can
make accurate decisions about whether the
student is making progress, needs additional instruction, or needs the parent to tweak
some component of instruction.
The SEP serves as an important record-
keeping tool. It contains evidence of the
student’s performance that a parent may
submit to local public school administra-
tors (if required by an individual state).
If a child has not attained the hoped for
progress, an SEP provides evidence to a
local educational agency that the parent is
both mindful of the child’s weaknesses and
has been working to address those needs
through systematic instruction and/or
the provision of additional helps or thera-
pies. Thus, an SEP ensures that the school
cannot find a parent negligent in cases
where the child has made little progress.
Finally, the SEP can be useful for the
student as he prepares to advance to post-secondary education or to begin a career.
At such transition times, he may have to
take standardized tests (e.g., the PSAT and
SAT) or qualification tests to drive or attain
a position. If that student has consistently
received modifications or accommodations
during instruction in one or more areas
over an extended period, the SEP documents his need of specific accommodations
in the future to achieve success. With this
documentation, a post-secondary institution official can verify the young adult’s
continuing need for similar accommodations in his post-secondary testing, education, or job situation. (Please note: A
post-secondary institution may require additional validation of the need for accommodations from medical professionals or
therapists, such as Occupational Therapists
or Physical Therapists).
What Goes Into a Student
A Student Education Plan always begins
with details of the personal data about the
A Student Education
Plan serves to provide
an objective means of
documenting the unique
needs of a special needs
student and the plans to
address those needs.