What is it about?

When students in U.S. public schools need special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is written. This document guides their educational services and contains detailed data on the student’s strengths and needs, services, goals, and supports provided. By using the data in an IEP, individuals and groups can find patterns and trends for the individual student or groups of students to identify issues and improve services. IEP information may be used to examine service equity looking at groups by grade, race, or disability area. Over- and under-identification may be identified by looking at patterns in the decision for eligibility or who qualifies for services. When IEPs mention specific areas of need (e.g., apraxia, dyslexia, autism) or there is an increase in a specific disability category, leaders can identify professional development targets for educator training. By connecting IEP data to student outcomes, researchers can identify promising practices that result in increased student success. IEPs are an amazing source of real-time data that can be harnessed to improve services in public schools and improve public policy. Suggestions for use of IEP data for individual, school, and state level initiatives and examples are provided.

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Why is it important?

SLPs and school leaders may use IEP data to identify trends or patterns in identification for services, goals, and service time. Professional learning topics and policy needs can also be identified from IEP data. SLP caseloads may be impacted when this information is not considered.

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This page is a summary of: Go Beyond Compliance: Use Individualized Education Programs to Answer Strategic Questions and Improve Programs, Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, November 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2023_lshss-23-00084.
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