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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Definition of individualized education program (IEP)

Section 300.320(a)(2)(i) requires that each IEP include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, for the child. The previous regulations required that each IEP contain benchmarks or short-term objectives for each of the annual goals. By eliminating the need to develop benchmarks or short-term objectives, the final regulations could result in teachers spending less time on each IEP. Under Sec. 300.320(a)(2)(ii), however, IEPs for the estimated 486,000 children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards would still be required to include a statement of benchmarks or short-term objectives.

Based on average compensation for teachers of $48 per hour, a reduction in time as modest as 15 minutes could save approximately $12 per IEP or $77.5 million total in opportunity costs for teachers related to the development of IEPs during the 2006-2007 school year for the 6.461 million children with disabilities who do not take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards.