Build a Better Individualized Education Program (IEP) using MAP

Build a Better Individualized Education Program (IEP) using MAPWriting an Individualized Education Program (or IEP) can be a daunting task. Yet these documents are crucial for clarifying instructional plans to meet the needs of special education students. Making the content contained in the IEP defensible can be a lot of work and very time consuming without the appropriate supports.  MAP data can assist in IEP development and can support IEP content through its data.  Using the Class Report, the Class Breakdown Report, and the Learning Continuum provides structure and objectivity to the process.  The steps that follow provide a systematic process that you may find useful during IEP development.

1. Gather RIT and Lexile scores from the class report and compare to norms for grade level

This step provides an overall picture of the child’s present performance.  When looking at this data, I can also determine relatively quickly how this data compares to other data that I have.

2. Look at goal strands to identify internal strengths and weaknesses for this student. 

This step allows me to begin to form a picture of the child’s present levels, in specific skill areas, of the academic content areas of reading, language arts, math, and science.

3. Analyze the data within the goal strands to determine patterns.

By thinking about this data in the terms of patterns, I can identify areas that are most problematic for the student.  When I look at this data, I want to ask myself:  Are there strands that are extremely wide in their range?  If so, this could indicate extreme variability in the student’s skills.  Does this student have strands that are significant strengths and weakness or are the strands relatively similar to the overall RIT score for this academic area?  Sometimes, when one area is a significant weakness, the skills within that area may be impacting progress in the other areas.  If this is the case, then this may be an indicator that I can use to significantly impact the student’s overall performance.

4. Look at Class Breakdown Report-identify student’s area of concern (math, reading, science, language) and then generate a Learning Continuum report for the individual student. 

This will give you three RIT bands with learning statements attached to each.  The middle RIT band will have the student’s name and overall RIT score for this content area (In reading, there will also be a Lexile score).  Within the lowest of the three RIT bands are the skills that the student needs to have reinforced.  In other words, these are skills that the student can work on independently.  In the middle RIT band, the student’s name appears letting us know that this is the set of skills that the student needs to develop, thus, they need teacher support and guidance in order to master these learning statements.  Finally, in the highest RIT band, there is a list of learning statements that may be introduced to the student.  Statements contained in this set of skills may need additional scaffolding in order for the student to gain access to their content.  In terms of the IEP development, these are skills that may require accommodations.

5. View Learning Continuum to compare the individual learning statements and identify the target statements that are contributing to area of concern.

Because academic standards contain a spiral within them, some learning statements cross multiple RIT bands.  When we see this pattern, it is telling us that the skill area is a multi-layered skill that is taught over time.  We can use this pattern as a foundation for applying new knowledge.  In other words, we can take the foundational background knowledge of the skill, and scaffold new content onto the existing understanding.  This allows the student to integrate the knowledge as a whole.

6. Analyze the learning statements for patterns of concern.

We can use the learning statements that are not repeated across RIT bands to help us determine the individual skills that the student needs to learn in order to improve knowledge of the foundational content.  When viewing these skills, it is important to look for patterns that could be causing the student difficulty, as these patterns can indicate a specific IEP goal that can be addressed to close the content gap to ensure growth.

7. Summarize the patterns of concerns as the targeted weaknesses for the IEP within the present levels of performance.

Using the data (numbers) and the learning statements that are contained in the student’s individual Learning Continuum report, summarize the patterns of concerns within the present levels of performance.  This procedures provides direct support for justifying the construction of goals, objectives, and accommodations that the student needs in order to successfully progress through the academic content.

8. Summarize concepts into 2-3 goals/objectives that can be targeted for the IEP.

While many goals and objectives could be devised from the content contained within the Learning Continuum report, it is important to remember that students work on many concepts that are not part of the IEP goals, therefore goals can be representative of the overall progress that is being made.  Goals written in the SMART format are more easily monitored and assessed for growth.

9. Analyze the Learning Continuum strands for areas of internal strength and summarize the strengths for the IEP present levels of performance.

The procedure for analyzing areas of internal strength are much the same as when identifying the areas of internal weaknesses.  Follow the steps outlined above to identify the internal strengths and document these within the present levels of performance.  Patterns within the areas of strength can provide input into ways to develop a growth mindset for students that struggle.  They may also help to determine possible rewards for behavior plans.

10. Identify concepts from the Learning Continuum statements that the student may encounter that are outside the ZPD. 

Analyze these concepts for patterns that can be accommodated. Utilize these patterns to develop the accommodations segment of the IEP.

Do you have a different thought process that you use when analyzing MAP data for the purpose of IEP development?  I would love to hear your ideas.


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