I’ll be honest. I am an IEP snob. I’m not saying all of my IEPs are perfect. Far from it, honestly. I’m also not saying that every IEP I have ever written has been top notch. Not at all. I’v learned a lot through the years and have worked to correct my errors.

BUT…there are a few things that just drive me crazy when I see them in IEPs. Some of my biggest pet peeves are in the present level of performance and progress monitoring areas of IEPs.


Ya’ll, grades aren’t present levels of performance. They just aren’t. What if my teacher is the hardest grader I’ve ever had? What my teacher is the EASIEST grader I’ve ever had? What if grades are based on participation, and I never say a word? What if homework is a huge factor in a teacher’s grading, and I never turn in my homework–better yet, maybe my mom does my homework for me? Grades are subjective. I’m not saying they can’t be mentioned in an IEP. I’m not saying there is never a way or a reason to use them to progress monitor a student, but they don’t tell me what a student CAN do. 

Standardized Testing Scores

First off, who cares? Thanks for letting me know a student did or didn’t pass a standardized test. Unless you are breaking down scores to tell me what their areas of strengths or weaknesses are, that information isn’t useful. It doesn’t occur frequently enough for me to progress monitoring, and I have no idea how they performed on individual questions. 

School Wide Assessment Scores

At my school, we take NWEA and use the programs iReady and Lexia. At my previous school, we did STAR Reading and Math. While those scores are fine to include, they still aren’t the most useful when setting goals. Instead, look closely at the data and find patterns, strengths, and weaknesses.

So…what IS a Present Level of Performance?

Well, this picky-pants-SPED-teacher likes to read a present level of performance and know exactly what group to place a student in. I should be able to read a present level and know what types of words can they read? CVC? Blends? Multisyllabic? Do they read fluently? Can they answer comprehension questions? What type of math can they do? Basic math facts? Regrouping? Multiplication? What does their writing look like? Do they need graphic organizers to get started? Do they need help with spelling? 
Present levels of performance are are critical to guiding a well written goal. They should read like a narrative. It should tell me exactly what a student CAN do with numbers and data supporting it.

How to Assess Present Level of Performance

If assessing your students sounds overwhelming, I understand! I have a blog post just for you. You can read it by click the image above.

I have a course for writing IEP goals. If this sounds like something you might need, click the picture above to take a look at my inexpensive, quick course for crafting IEP goals that are tailored for your students.