News

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAMS (IEPS), EVALUATIONS, AND REEVALUATIONS

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has issued a revised Q&A document to provide States, State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the IDEA requirements relating to individualized education programs (IEPs), evaluations, and reevaluations. Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) (revised June 2010) is available online at http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/iep-qa-2010.pdf

Ewa Asterita took the liberty of pulling out those pieces relating to transition and including them below. She highlighted the specific sentences that you may find most insightful.

 Secondary Transition


 
Regulations for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006, and became effective on Oct. 13, 2006. In addition, supplemental Part B regulations were published on Dec. 1, 2008, and became effective on Dec. 31, 2008. Since publication of the regulations, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education (Department) has received requests for clarification of some of these regulations. This is one of a series of question and answer (Q&A) documents prepared by OSERS to address some of the most important issues raised by requests for clarification on a variety of high-interest topics. Each Q&A document will be updated to add new questions and answers as important issues arise, or to amend existing questions and answers as needed.
OSERS issues this Q&A document to provide States, State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the IDEA requirements relating to individualized education programs (IEPs), evaluations, and reevaluations. This Q&A document represents the Department’s current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person. This guidance does not impose any requirements beyond those required under applicable law and regulations. This Q&A document supersedes the Department’s guidance, entitled: Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Evaluations and Reevaluations, January, 2007.


F. SECONDARY TRANSITION

Authority: The requirements for the content of the IEP related to transition services are found in 34 CFR §300.320(b).

Question F-1: Must an IEP include measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate transition assessments for every 16-year-old student with a disability regardless of the student’s skill levels relating to education, employment, and training?

Answer: Yes. Under 34 CFR §300.320(b), the IEP for each child with a disability, must, beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually thereafter, include (1) appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and (2) the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. This requirement applies, whether or not the child’s skill levels related to training, education, and employment are age appropriate. In all cases, the IEP Team must develop the specific postsecondary goals for the child, in light of the unique needs of the child as determined by age-appropriate transition assessments of the child's skills in these areas.

Question F-2: May community access skills be included in the IEP as independent living skills?

Answer: The IEP Team must determine whether it is necessary to include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals related to independent living skills in the IEP for a particular child, and, if so, what transition services are needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. Under 34 CFR §300.43, the term "transition services" is defined as "a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability…to facilitate movement from school to post-school activities," and include among other activities, "independent living, or community participation." Based on the assessment of the student's independent living skills, the IEP Team would need to determine whether transition services provided as community access skills are necessary for the child to receive FAPE. If so, those skills must be reflected in the transition services in the child's IEP.

Question F-3: If an IEP Team chooses to address transition before age 16 (for example, at age 14), do the same requirements apply?

Answer: Yes. The regulations provide, in 34 CFR §300.320(b), that beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include (1) appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and (2) the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. If the IEP Team for a particular child with a disability determines that it is appropriate to address the requirements of 34 CFR §300.320(b) for a child who is younger than age 16, then the IEP for that child must meet the requirements of 34 CFR §300.320(b) [above].

Question F-4: The regulations in 34 CFR §300.320(b)(1) require that appropriate postsecondary transition goals be measurable. Must public agencies measure achievement of the goals once a student has graduated or has aged out?

Answer: There is no requirement for public agencies to determine whether the postsecondary goals have been met once a child is no longer eligible for FAPE under Part B of the IDEA. Under 34 CFR §300.101(a), FAPE must be made available to all children residing in the State in mandatory age ranges. However, the obligation to make FAPE available does not apply to children who have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma (34 CFR §300.102(a)(3)(i)) or to children who have exceeded the mandatory age range for provision of FAPE under State law (34 CFR §300.102(a)(1)). When a child's eligibility for FAPE pursuant to Part B of the IDEA terminates under these circumstances, in accordance with 34 CFR §300.305(e)(3), the LEA must provide a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, including recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals. However, nothing in the IDEA requires the LEA to measure the child’s progress on these postsecondary transition goals, or provide any special education services to the child after the child has graduated from a regular high school or exceeded the mandatory age range for FAPE.

D. CONSENT PROVISIONS

Question D-1: Must a public agency obtain parental consent, or the consent of a child with a disability who has reached the age of majority, to invite a representative of a participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services to an IEP Team meeting conducted in accordance with 34 CFR §300.321(b)(3)? Do the words “to the extent appropriate” impose a limitation on this requirement?

Answer: The regulations specifically provide that, to the extent appropriate, with the consent of the parents or a child who has reached the age of majority, in implementing the requirements of §300.321(b)(1), the public agency must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services (34 CFR §300.321(b)(3)). See also 34 CFR §300.622(b)(2) (requiring consent of the parent or child who has reached the age of majority for disclosure of personally identifiable information to officials of an agency responsible for providing or paying for transition services). Paragraph (b)(1) of 34 CFR §300.321 requires that a child with a disability be invited to an IEP Team meeting if a purpose of a meeting will be the consideration of postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals under 34 CFR §300.320(b).
This consent requirement was included in the Part B regulations to protect the confidentiality of discussions that occur at IEP Team meetings, which other agency representatives would be able to hear as a result of their attendance at such meetings, only because they may be providing or paying for transition services. 71 FR 46672. Because the discussions at each IEP Team meeting are not the same, and confidential information about the child is always shared, we believe that consent of the parent, or of a child with a disability who has reached the age of majority, must be obtained prior to each IEP Team meeting if a public agency proposes to invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. The words “to the extent appropriate” were included in §300.321(b)(3) to allow the public agency to determine that such a representative is not needed at a particular meeting. This phrase does not represent a limitation on the responsibility of the public agency to obtain the consent of the parents or the child with a disability who has reached the age of majority to invite such a representative.