Special Education: Individual Education Program

Individual Education Programs (IEP) 

The services and placement of students with disabilities who need special education, are developed through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is the responsibility of local public school divisions. Special education is specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Specially designed instruction means adapting, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the student that result from the child's disability; and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards that apply to all children. The IEP content addresses:

  • Present level of academic achievement and functional performance
  • Measurable annual goals
  • Benchmarks or short-term objectives
  • Special education, related services, supplementary aids and services
  • Participation with children without disabilities
  • Participation in state and division-wide assessments
  • Duration, frequency, and location of services
  • Progress report schedule
  • Initial transition
  • Secondary transition

Standards-Based IEP

Standards-Based IEP – Traditionally, IEPs have focused on a student acquiring basic academic, access and/or functional skills and have had little relationship to a specific academic area or grade-level expectations. In contrast, the process used to develop a Standards-Based IEP is directly tied to the state’s content standards. Both the student’s present level of performance and some of the annual IEP goals are aligned with and based on the state’s grade-level standards which creates a program that is aimed at getting the student to a proficient level on the state standards. The change to using standards-based IEPs has been supported by the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that emphasizes access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities; and the federal assessment regulations issued in 2007 under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that permit states to implement an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS).
More about Standards-Based IEP.

Virginia IEP

In response to requests from special education professionals across the commonwealth, VDOE is pursuing the development of a statewide online IEP system.   


Outside Resources

Federal Agencies

State Agencies

Please review the following forms used before and during the IEP meeting.