A standards-based IEP (Individualized Education Program) is one where the IEP team considers state content standards as it develops IEP goals. Standards-based IEPs identify the services, supports, and specialized instruction an individual student needs to access and make progress in the general curriculum based on the state grade-level standards.
Standards-based IEPs interpret students’ present levels and specific barriers that may affect their learning in order to provide better access to academic content for students. They also assist in thinking about assessments in which students participate and the access and accommodations needs that an individual student may have. Standards-based IEPs should stimulate conversation between special educators and general educators using the same curricular language.
If a student with an IEP is also an English learner (EL), the IEP should include specific language learning goals for a second language, in addition to special education services and supports. A well-crafted standards-based IEP for ELs with disabilities should contain goals for teaching and learning the complex academic language needed to learn the content standards. Incorporating language learning goals into the IEP requires close collaboration between general education, special education, and English as a Second Language or bilingual education teachers.