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Individual Education Program (IEP) Through-Lines

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Oregon Revised Statutes, and Oregon Administrative Rules, each eligible student must have an Individual Education Program (IEP) created not less than annually to plan for the provision of the Free Appropriate Public Education to which they are entitled.  That IEP is a working document that is created by an appropriate team of people and addresses a number of areas. In addition to ensuring that all relevant federal, state, and local regulations are followed in the creation of an IEP, members of the IEP team should consider the following when developing a plan for a student:

Present Levels

  • What does the student currently know? What can they understand? What are they currently able to do?
  • What is the expected level of performance for a student of this age/grade and how does this student compare to that level?
  • How well has this student mastered the expected standards?
  • What multiple and varied data sources document this level of performance?
  • How can we document this in a way that the entire team, including the parent, can understand?


  • Based on the Present Levels, what does the team want the student to know, understand, and be able to do in one year's time?
  • Goals must be realistic, appropriately ambitious, and aligned to the general content area standards (CCSS). The team should consider both remediation of skills that the student is currently lacking and the acquisition of strategies that will allow the student to access grade level content given their current skill level.
  • Note that, while aligned, goals are not a re-listing of standards. Every student is to be taught the standards. The IEP team must determine the priorities for this student's education in order to allow them to access the general curriculum given the unique needs that arise from their disability.

Special Education Supports

  • What supports must be provided in order for the student to master the set goals?
  • This includes, but is not limited to, specially designed instruction (SDI), accommodations, assistive technology, accessible educational materials, related services, and supplementary aids and services.
  • The team must also consider the appropriateness of extended school year services at least annually.


  • Though it is not documented within the IEP itself, the IEP Team must determine the Least Restrictive Environment within which the student can work towards goal and standards mastery.
  • If the student has to be placed in a more restrictive setting in order to receive their needed supports, the team must also provide any appropriate opportunities for them to participate with nondisabled peers to the fullest extent possible.

Each of these questions must be carefully considered by the IEP team in light of the unique needs of the student that arise from their disability. Therefore, quality IEPs have a through-line that connects all the components.