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Best Practices for Crafting "Present Levels" in an Individualized Education Program

The cornerstone of a successful Individualized Education Program (IEP) lies in accurately depicting your student's "Present Levels" of performance. This crucial component serves as the foundation upon which other sections of the IEP, including annual goals and necessary accommodations, are built. Join us as we delve into the best practices for writing 'Present Levels' in an IEP.


Include Detailed Information


The "Present Levels" section of the IEP should be composed of a comprehensive, clear, and accurate picture of your student's current abilities. It should offer valuable insights into the student's behavioral, academic, social, and emotional capacity. The more specific you are about a student's abilities, the more effective the IEP will be.


Review consistently and use various sources


Use a range of sources when gathering information for the 'Present Levels'. These can include teachers' comments, therapists' notes, data from tests, parents' observations, or even statements from the student. Continual reviewing of the 'Present Levels' allows for real-time updates to the student’s current abilities and limitations.


Personalize according to each student


No two students are the same, so it stands to reason that their IEPs and 'Present Levels' shouldn't be either. Customize the 'Present Levels' to depict the student's strength, interests, abilities, and needs. Remember, the goal here is to create a document that is tailor-made for your student's development.


Inform the annual goals


'Present Levels' should serve as the blueprint for the annual goals set in the IEP. This means that the goals should be directly linked to the information stated in the 'Present Levels'. These goals should delineate the desired change in terms of functional and academic performance.


Use Demonstrative Language


Employ demonstrative language and active verbs in the 'Present Levels', as it provides both clarity and a sense of direction. Instead of writing "Johnny has difficulty reading," specify to what extent and in what way, e.g., "Johnny reads fourth-grade texts independently with 70% accuracy".


Define a starting point for measuring progress


The 'Present Levels' should set a clear starting point against which progress can be measured over time. Ensure that the IEP allows for the monitoring of progress, providing a clear, data-driven basis for determining whether educational interventions are working effectively.


Describe the impact on involvement and progress in the General Education Curriculum


Finally, 'Present Levels' should explicitly state how the student's disability affects their engagement and progress in the general education curriculum. This understanding is paramount for designing appropriate accommodations and modifications required to facilitate the student's educational progress.


In conclusion, crafting detailed, personalized, and informative 'Present Levels' in an IEP is challenging yet immensely rewarding. By putting these best practices into action, you can create an IEP that truly fosters your student's unique path of development and learning.

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