How to Write IEP Progress Reports

As a Special Education teacher, writing an IEP is the biggest aspect of our job.

how to write progress reports blog header image
how to write progress reports blog header image

The IEP Progress Report is a way to measure student growth and progress towards meeting their IEP goals. This report is typically given to parents at the end of each reporting period when general education teachers would send home report cards (but check the student’s IEP too because it will be outlined in the child’s IEP!).

What are the components of an IEP Progress Report?

The progress report is typically generated by your districts IEP program, but should include the following:

  • The students annual IEP goals
  • Any benchmarks or objectives for the annual goals
  • How the progress towards each goal will be measured
  • How the student is performing on the annual goal
  • Comments and a summary on data collected to show the progress that is being made towards meeting their IEP goals.

What information should the teacher include in the IEP Progress Report?

Here are some components to look at to make sure you have all of the information needed for a good IEP Progress report:

  • Ensure that during the IEP meeting, SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented) goals are written, including objectives (if your district requires them)
  • A graph of your student’s data points that clearly shows how the student is progressing and how close they are to mastering that goal
  • A detailed log of the data points collected, including who collected it, what day, and how the student progressed.
  • Comments of whether or not the student is progressing towards their annual goal, including evidence from the teachers, the parents, the related service providers, and anyone else who works with the student.
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How to Write an IEP Progress Report

Now, you’ve got all of your data collected and the information you need.  So, what should be on the IEP Progress Report?

  • A breakdown of each goal.
    • When an IEP goal is written, most places require you to have benchmarks or objectives.  These show the steps that will be taken and monitored to how a student will make progress towards this goal.  In an IEP progress report, you want to document if those objectives are being met in order to make progress toward mastery of an IEP goal.
  • Data points
    • As a student’s IEP progresses, it is essential that data is collected accurately and always kept up to date – some districts even have a required minimum amount of data points needed per goal per reporting period to show consistency.  It is vital that the data collected is reflected in the student’s IEP progress report.
    • If it is noted that there is insufficient data or that a child has not yet met an objective or goal, make sure to note why – is it simply because they need more time, are there behaviors preventing this goal from being achieved, are there too many absences or incomplete work?  Parents need to know what their child is doing and how they are progressing, no matter what the outcome.
  • A brief summary of the student’s progress
    • Comments from special education teachers, general education teachers, and other service providers that work with the student should be incorporated, stating input on whether the student is making progress along with supporting evidence and data points that have been collected.

What to Say When There is No Data

When it comes to reporting on IEP goals, there may be instances where no data is available yet. Perhaps it is a new goal, and there has not been enough time to collect data. Or maybe the student has been ill or absent, and the time needed to make progress has not been there. Whatever the reason, it is important to communicate this information clearly and professionally in progress reports. 

Here are a few examples of ways to word the lack of data on a new or current IEP goal:

  1. “Due to the recent implementation of this goal, formal data has not been collected at this time. As the goal becomes more established, progress will be tracked and reported accordingly.”
  2. “Limited data is available for this goal as it is newly implemented. Given the short timeframe, providing a comprehensive progress update is not feasible. However, ongoing assessments will be conducted to monitor and report future progress.”
  3. “Given the recent introduction of this goal and the student’s absence due to illness, sufficient data has not been collected thus far. Once the student returns and regular opportunities for assessment are available, progress will be documented and reported accordingly.”
  4. “As this goal has recently been established, there is insufficient data to report progress. Ongoing assessments will be conducted to track the student’s development and provide a comprehensive update in future reports.”
  5. “Not enough time has passed since the implementation of this goal to collect substantial data for reporting purposes. Once an appropriate timeframe has elapsed, progress will be measured and documented accordingly.”
  6. “Due to extenuating circumstances, such as the student’s recent illness and limited opportunities for assessment, we have not been able to gather the necessary data to report on this specific goal. Progress will be monitored and reported as soon as feasible.”
  7. “Given the recent nature of this goal and the student’s limited presence in school, there has not been sufficient opportunity to work on and collect data for reporting purposes. As the student’s attendance improves, progress will be closely monitored and reported in subsequent updates.”
  8. “As this is a newly developed goal, the student’s progress remains at baseline levels, and formal data collection has yet to commence. Future progress reports will reflect the growth and development observed once data collection begins.”

Remember to adapt these phrases to fit the specific context of the IEP progress report while maintaining a clear and professional tone. It is essential to explain the lack of data accurately while being professional so that the team understands why there is no data at present.

As someone who is writing the IEP Progress Report, what is something you always make sure to put in there?  What is something that your district requires you to do to ensure fidelity of the data collected and presented to the parents? Tell us in the comments below!




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