Writing report cards for students with IEP's and 504's
As the first 9 weeks come to a close, are you prepared for grading students with IEP’s and 504’s? Many teachers and administrators are nervous about under reporting, over reporting, or incorrectly reporting grades for students with learning differences. Let’s see what the Department of Education has to say:
Students with 504 plans or IEP’s have federally protected rights to receive equitable access to the standards, materials, and grading systems as students with no learning differences. That means schools have a responsibility to follow interventions and accommodations for these students.
Accommodations do not change grading systems, they simply level the playing field. You wouldn’t say a student was graded differently because they were allowed to wear glasses in class or during a test; the same is true for students receiving accommodations. Don’t mention it.
Report cards and transcripts are covered by confidentiality requirements, meaning schools cannot disclose a student’s disability or learning difference. The only time a school should mention special education-related services is when the report card also includes measurable progress towards IEP or 504 goals, or if the curriculum has been modified for the student.
Modifications include purposefully working below grade level or reducing the number of standards a student is expected to learn. Accommodations are not modifications! Interventions are not modifications, either.
In general, schools should err on the side of protecting student information. Administrators should check policy statements annually to ensure confidentiality protocols are in place and followed. Teachers should only discuss interventions and accommodations with individual students, the students’ immediate family members, and other teachers or school personnel working with that student.