Students who have behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities, may require special education programs and /or services to benefit fully from their school experience. Special education programs and services primarily consist of instruction and assessments that are different from those provided to the general student population. These may take the form of accommodations (such as specific teaching strategies, preferential seating, and assistive technology) and/or an educational program that is modified from the age-appropriate grade level expectations in a particular course or subject, as outlined in the Ministry of Education's curriculum policy documents.
Description of an IEP
An IEP is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services developed for a particular student. It identifies learning expectations that are modified from or are alternative to the expectations given in the curriculum policy document for the grade level subject or course. It also outlines any accommodations and special education services needed to assist the student in achieving his or her learning expectations. The IEP provides a framework for communicating information about the student’s progress to parents/guardians and the student on the Progress Report Card and the Provincial Report Card.
Why a student has an IEP
Regulation 181/98 requires the development of an IEP for every student identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee.
An IEP may also be developed for students who have not been formally identified as exceptional but who require special education programs and/or services. An IEP is required when the principal, in consultation with members of the In-school Support Team (IST) or School Support Team (SST) determines that:
-a student’s achievement will be assessed on the basis of modified expectations; and/or
-a student regularly requires accommodations for instructional or assessment purposes.
The TDSB position is that students who are not exceptional are entitled to receive Resource support for one reporting period without the development of an IEP. If the recommendation of the IST or SST is for continued support beyond that, then an IEP must be developed.
Accommodations refer to the special teaching and assessment strategies, individualized equipment, technology and environmental adjustments that are required in order for the student to access the curriculum and demonstrate learning of the regular grade level expectations. There are three types of accommodations - instructional, environmental and assessment.
Instructional - adjustment in teaching strategies
Environmental - change or support to the physical environment of the classroom and/or school
Assessment - adjustment in assessment activities/ methods to enable the student to demonstrate learning
Modifications are changes made to the grade level expectations that involve altering the number and/or complexity of the grade level expectations.