Educational Benefit Review

I appreciated an in-service training with Larry McCluskey. Larry is a Transition Consultant/Work Experience Coordinator with the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 in PA. The Educational Benefit Review helps us evaluate and improve the IEP process.

Three concepts especially impressed me.

  1. Do more by focusing on less. To show educational benefit, it’s essential to focus on just a few specific, measurable goals (vs. too many goals or goals that are too broad). Sometimes doing less work produces better results.
  2. Present Levels (baseline data), goals, and progress monitoring need to be aligned, specific, and measurable. (I cringe when I read a student’s IEP and it says something like, “John is doing great in writing. Good luck!” This means nothing to me.)
  3. Use the Educational Benefit Review process to make IEPs meaningful (vs. completing IEPs as a mere paperwork requirement).

I loved the way Larry ended his presentation:

It’s helpful to me to think about providing educational benefit in this way…If you are standing in front of a hearing officer to discuss a child, would you say one of the following:

We did not make any changes to the IEP even though the child did not make any progress. We kept doing the same thing we had been doing and hoped that he would come around and start learning.

Or …

The child did not make a great deal of progress. We saw that from monitoring his progress and looking at various assessments and classroom data. Based on this data we made changes to his IEP. We continued monitoring his progress. When we saw that very minimal if any progress was being made we decided to make additional changes to prompt increased progress.