Show Me the Data for that IEP decision

assessments data iep advice iep data testing Nov 11, 2022

Please show me the data you’re using to make that IEP decision.

This is the statement I encourage all parents and teachers to ask each other before IEP decisions, both big and small, are made.

Unfortunately, many times there is no data.

With no data in sight, we take our best-educated guess on what to do next in the areas of academics, life skills, executive functioning, and behavior support.

That’s not okay. 

We need to make a commitment to making more informed decisions at the IEP table, based on current data. 

Data can be one of the most uncomfortable topics in Special Education for both parents and teachers. When we ask for data and there is no data, everyone puts their head down and there's often a scramble to figure out what to do next.

IEP Meeting Strategy: If you find yourself at the IEP table with missing data, please help the IEP team move forward in collecting the much-needed data vs having an ongoing discussion about why there is no data.

Effective Data shows us concrete evidence of where a child is performing. This number allows us to see how far a child has grown and helps us predict what type of IEP goals we should be setting next.

Now, throw in staff shortages, stressed-out teachers, and overwhelmed students, and collecting the right data feels almost impossible.

This is where we have to get creative!

  1. School teams often need to look to the “outside” to get help in collecting data, if they cannot provide testing and assessments in a timely manner.  I highly recommend schools work with parents to pursue assessments through Parallel Learning to get assessments quickly, whenever possible!

  2. Parents, When you need results FAST and the school team is stretched to its limits, asking for general assessments can slow down the process. You need to know exactly what to ask for. You don’t need to know the specific names of all of the assessments, but be detailed in what data you’re looking for, such as… we need clear data on how my child’s ADHD is affecting his ability to follow multi-step verbal directions. 

Important Note for Parents: The school may not be required to perform all the assessments that you want for your child. You may want more data that will help you at home, beyond what IDEA law focuses on. If you find yourself struggling with wanting more assessments, but not knowing what to ask for or who to go to, you can try Parallel learning, too! Get your free consult here. 

Parents and Teachers, The next time you’re feeling stuck while making an IEP decision, step back and ask yourself… where is the data that I need to make this decision?

And if you can’t find it, get started immediately with your IEP team to put together a data collection plan.  You can start with sticky notes and tally marks to track skills and behaviors, but never forget that there’s a bigger picture that most likely needs to be evaluated so you can feel confident in your next steps at the IEP table. 

Recommended Resource: Parallel Learning - Help every student thrive in class & beyond.  Overcome learning challenges with personalized psychoeducational support and supercharge your mental fitness—without leaving the comfort of your home. 

Discount Code: Parallel gave me a discount code for you! Use the code: IEPCOACH for $250 off a psycho-educational evaluation and 50% off your first month of educational support or therapy.  Plus, a free 15-minute consultation with Parallel Learning at this link. 


Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed
Master IEP Coach® Mentorship, Founder
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