Arc Guide to Individualized Education Program (IEP)

What is an IEP?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written plan that provides documentation for students with disabilities receiving special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA).

An IEP includes:

  • The student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including strengths, interests, talents, abilities, areas of concern, etc.
  • Statements of the student’s educational needs
  • Measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to enable the student to be involved in and make progress in the same curriculum as typical peers
  • Short-term objectives that specify the steps necessary to achieve each goal
  • Special education, related services, supplementary aids and services necessary for the student to meet goals and objectives
  • The program modifications or supports that will be provided to the student to meet goals and objectives
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) statement that explains the extent to which the student will participate in the regular class and activities or not participate
  • Description of any individual modifications in the administration of state or district-wide assessments
  • Documentation of services to be provided, including when they will begin, how long they will last, how often they will occur, where they will occur
  • Information describing how the student’s progress toward the annual goals will be measured, how and when the parents will be regularly informed of progress (which must be at least as often as parents of students without disabilities are informed of progress)
  • A statement of the student’s need for and specific responsibilities of a paraprofessional
  • Starting in grade 9, the plan must address the student’s needs for transition from secondary services and services to meet those needs including courses of study
  • When a student reaches the age of 18, there is additional documentation regarding various legal rights

Who is on the IEP team? Who develops the IEP?

The IEP is developed by a team of people including:

  • The parents*
  • At least one regular education teacher, if the student is or may be participating in regular education Arc Guide to the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • At least one special education teacher or, where appropriate at least one special education provider of the student
  • An administrative designee
  • An individual who can explain evaluation results (who may be a member as in the above three bullets)
  • By request of the parent or the school, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the student
  • The student, whenever appropriate

The district will proceed with the implementation of the IEP unless the parent objects, in writing, with 14 days of the district sending the IEP. **

Review and Revision of the IEP

The IEP must be reviewed periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the student are being achieved and to revise the IEP. Parents must receive a copy of the IEP at no cost.

*At age 18, the student takes on the responsibility of the parent role unless a guardian has been named for the student.

**See Arc Guide to Prior Written Notice


Download PDF of Arc Guide


For further information or advocacy services, contact The Arc Minnesota at 952-920-0855 or toll-free at 833.450.1494 or visit (Please note: This document is not legal advice, and should not be construed as such. Thus, no information herein should replace the sound advice of an attorney.)

All rights reserved (c) 2019 The Arc Minnesota