Special Education

Reporting Progress to Parents


The IEP must identify when periodic reports on the progress the student is making toward the annual goals will be provided to the student’s parents.

What is the purpose of reporting progress to parents?

Regular reports to parents provide a mechanism to monitor a student’s progress toward the annual goals and to evaluate the effectiveness of the student’s special education services. If progress is such that the student is not expected to reach his/her annual goals, the Committee must review and revise the student’s IEP to ensure that the student is being provided the appropriate supports and services.

What should be included in the progress report?

The report of the child’s progress informs parents of:

  • their child’s progress toward the annual goals; and
  • whether this progress is sufficient in order for their child to achieve the goals by the end of the school year.

The annual goal establishes the criteria, schedule and method for evaluating the student’s progress. Establishing goals that are measurable is important so that progress can be adequately assessed. To report student progress, the teachers must have gathered evidence of what students are able to do in each annual goal area. Establishing a systematic data collection system is the very first step to effective progress reporting to parents.

In what manner should progress be reported?

The method or combination of methods to inform the parents of their child’s progress is left to local discretion. Based on the unique needs of the students, the manner selected to inform parents might vary from student to student.

There are many ways a student’s parents can be informed of their child’s progress, including, but not limited to periodic parent-teacher conferences, written progress reports and student-parent-teacher conferences. The reports to the parent do not need to be lengthy or burdensome, but they need to be informative. For example, the report to parents could include a statement of the goals with a written report of where the student is currently functioning in that goal area and/or a rating of progress to indicate whether the student’s progress to date will likely result in the student reaching the goal by the end of the year. The progress report to parents should be in addition to the student’s regular report cards that provide grades for courses or subject areas.

Following is an example of how progress can be reported to parents.

Annual Goal: Kevin will use graphic organizers to write a three-paragraph essay using correct sequencing of sentences including topic sentence, supporting sentences and conclusion with 90% accuracy on 4 weekly trials.

Reporting Progress to Parents

1st period ending November

2nd period ending January

3rd period ending March

4th period ending June

Kevin is writing three-sentence paragraphs with correct sequencing, including a topic sentence, supporting sentence and conclusion.
Objective met.

Kevin needs assistance to develop the outline, but once developed, he follows it to accurately write a five-sentence paragraph using a graphic organizer.

Kevin is writing two-paragraph essays when following a written outline.

Kevin independently develops a graphic organizer (outline) and writes three- sentence paragraphs using correct sequencing of sentences.

How often must progress be reported?

Progress should be reported at least as often as parents of nondisabled students are informed of their child’s progress. The IEP could indicate frequency of reporting, for example, as:

  • monthly,
  • quarterly,
  • at the end of each term, or
  • at 3 month intervals.

Quality Indicators

  • The frequency and manner of reporting to parents is determined in consideration of a student’s unique needs.
  • Progress is reported to parents in a manner that is understood by them (e.g., jargon-free) and is objective, not subjective.
  • Specific data is included in measurable terms regarding the extent to which the student is progressing towards meeting annual goals.
  • The information included in reports to parents is sufficient to identify a student’s lack of progress early enough that the Committee could, if necessary, reconvene to review and, if appropriate, revise the student’s IEP to ensure the student is provided the appropriate supports to reach the annual goals.
Last Updated: June 30, 2010