In the movie Caddy Shack, there is a scene in which a putt to win a contest is resting on the lip of the hole. Meanwhile, Bill Murray is the groundskeeper who is attempting to rid the course of a gopher. To do so, he sets off explosives in various gopher holes. As everyone is looking around at the explosions (photo on the left), the contest referee ignores the commotion and keeps his on the ball (photo on the right).
For many of the students I have helped, the ball is the general curriculum. (For many students, like my son, the general curriculum is not appropriate. For readers in this situation, I recommended this post as the ball becomes the math necessary for non-academic setting.) Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center (SERC) has a rubric to evaluate IEPs (see excerpts below). In the rubric is an explicit and extensive focus on the general ed curriculum.
Here are a couple points about the IEP and the general ed curriculum.
In the first image above, highlighted on the left, is an indication that focusing on standardized testing in isolation to determine current levels of performance is problematic. A key element in my assessment and support for students is use of curriculum based assessment that is aligned with the Common Core. This allows me to gauge student achievement and ability on the actual curriculum and on the various standards at different grade levels as opposed to assigning a single grade level for a student’s math ability.
When evaluating IEP objectives for math, keep in mind the indicator shown in the bottom photo above (highlighted), “IEP goals and objectives are driven by the age-appropriate grade-level general education curriculum.” Given this, the focus of IEP objectives should not be determined by gaps or weaknesses in isolation but in respect to the general ed curriculum through an assessment similar to the one cited above.
I take this a step further and write IEP objectives to align with the upcoming math curriculum to focus the IEP on the entire course vs a handful of math topics. In turn, this would focus the programming and services associated with the objectives on the general curriculum, i.e., we would be keeping our eye on the ball!