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Expert Q&A

Is the school mandated send progress updates to parents and if so, what is required?

We live in the Chicago area. My son is in third grade. He has had an IEP at his current school for four years. The IEP form that our school uses includes a section for quarterly progress updates for his various educational goals. Is the school required by law to send us progress updates on a quarterly basis for all of his IEP goals, and if so when are they required to do so? We currently receive updates on some goals (not all) but these updates are not consistent across all the different goals that are listed on his IEP.

If they are not required to send us regular updates, can we request formal updates on his progress as part of the IEP? Also, is the school required to have all educational goals prepared and sent to parents within in a certain period of time prior to an IEP meeting. We often receive final IEP papers only one or two days prior to the actual meeting which makes it challenging to prepare and review the documentation adequately prior to the IEP meeting.

Thank you,


Dear Colin,

Your question addresses whether you should be receiving quarterly progress updates with respect to your child’s progress in relation to his annual goals. The IDEA requires that the school district provide the parents with regular updates on the child’s progress in a manner and form consistent with that of regular education, such as on a quarterly basis similar to the quarterly report cards that the school would provide in regular education. In addition, if the parents and school agree to include in the IEP additional forms of information sharing or reporting, the school must then carry out those additional requirements as well.

It is not unusual for an IEP to provide for a weekly email to a parent, a notebook to be sent back and forth between the parents and the school on a daily basis with information from teachers and parents provided as needed, provision of periodic progress reports of greater frequency than those provided for other students if there are particular reasons that the child’s progress needs to be monitored on a more regular basis, or even a provision for periodic meetings during the course of the school year in order to actually discuss how the child is doing.

On the other hand, you also question the school districts provision of IEP papers one or two days prior to the IEP meeting. In fact, the school is not required to provide any documentation in relation to the IEP prior to the meeting, unless you submit a formal request for records prior to the meeting and the paperwork already exists.

It would appear that the school is providing you with a draft IEP. Importantly, the information they are sharing with you ahead of time must be in a draft and subject to modification at the IEP meeting. If they are presenting you with a “final” IEP paper and is not subject to modification at the meeting, they would be potentially guilty of conducting an IEP meeting in which the IEP was predetermined without parental input. Advanced notice, including receipt of the draft set of goals, objectives or services, is desirable even if it is only occurring several days before the meeting.

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