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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Student’s overall ability and progress, not just the student’s performance on standardized testing, are taken into account when determining the appropriateness of an IEP.

Jaccari J. v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, District No. 299, 54 IDELR 53 (N.D. Ill. 2010):  A U.S. District Court rejected a parent’s argument that standardized test scores for her son, who was diagnosed with a learning disability, speech impairment, emotional disability, central auditory processing disorder, and a mild cognitive impairment, demonstrate his lack of progress under his IEP.  Noting that “other indicators suggest that [the student] is making progress,” the Court stated that his “failure to increase his standardized test scores is not dispositive in determining whether he made progress.”

The parent emphasized that the student’s performance in several specific areas failed to improve on several standardized tests over the course of two years.  However, the Court gave weight to other evaluations indicating that the student’s cognitive ability was low.  Therefore, his scores on standardized tests were not reliable enough, in and of themselves, to show his program did not provide an educational benefit.  Instead, the Court gave weight to other evidence indicating the student met his language arts benchmark, nearly met his math goal, and made significant progress behaviorally.  These demonstrated progress, meaning the school district offered a FAPE.

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