What Is an IEP? - Definition, Examples & Objectives

Instructor: Peggy Olsen
An IEP is an Individualized Education Program developed for students with disabilities to ensure their educational goals are achieved. Learn more about IEPs, objectives, and examples and test your knowledge with quiz questions.


An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a required step in the process of receiving special education services. A student's parents, teachers, and other service providers meet to come to a consensus about the educational accommodations necessary to assist the student in meeting the objectives. This group of professionals and parents are known as the IEP Team.

Before an IEP can be written a student must be identified as needing services, evaluated, and found eligible (as defined by the Individuals with Disability Education Act, IDEA) for services. IEPs can be written for academic, social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities.

Once the IEP is written and approved by the parents and school personnel services can be provided. Parents are provided with a copy of the IEP. Progress is reported regularly so parents know if the objectives for the year will be met. At least once a year the IEP team meets to review. During reviews, school personnel and parents (and student if appropriate) evaluate the progress and decide if revisions should be made. If they are unable to come to consensus the parents may ask for mediation or a due process hearing.


The purpose of an IEP is to meet the child's needs based on the child's development rather than predetermined expectations based on grade level. The IEP takes both strengths and challenges into consideration, using a child's strengths to improve his or her challenges. The IEP Team must determine the proper placement for a child using the environment that is the least restrictive possible. A child is pulled out of a regular classroom and put in another environment only when absolutely necessary for the child's education. Any time spent outside the regular education classroom must be explained in the IEP.



IEPs are required to include certain information including, but not limited to, the child's current level of performance, goals, accommodations, modification, services, and least restriction environment explanations.


Lacie is a sixth grade student with dyslexia, which makes reading difficult. Her current IEP goal for this year is to increase fluency from 70 words a minute to 120 words with a 95% accuracy rate.

She has a number of spelling goals that include receiving 80% or higher on her spelling assignments and correctly writing 'b' and 'd' 99 times out of 100 on her class assignments.

An IEP also includes modifications that the school will provide to assist the student in meeting the goals.

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