Module 2:
Standards-based IEPs:
Developing Present Levels
of Academic Achievement
and Functional
Module Information
This module is one of a three-part series in
developing standards-based IEPs for students
with disabilities.
Special thanks to members of the Standards-based
IEP Study Group of the CCSSO ASES SCASS.
Recommended Module citation:
Assessing Special Education Students SCASS
(2012). Module 2: Standards-based IEPs:
Developing Present Levels of Academic
Achievement and Functional Performance.
[Power Point slides]. Washington, DC: Council of
Chief State School Officers.
Outcomes for Module 2
Participants will:
1. Identify and become familiar with data sources
2. Develop a comprehensive present levels
3. Determine instructional needs by reviewing the
components of a gap analysis
Present Levels of Academic
Achievement and Functional
Performance (PLAAFP)
(1) “. . .a statement of the child’s present levels of
academic and functional performance,
(i) how the child’s disability affects the child’s
involvement and progress in the general
education curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum
as for nondisabled children);…..”
34 CFR §300.324(a)(1)
Process of Developing
Standard-based IEP Goals
Collect Data
Identify Strengths
Identify Needs
Develop Impact Statement
Review of PLAAFP
Review Grade Level Standards
Determine the gap
Where student is and where we need to
Objective vs. Subjective Statements
Activity 2.1
Subjective Statements
Richie talks too much.
Stephanie did not turn in her homework
Tom has difficulty writing a summary.
Objective Statements
Richie interrupts the teacher during
classroom discussions with verbal outbursts
Stephanie did not turn in her homework
assignments 17 out of 20 times this grading
period resulting in a grade of “Incomplete”
in algebra.
In 50% of his assignments related to
summarizing a passage, Tom will give the
main idea instead of providing a summary.
Possible Data Sources to
Develop the PLAAFP
• Progress monitoring results (review of
achievement of previous IEP)
• Classroom observation
• Classroom grades
• Classroom tests and student work samples
• Curriculum-based assessment
• Formative, benchmark and summative
Data Sources (continued)
 Behavior data
 Any strategies, accommodations or assistive
technology devices or services that have
already shown success
 Results of most recent state assessment(s)
 Parent and student input
 Language skills (including English Language
Learners (ELLs) with disabilities)
Present Levels of Academic
Achievement and Functional
Present levels must be:
Measurable—use terms that are observable,
specific, and based on evidence
Understandable—use clear language that can
be understood by all members of the IEP team
Components of Present Level of
Academic Achievement and
Functional Performance
1. Strengths
2. Needs
3. Impact statement
PLAAFP: Component 1
Strengths must be specific to the
knowledge/skills that are needed to learn the
grade level standards.
Strengths may include:
• Skills related to the standard(s)
• Student’s response to learning strategies
• Successful interventions or accommodations
PLAAFP: Component 2
Needs should focus on the skill sets the student
requires to access and make progress in general
education curriculum.
• The student’s needs will inform the IEP team
which measurable annual goals to develop.
• If the need is well defined in the present levels, it
will form the basis for the measurable annual
PLAAFP: Component 3
Impact Statement: Answers the question of how
the child's disability affects (impacts) his/her
involvement and progress in the general
• Discuss learner characteristics and examine
how the characteristics affect student
• Do not use student’s exceptionality to explain
how the disability affects involvement/
progress in the general curriculum.
Learner Characteristics
Look at the learner characteristics typical of the
student’s disability to determine how these
characteristics may affect progress in learning the
content standard (s).
Examples of Learner
• Easily distracted
• Difficulty processing information in specific ways
• Difficulty organizing materials/time
• Difficulty completing written tasks
• Difficulty with problem solving
Learner Characteristics
Activity 2.2
Sample Impact Statement
Ann’s disability in the area of auditory processing and
auditory memory causes her to have difficulty processing
problems and remembering information presented orally.
This impacts her ability to follow multi-step directions,
comprehension and recalling complex concepts. This
also impacts her academic success in all instructional
settings with oral presentations, reading, written
language, and math, and to a lesser degree, science and
social studies.
What areas are affected due to the disability?
How does the student’s disability impact the student’s
involvement in the general education curriculum?
What academic areas are impacted due to the
Sample Impact Statements
Eli’s tendency to reverse numbers will impact his
ability to accurately write numbers and will also
impact math computation/problem solving in
Samantha’s difficulties with reasoning skills affect
drawing inferences from literary and informational
passages and impact all other academic areas.
Unacceptable Impact
What is missing?
• Lisa has difficulty organizing her materials and
beginning assignments because she has an
attention deficit disorder.
• Ethan’s learning disability impacts his phonemic
Review of Steps
to Develop PLAAFP
1. Review the State Standards for reading and
2. Review various data sources to determine the
student’s strengths and needs
3. Determine what the priorities are for the
student in relation to the grade level standards
4. After the strengths and priorities needs have
been identified, now you can write the Present
Levels statement for each relevant area
Common Core State Standards - Sample A Reading
PLAAFP Reading Example-Grade 4
Sally can identify 1-2 details from text read. She can identify the main
idea when reading content area passages. She can verbally explain
events in chronology order. She can compare and contrast events
from text using a Venn diagram.
However, Sally is unable to write a complete summary and will often
add her opinion. She has difficulty identifying author’s evidence or
purpose in text read, she only states why she likes the text. In addition,
Sally can not determine the cause or effect of a situation.
Impact Statement
Sally’s inability to understand key components of reading literature
affects her progress in the 4th grade general education curriculum.
PLAAFP Phrase Examples
Vague Verb Phrases
Specific Verb Phrases
Received a math score of 90
Can count to 25
Knows his letters
Can verbally identify 23/26 letters
Can add
Using a calculator, solves double-digit
addition problems
Expressive language is at 27
Communicates wants and needs in 23 word sentences
Can read
Can locate 2 -3 details in a reading
Knows fractions
Can reduce equivalent fractions
Can measure
Can use various types of measurement
tools such as rulers, weights, and
volume (liters)
Note: When writing a PLAAFP it may span across two grades.
Therefore, consult LEA or SEA for guidance.
How can you improve this
PLAAFP Statement?
Rosie has improved in math since last year. She
can add and subtract and identify most money.
She has limited budgeting experience. She can
estimate two-digit numbers but not more than
One way…
Rosie met her previous IEP goals. Rosie can add
and subtract single digit numbers with 90%
accuracy. Rosie can add double digit numbers
with 50% accuracy and is unable to subtract
double digit numbers that require regrouping. She
can identify coins and small bills (penny, nickel,
dime, quarter, one, and five dollar bills) but she
cannot make change. Rosie can estimate twodigit numbers but not more than that. The fourth
grade benchmark for math requires the following
computation: Add, subtract, multiply (three-digit
by two-digit factors), and divide (two-digit
dividends by one-digit divisors) to solve problems.
Present Levels: Instructional
and Grade Levels
It is critical that the PLAAFP and annual
goals include both the instructional AND
grade levels. Why?
1. Instructional level alone does not meet the
criteria of the general education curriculum.
2. Grade level alone does not meet the criteria of
an IEP based on identified skill deficits.
Present Levels: Instructional
and Grade Levels
• The two levels together (instructional and grade)
allow the student to make progress in the
general education curriculum, while also
addressing skill deficits (needs).
• It is necessary to use grade level- (particularly
for outcome measures) in order to determine if
what is in the IEP is appropriate.
Present Levels: The End Result
Instructional Level and Grade Level
The information then translates into content for
goals and specially designed instruction in order
for the student to work toward mastery in the
general education curriculum.
Let’s review
PLAAFP Reminders
(Handout 2.1)
State Specific Slide
How and where do IEP teams document the
PLAAFP on IEP forms?
Facilitator – supply State specific information
Questions to Consider After
Writing Your PLAAFP
1. Are your current PLAAFP statements related to
the desired outcome for this student?
2. Do the PLAAFP statements reflect what the
student knows in relation to the curriculum or
standards expectations?
3. Are the PLAAFP statements stated in
measurable terms?
Review and Reflect:
Writing PLAAFP Statements
• Accurately describe performance in academic
areas related to the student’s enrolled grade
level state standards.
• Include a direct relationship between
evaluation/assessment data and PLAAFP
• Use objective, measurable terms.
• Ensure scores (if used) are self-explanatory or
include an explanation of the score.
Data/Gap Analysis
Process of Developing
Standard-based IEP Goals
• Collect Data
• Identify Strengths
• Identify Needs
• Develop Impact Statement
• Review of PLAAFP
• Review Grade Level Standards
• Determine the gap-Where
student is and where we need
to go
Annual Goals
What is a Gap Analysis?
A gap analysis is used to measure the difference
between the student's current levels of
performance and grade-level content standard
What is Data Analysis?
Data analysis is the process of:
• Gathering data about the student
• Making comparisons against baseline
The goal is to highlight useful:
• Information
• Suggestions and conclusions
• Supporting decision making
Examine Student Data
• Compile and review a variety of data
• Those on the IEP team who are most familiar with
the data and its meaning for the student should
present to others
• Examination includes an analysis of:
o Why the data is indicative of student
o What the data indicates about student learning
o How the data can be utilized to determine future
Analysis of Data:
Questions to Consider
• Has the student been taught content aligned
with the grade-level standards?
• Has the student been provided appropriate
instructional scaffolding to attain grade-level
• Does the student have an appropriate/adequate
means to express what he or she knows relative
to the content standard?
• Was assistive technology considered?
• For a student with print disabilities: Was the
student provided core and supplemental
materials in an accessible format? (AIM)
Balancing Exposure with Instruction
InstructionalLevel Content
Enrolled GradeLevel Content
Review and Reflect
Activity 2.3
PLAAFP- are the cornerstone or foundation for
developing measurable annual goals and have 3
1.Developed by identifying student’s strengths in
relation to enrolled grade level standards
2.Identify student’s area (s) of need to be the
springboard for developing measurable annual
3.Impact statement which addresses the student’s
disability and access to the general curriculum
Review and Reflect
Activity 2.3 (cont.)
One new concept you learned
One concept you will use in your class
One concept you will share with a colleague

Standards-Driven IEPS Connecting to the General Curriculum