Glossary of Terms

Accommodation: Refers to how the typical environment, instruction, or service for a student with a disability is changed so that the presence of the student's disability does not unnecessarily affect learning.

Assistive Technology Device: A piece of equipment or a product which is used to increase, maintain, or improve the way a student with a disability interacts with and communicates with their environment.

Assistive Technology Services: Services that help a child with a disability use an assistive technology device. These services include evaluating the needs of the child, providing the device, and then training the student, the student's family and the staff who work with that student on the use of the device.

Benchmark: Describes the amount of progress the student is expected to make towards a measurable annual goal within specified segments of the year.

Career Assessment: A process, beginning as early as elementary school and continuing through adulthood that assists a student to develop educational plans in order to acquire skills related to employment.

Case Management: The coordination of educational services, information, and administrative activities for an individual student.

Evaluation Report (ER): A document prepared following a psychoeducational evaluation, which in detail, identifies the student's needs, strengths, disability and specially designed instruction which might be needed for the student to make progress in the general education curriculum. The Evaluation Report does not identify a placement. This is the role of the IEP Team.

Community Agency: A service provider offering programs such as vocational rehabilitation, mental health, mental retardation, and housing to community residents.

Community-Based Instruction: Educational experiences conducted outside the school setting.

Conflict Resolution Techniques: Interpersonal strategies designed to calm an adversarial situation and bring the opponents to a collaborative decision.

Curriculum: A series of planned instruction that is coordinated, articulated, and implemented in a manner designed to result in the achievement by all students of specific knowledge and skills and the application of this knowledge.

Curriculum-Based: Assessment and instruction which is directly connected to the content of the curriculum.

Curricular Modification: Changes made in curricular content, learning outcomes, goals and/or objectives in the general education curriculum.

Daily Living Skills: The activities related to independence in the home and community such as self-care, housekeeping, transportation, budgeting.

Evaluation: Must occur prior to placement to determine if student qualifies as a student with a disability and in need of specially designed instruction. It must be nondiscriminatory and individualized. Student must be assessed to determine the adequacy of instruction in the areas of disability, progress in general education curriculum, supports necessary , need for related services, functional behavior assessment, and assistive technology.

Exceptional Student: A student who has a physical, sensory, mental or emotional disability, or who is mentally gifted, and has been determined eligible for special education by an IEP team..

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): Special education and related services provided at public expense. A program which meets the standards of the state education agency (SEA) and which is reasonably designed to yield meaningful educational benefit and progress for the student.

Functional Vocational Assessment: An evaluation that provides information about job or career interests, aptitudes and skills. It can be a combination of standardized and performance-based measures and should indicate what a student can do and can learn, and should be performed in a natural setting.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A shared decision-making process, providing an appropriate evaluation and education with zero rejection.

Individualized Education Program (IEP):This document is the heart of special education. It specifically details and outlines those factors which qualify the student as a student with a disability and the specially designed instruction, which when incorporated in the student's program, will enable the student to make progress in the general education curriculum. The IEP sets forth goals and objectives, based on the assessment of the student, to systematically increase the student's learning. Each IEP is individualized for the student; it is developed by the IEP Team annually and reviewed and/or revised at least every marking period when progress toward the achievement of the goals is reported to the parents.

IEP Team: A team composed of the student's parent(s), regular education teacher, special education teacher, the local education agency (LEA) representative, and the student, when required. The team designs an Individualized Education Program.

Instructional Strategies: Methods of providing information or teaching skills to students which are designed to achieve a specific goal.

Interagency Agreement: A formal written understanding among agencies regarding their shared responsibilities for providing information and services.

Interagency Collaboration: A process which involves the co-planning of service delivery and the shared responsibility for the services provided for students with disabilities among several agencies in a given community. .

Job Coach: A professional who provides individual or group assistance to a student in job placement, travel training, and skill training at a job site. The job coach frequently provides assessment information to the student's IEP team.

LEA Representative: A school district or intermediate unit employee serving on the IEP team who is qualified to provide or supervise special education, is knowledgeable about the general curriculum, and who can commit the resources of the school district.

Local Interagency Transition Planning: Collaboration among various community service providers and local school districts to address the needs of students with disabilities.

Local Transition Council: An interagency group of school districts or a single school district, community service providers, parents and others who address the current vocational needs of the student to prepare the student for post-school activities and assure supports for the post-school transition needs of eligible students in a community.

Measurable Annual Goals: Components of the IEP which define what the student can be expected to learn in a year within a specific instructional area. 

Multidisciplinary Evaluation (MDE): Once referred for an evaluation, the MDE team members work together to complete a Multidisciplinary Evaluation. This pulls together assessments, information to identify the student's strengths and needs, and determines if the student qualifies as a student with a disability according to State Standards and if the student is in need of specially designed instruction. This information is presented in the form of an ER (Evaluation Report).

Multidisciplinary Team (MDT): Those individuals, primarily school staff and parents, who have knowledge or work directly with the student.

Notice of Parent Rights: An explanation of the parent's rights for their child to receive FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). Must be presented and explained to each parent a minimum of three times during the IEP development or revision process (See section on NOREP specifics). Also referred to as Procedural Safeguards.

Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP): Legal document that states the student's placement, outlines alternate options which were considered and why they were not selected. Parent signature required approving placement. Must be done each time student's program changes significantly in any way.

Performance-Based Assessment: A type of assessment based upon whether a student performs an observable task.

Post-School Outcomes:  A component of the IEP which defines what the IEP team expects the student to be doing after high school in the areas of employment, education/training, community living and recreation/leisure.

Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP): A section of the IEP which summarizes the student's performance in the current program, details strengths and needs, and discusses how the student's disability will affect involvement in the general education curriculum.

Procedural Safeguards:  A set of requirements that go across the laws and regulations of IDEA to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, particularly in regard to the access to free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Related Services: Services which help a student access or benefit from special education programs. Special transportation, speech therapy, counseling, school health services and occupational therapy are examples of related services.

Self-Advocacy: The ability of a student to effectively communicate or assert interests, desires, needs and rights as well as to explain the disability and its effects on learning and other life activities.

Specially Designed Instruction: Adapting the method or delivery of instruction to meet the unique needs of the exceptional student that result from the student's disability or mental giftedness and which ensures access of the student to the general curriculum.

Supplementary Aids and Services: Aids, services and other supports provided in general education classes or other education-related settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Transition Coordinator: An individual, or group of individuals, employed by a school district who makes sure that transition activities and services are addressed and implemented for each secondary student with an IEP.

Transition Services: A group of coordinated activities, provided over a period of time, which support a high school student with a disability in the movement from high school to adult life. These services focus on what the student wants to do after high school in the areas of education or training, employment and community living.

Travel Training: Instruction that enables students with disabilities to learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within their environment.

Vocational Assessment: A comprehensive process conducted over a period of time which services as a basis for planning an educational program. Its purpose is to identify individual characteristics, education and training needs.

Vocational Education: Educational programs offering a sequence of courses that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid employment.