Curricular philosophies reflected in individualized education program goals for students with complex support needs

Jennifer A. Kurth, Elissa Lockman-Turner, Kathryn Burke, Andrea L. Ruppar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individualized education program (IEP) goals are meant to be personalized to address the unique needs of students with disabilities, while also reflecting the student’s grade-aligned general education curriculum. IEP goals describe what, how, and where students with disabilities are taught, and reflect the curriculum used to provide instruction. In this study, we analyzed how IEP goals align with the different curricular philosophies for students with severe disabilities. Using a sample of 88 IEPs for students with complex support needs (i.e., severe disabilities) in Grades K-12, we found most goals (57%) reflect curricular philosophies of the 1970s–1990s (i.e., developmental, functional, and social inclusion) eras, with only 26% of IEP goals representative of modern curricular philosophies (i.e., grade-aligned academic content). We also found secondary-aged students were less likely to have grade-aligned academic goals compared to elementary-aged students. We offer implications for ensuring individualization and goals reflecting skills needed for the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalIntellectual and developmental disabilities
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Goals
  • Individualized education program
  • Severe disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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