Standards Based Individualized Education Plans (IEP's)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 requires that all students who receive special education services have measurable annual goal(s) included in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This may include academic (standards-based) and/or functional (non-standards-based) goals, based on the individual student’s needs, as documented in their Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statements.
Differentiated instruction involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. Differentiated instruction, according to Carol Ann Tomlinson, is the process of "ensuring that what a student learns, how he/she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he/she has learned is a match for that student's readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning."
The purpose of these goals, as is the purpose of all special education services, is to assist the student in accessing and progressing in the general curriculum. Academic (standards-based) goals are goals directly linked to progressing toward enrolled grade-level content standards; functional (non-standards-based) goals are goals that assist the student in accessing the enrolled grade-level content standards
Differentiation stems from beliefs about differences among learners, how they learn, learning preferences and individual interests (Anderson, 2007). Research indicates that many of the emotional or social difficulties gifted students experience disappear when their educational climates are adapted to their level and pace of learning.