For parent's who have children receiving special education services, you are receiving two documents which relate to your child's progress. One being the progress report (which must be sent out at least as often as a regular ed report card), PLUS, you are receiving the report card.
What happens when the report card is blank? Or, it refers to your child's IEP? Or, both?
Here's what the Office of Civil Rights says -
In a guidance letter issued by the OCR onOctober 17, 2008 In Re: Report Cards and Transcripts for Students with Disabilities, 108 LRP 60114 (OCR 2008) states that references to special education services received by a student are acceptable on report cards intended for parent use in measuring student progress, but not acceptable on transcripts as they may be disclosed to employers and post-secondary institutions.
Furthermore; The letter also notes that local education agencies (LEA's) often make distinctions on report cards such as general ed classes, remedial levels, and special ed classes may also be noted on report cards. For example, OCR uses the case of a modified literature curriculum noted by using an asterisk or other symbol in order to reference the modified curriculum "as long as the statements on the report card, including the asterisks, symbols or other coding, provide an explanation of the student's progress that is as informative and effective as the explanation provided for students without disabilities".
In response to the question as to whether a report card for a student with a disability may simply refer to another document that more fully describes the student's progress, OCR responded "yes".
But, the transcript itself may not inform the reader of special education services or disabilities.
Read the full report here
So, what do you do if you are receiving a blank report card for your child (no grades at all or a simple n/a)?
The Office for Civil Rights website reiterates that if a student's curriculum is modified, a grade should still be provided and further states: "it would be appropriate for the report card to indicate that the student's progress was measured based on the modified education curriculum. The distinction may also be achieved by using an asterisk or other symbol meant to reference the modified or alternate education curriculum as long as the statements on the report card ... provide an explanation of the student's progress that is as informative and effective as the explanation provided for students without disabilities."
Title II of the American with Disabilities Act prohibits recipients of public funds and public entities from treating persons differentlly on the basis of disability in the provision of benefits or services, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights stated in pertinent part: "In general, the nondiscrimination of Section 504 and Title II would apply to report cards with or without .... [IEP] progress reports." (34 CFR § 104(b)(I)(i) - (iv), and 28 CFR § 35.130(b)(I)(i)-(iv) ... [R]ecipients and public entities may provide a different aid, benefit or service to persons with disabilities where necessary to provide an aid, benefit or service that is as effective as that provided to others. 34 CFR § 104.4(b)(I)(i)-(iv) and 28 CFR § 35.130(b)(I)(i) - (iv).
An IEP does not and is not meant to replace a child's report card.
So what can you do right now? You may request that your child's IEP goals and benchmarks indicate the grade level equivalent of your child's reported progress so that you and all team members can better determine the child's academic levels and measure progress.