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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act




Step 5: ARD/IEP Meeting

In Texas, we call the meetings that determine the special education supports and services for a student, an ARD. ARD is an acronym for Admission, Review and Dismissal. Other states call these meetings IEP Meetings.

What happens?
  • Prior notice of the meeting is given to the parents within a reasonable amount of time before the scheduled meeting.
  • Existence of a disability, special education and related service needs are determined.
  • A statement of the student’s present levels of academic and functional performance including how the student’s disability affects his/her involvement in and progress in the general curriculum
  • Measurable annual goals for the student are developed, with documentation of the student’s involvement with and progress in the general education curriculum
  • Explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will NOT be participating with non-disabled children in the regular classroom, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and nonacademic activities
  • Documentation of the student’s participation in local and state-wide accountability systems.
  • Dates, frequency, location, and duration of services
  • For children age 14 or older, transition services which focus on how the child will make a successful transition to his or her goals for life after school are determined.
  • What parents can expect to receive from the school regarding the measurement and reporting of student progress to parents on how the child is progressing towards his or her annual goals
  • Placement is determined
  • Consideration of special factors which include: assistive technology, behavioral interventions, Braille needs, communication needs and limited English proficiency.
  • Parental consent is required before services can begin for the first time.
Who is involved?
  • The parent(s)
  • Student (when appropriate)
  • At least one general education teacher if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment.
  • At least one special education teacher, or if appropriate, special education provider
  • Representative knowledgeable about the availability of resources within the local district
  • An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluations
  • Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related services personnel may be involved at the parent or school’s request.
What is the timeline?
  • For Initial Evaluations, an IEP is to be convened within 30 calendar days from the time the written evaluation report is completed
  • An IEP must be convened within a “reasonable time.”
  • IEP reviews are held at least annually; more frequently, if necessary
  • Parents may request an IEP review anytime

What Parents Need to Know:

Requests for an ARD/IEP meeting should be made in writing with a timeline and available dates and times attached. Additionally, parents should request drafts of the proposed present level statements and IEP goals and objectives before the ARD/IEP meeting so that they can review them and ask for clarification on issues they are concerned about BEFORE the ARD/IEP meeting. Remember to make all requests in writing.

New in IDEA 2004

  • An ARD/IEP committee member can be excused from all or part of the meeting if the parent and the school agree that person’s attendance is not required because that person’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed.
  • The parent must agree in writing to excuse a required member of the ARD/IEP Committee for any or all of the meeting. This may be documented on a specific form or within the deliberations, or minutes, of the meeting.
  • The IEP must end with a clear statement of the special education and related services, as well as the supplementary aids and services that must be provided to the student. IDEA 2004 adds an important new requirement that the services provided must be “based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable.”
  • The requirement for short term objectives was eliminated in IDEA 2004 for the majority of students receiving special education supports and services. Most IEPs are now required to only have annual goals. Typically if a student is taking an alternative assessment or test other than the STAAR, short term objectives should be completed to improve performance on the tests.
  • Just because short term objectives are no longer required, it does not mean they cannot be written in if the IEP committee feels it is appropriate for that student.

For more information on the meeting process, click on ARD/IEP Agenda, as well as Developing an IEP.

For more information on the IEP Process in IDEA 2004, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Check out these websites for scientifically based practices:


Go to next step

Step 1: Request
Step 2: Notice of Rights
Step 3: Evaluation
Step 4: ARD/IEP Planning Conference
Step 5 & 6: The ARD/IEP Meeting
Step 7: On-going Assessment and Data Collection
Step 8: Examine Data and Make Recommendations




Texas Project FIRST is an activity of the Texas Continuing Improvement Process (TCIP) under the auspices of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Region 9 Education Service Center, and is focused on helping to fulfill the goals of TEA and the Parent Training Committee

Special Education Information Center: 1-855-SPEDTEX (1-855-773-3839)

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