This week I am faced with the task of completing my term two IEPs for the subject area of music. Below is my process in determining the need for a student to be placed on an IEP for music and some of the past comments that I have used for my students.

Determining the need

Every year in term one and term two, I receive a list from the special education support team of students that are on an IEP. Attached to this list is the question of whether or not I feel that any of the students currently on an IEP require specialized goals for music.

The first question that I ask myself when determining whether or not a student requires an IEP comment for music is “Does the student’s exceptionality impair their ability to be academically successful in music?” In order to determine the answer to this question, I gather some assessment data on the student. This can be challenging at the beginning of the school year when the IEP needs to be completed in a very tight time frame. To help speed up the process, I recommend reading the student’s IPRC’s statement of decision or previous IEPs as they can direct you to analyze the student’s specific exceptionality in the context of your class. Afterwards, I watch my students for impairments in things like receptive language, language processing, expressive language, cognitive abilities, sensory engagement, visual spatial processing and both fine and gross motor skills. In a nutshell, after I have read the decision about the student’s needs in their OSR, I watch closely to see how that impacts their learning in music.

Once I have evidence to support my decision, I go about setting the direction for the music section of the IEP. After analyzing the data, I must decide whether to modify the number of expectations or modify the grade level expectations that I am using to assess the student. In addition, if the student is on an alternative IEP, I must create a measurable goal for them. I do my best to create a goal that will both challenge the student and ensure success for them.

After I have decided on the goal for the term, I compile the accommodations, assessment methods and annual program goals for the students. I then pass all of the information over to the teacher in charge of the IEP. See below for some examples.

Comments for Alternative IEPS

will demonstrate a response to a variety of songs once in a music period.

will physically respond to music (e.g., claps hands, whole body movements).

will participate in music 30% of the time

will participate in music class by singing and playing the xylophone, drums and unpitched instruments for 30 minutes every class

will create and perform a simple composition with some support

will perform a musical piece in front of a large audience

will participate and explore on the xylophone, drums and unpitched instruments

will ask music teacher or peers for help

Comments for IEPs

will apply the creative process to create and perform simple music compositions from modified musical notation.

will sing unison songs in tune and play simple accompaniments.

will perform simple music compositions from modified musical notation.

will communicate his feelings and ideas in response to a piece of music.

will respond to a piece of music through movement and using a light show.

will sing unison songs in tune and/or play simple melodies and accompaniments for music from a wide variety of cultures, styles and historical periods.

will create and perform music in unison on the xylophone and unpitched percussion instruments.

Assessment Methods

Observation of student playing an instrument


music performance

self-reflection after singing a song

demonstration of moving to music


Colour cues

Large size font

Use of headphones

Visual cueing

Extra time for processing




Resources – Here are a few resources to give some guidance when writing IEPs.

PRS Matters has written a great bulletin called “The Individual Education Plan (IEP)-What You Need To Know

A great resource for writing IEPS is located on the Ministry website “The Individual Education Plan (IEP), A Resource Guide (2004)”







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