A reader wants to know if an adopted child’s low performance on a standardized end of grade (EOG) test will qualify the adopted child for an individualized education plan (IEP). The short answer is no, not in and of itself.
EOGs are administered by public schools in compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires public schools to measure how well school children are mastering the curriculum each year. EOG results tie into federal funding to public schools and, in some states, serve as “gateway” tests in some grades that can prevent a child from moving to the next grade if he or she does not pass the test.
An IEP is a document that ensures that children with a particular disability receive classroom accommodations to level the playing field and help them succeed both in the classroom and on the EOGs. For example, a child with a learning disability in reading might receive an accommodation of a simpler EOG, such as a standardized test with shorter paragraphs and three answer choices instead of four.
In some cases, the presence of a learning disability is first identified by the child performing poorly on an EOG, which is likely why this reader is asking this question. However, poor test performance is not necessarily a sign that your adopted child has a learning disability. As a general rule, the lower a child’s intelligence quotient (IQ), the lower the child’s test performance will be. A child with a lower IQ who performs poorly on an EOG does not necessarily indicate a learning disability. The child might be performing to the best of his ability based upon his lower IQ, which is not enough for a child to qualify for an IEP.
Contrast this situation with a child who does have a learning disability. If a child has an IQ of 115 but is performing on EOGs as would be expected of a child with an IQ of 95, then this is a red flag for a possible learning disability. The school can administer tests to determine the child’s IQ and performance. If there is a -15 point or larger spread between the child’s IQ and the child’s performance, then a learning disability is likely the cause, and the child will qualify for an IEP. In the example I used above, the child’s performance shows a -20 point spread (IQ of 115 with a performance of 95), which is indicative of a learning disability.
An IEP can be obtained for more issues than just learning disabilities, so you might want to pursue IEP screening if your adopted child suffers from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another medical condition that could be contributing to your child’s poor performance on the EOGs. However, if the child simply has a lower IQ, then he is unlikely to qualify for an IEP based upon poor performance on the EOGs.
Photo credit: Faith Allen