Be sure to visit our IEP webpage to see how the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statement fit into the IEP process. Also recommended: NICHCY’s Short and Sweet IEP Overview.  

What does the law say?

Here is IDEA’s requirements for the PLAAFP portion of the Individualized Education Program (IEP):

Each child’s IEP must contain…

(1) A statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including
(i) How the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum; or
(ii) For preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate activities

Why is the PLAAFP statement so important?

The PLAAFP statement provides an overview of factors that impact the student’s performance, and includes a description of a student’s strengths and needs. The PLAAFP is the starting point from which the rest of the IEP is developed. 

Academic achievement means the academic subjects a child studies in school and the skills the student is expected to master including: reading, language arts, writing, math, science, history, etc

Functional performance covers the skills/activities that are not considered academic. This includes dressing, eating, personal care, social skills, behavior skills, mobility, etc

Where does the PLAAFP statement fit into the IEP process?

The PLAAFP statement will give a snapshot of the student at a particular time and place. You have to know where you are to plan for where you want to go. The PLAAFP statement is, essentially, the foundation of the IEP. Each area of need identified in the PLAAFP will be addressed  later in the IEP. 

What does the PLAAFP statement include?

The PLAAFP describes the levels at which the student is currently working academically and functionally. This includes a description of a student’s strengths and needs. Areas the team will consider include:

• Academic
• Communication
• Functional
• General intelligence
• Health
• Motor or physical
• Sensory
• Social and emotional
• Transition to post-secondary adult living (as early as age 14, at least by age 16)

What about Parent Input?

The PLAAFP statement is also where parent input is documented. This is an important opportunity for parents to share information and concerns.

Where does the information in the PLAAFP statement come from?

Looking at the test data from standardized testing and evaluations on your child, this will provide information about what your child knows and is able to do. Evaluations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) Summary
  • Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED)
  • Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-Step)
  • District assessments
  • Benchmark assessments
  • Formal test results
  • Assignments
  • Progress reports,  report cards
  • Discipline/behavior records

What if my child has additional needs that are not listed on the PLAAFP?

Sometimes a child has needs not addressed by the current IEP. It may be that area of need was not identified in the evaluation data. If something is missing in the IEP, it is important to go back to the PLAAFP statement to see if that specific area of need was actually identified.

Parents can request additional evaluations be done if there are concerns that areas of need are not being identified and addressed. The same timelines apply.

  • Evaluation resources including sample letters, timelines, eligibility categories and answers to other common questions.

More information:

Importance of the PLAAFP Statement– from the Michigan Alliance for Families Webinar Series

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