Summary of Performance (SoP): The Power of This Hidden Gem!
Planning for life beyond high school can be very exciting, however, at the same time, it can feel overwhelming for some high school students and downright daunting for those who also have a disability. In fact, it was so apparent that the reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2006) clarified the purpose of education for students with disabilities is to “prepare” students for life after high school. Specifically, the purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. (20 USC 1400, § 601[d][A])
One way special education teachers can promote readiness is to provide support, guidance, and opportunities for students to actively participate in their overall transition planning process. Studies have shown, students with strong self-advocacy skills who understand and fully participate in the development of their IEP and SOP have better transition outcomes.
So what is the SoP?
Metaphorically speaking, the SoP is the “Cliff Notes” to the student's Career and College Ready IEP/PTP, and Academic and Career Planning (ACP) goals. It also includes diagnostic, functional and/or academic achievement test results to share with postsecondary education institutions and adult agencies where appropriate. It’s a special education form that summarizes key information that students will need to know to articulate its contents.
Federal Law defines the SoP as a special education form required by IDEA 2004 which states “A public agency must provide the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals.” The form should be completed at a reasonable point prior to a student’s eligibility for Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) ends by earning a regular high school diploma, a certificate of completion or certificate of attendance, or the end of the school term in which the student turns age 21. Federal Register Vol. 71 No. 156 300.305(e)(3).
In addition to Federal Law, the Wisconsin state statute requires districts to provide the parent and adult student with notice of graduation with a regular high school diploma and to provide the student a summary of academic achievement and functional performance (34 CFR §300.102[a][iii] and 300.503[a]; Wis. Stat. § 115.792[b]). Because graduation is a change in placement, districts must follow the procedural requirements of any other placement considered by the IEP team (34 CFR 300.102[a][iii]).
When should the SoP be completed?
The Summary of Performance MUST be provided at a reasonable time point prior to graduation. It is not necessary to conduct an IEP meeting to develop the SoP.
Districts have the autonomy to choose from one of three options for completing the SoP:
- The Student SoP Form
- The Best Practice SoP form
- The P3 or P4 in full; to include the summary of performance questions
*Note: Your district may also choose to create their own form that is a combination of one or more of these forms and provide it as an option in your Student Information System (SIS).
Now, let’s get into the details of each.
How can I make this document meaningful for my students?
When you let the student drive the process, you can ensure they understand the contents of the document. Consider the following activities to prepare the student to be a strong self-advocate:
- Engage the student in the development of the SoP; allowing them to take a lead role.
- Have the student present the information in their SoP to support the practice of sharing this information with adult providers.
- Develop a plan with the student and the family of where to store the document, who to share it with, and what to do if they have questions.
- Continue the discussion with the student about their disability and how they will need to advocate for supports and services once they exit high school.
Check out the TIG Self Directed Lesson Plans including: Lesson Plan 15 which focuses on the Student Summary of Performance which includes a Summary of Performance Overview Sheet, Student Summary of Performance Checklist, Sample SoP Student Form and SoP Powerpoint. https://tinyurl.com/TIGlessonplan
Option #1: Student SoP Form - This best practice ‘student-friendly language’ form was created to enhance self-advocacy and self-determination skills by having the teacher and student complete the form together. The form can be found in Lesson #15 of the Wisconsin Self-Directed Transition Lesson Planning Lesson Plans PTP/IEP/SoP resource https://tinyurl.com/TIGlessonplan
Feedback from the Field: Why Use the Student SoP Form?
Fond du Lac moved to using the TIG student summary of performance (SoP) during the 18-19 school year. According to Julie Ziegler, Special Education Instructional Coach/Transition Coordinator, “What we have found over the past year is that using the TIG SoP opened up more conversation with the student about his/her needs post-high school, and made the process more of a discussion.”
What Information should be included in the Best Practice Student SoP Form?
Section 1: Student Information
● High School
● Year of Graduation
● Contact Information
● Primary & Secondary Disability
Section 2: Assessment Report Information
(Attach copy of the each assessment ⛝)
❏ Achievement/Academics (i.e.Woodcock Johnson, KTEA)
❏ IQ Testing (i.e. Wechsler)
❏ Behavior Accommodations
❏ Medical/Physical/Health Plan
❏ Social/Interpersonal Skills
❏ Assistive Technology
❏ Career/Vocational Assessment
❏ Community-Based Assessment
❏ Neuropsychological Assessment
❏ Response to Intervention (RtI)
❏ Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA)
❏ Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
❏ Classroom Observations
❏ Self Determination
Section 3: Measurable Postsecondary Goals
- Education or Training
- Independent Living
Section 4: Summary of Functional Performance
- How does your overall disability affect the things you do on a day to day basis?
- Consider the following areas (General Ability and Problem- Solving, Attention and Organization, Learning Skills, Communication, Social Skills and Behavior, Independent Living, Environmental Access and Mobility, Self-Determination/Self-Advocacy, Transition, Time Management, Study Skills, any additional considerations).
- Accommodations, modifications, assistive technology and supports that are effective in high school. How were they used and why?
Section 5: Summary of Academic Achievement
- What are your scores in English/Language Arts? Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Language
- What are your current Math test scores? Number & Quantity, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics & Probability, and Fractions.
Section 6: Accommodations / Modifications, Services & Assistive Technology
- What assistive technology works best for you?
- What accommodations and/or modifications do you use? (Can include what was tried and hasn’t worked, if relevant)
- Identify for English/Language Arts and Math
- Identify if you have received accommodations on standardized testing (Statewide Testing, ACT, MAPS, etc?)
Section 7: Next Steps (students Perspective) and Contacts
- How does your disability affect your schoolwork and school activities?
- In the past, what support(s) have been tried by teachers or by you to help your success in school?
- What assistive technology do you use? How and when is it used?
- Which of these accommodations, assistive technologies, and supports has worked best for you? Why?
- What are your strengths and needs as you leave high school and begin further learning, working and living?
- Name of the organization, person who will assist you along with telephone number, email address, and mailing address.
Section 8: IEP Team Input and Contact Information
Recommendations for accommodations, assistive technology, compensatory strategies, and/or support services to enhance access and participation in postsecondary goals including contact information.
❏ Education and Training
❏ Independent Living
Option #2: SoP Best Practice Teacher Form - This best practice form can be found here on the TIG website. It provides a thorough summary of information that is useful to all parties reviewing the SoP to move the students towards postsecondary success.
Feedback from the Field: Why Use the Best Practice SoP Form?
Jana Weigandt, Special Education Teacher/Department Chair, at Horace Mann High School shared the following: “I haven't used the one from Lesson 15 although I'm going to start because I like it much better. I have used just the one in SEEDS though and then incorporated the student's words and ideas into the final SoP I write. I like it because it shows me how much the students know about themselves and gives me great insight into how they see themselves. By this point THEY are the expert on themselves so I really like including their words, thoughts and opinions. I think the students like knowing they are helping to write their final summary about themselves and knowing that they have the power and responsibility to teach others about their strengths and also their needs. I like the idea of doing this with the student as kind of an "exit interview" to wrap up their time with you in high school and to "pass the torch" so to speak to them as they now have the responsibility to advocate for themselves”.
What form should be used?
P-3 Notice of Graduation Form : Use this form if a student is graduating with a regular high school diploma (SEE Diagram below).
- The first part of this form, which addresses graduation and whether or not the student will meet the requirements by end of the school year, MUST be discussed and completed by the IEP team during an IEP meeting.
- The second part is the Summary of Performance and does not have to be competed at an IEP meeting, but does need to be completed prior to the student’s last day of school. It can be developed at an earlier date (ie. during student's Junior year) if it will assist the student in accessing educational or employment opportunities. The sample form can be found on DPI's website or by clicking here.
P-4 Notice of Ending of Services Due to Age Form: A student with a disability who has not graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma has a right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) until the end of the school term in which they attain the age of 21 (34 CFR § 300.102; Wis. Stat. § 115.76). In this situation, the P-4 Notice of Ending of Services Due to Age Form is used to inform the parent and adult student the student will exceed the age of eligibility for FAPE and, therefore, will no longer be eligible for special education and related services (34 CFR § 300.503; Wis. Stats. § 115.792). The form also is used to provide the student with the required summary of academic achievement and functional performance (34 CFR § 300.305[e]).
How can the SoP assist a student who plans on attending a college or university?
According to Jan Chapman, Director of Academic Resources & Accessibility Services at Concordia University of Wisconsin, “For a student with a disability who is graduating and looking at attending a college or university, the Summary of Performance (SOP) becomes extremely important as the student transitions from high school education to post-secondary learning. Going through the process of developing the SOP in high school, can help the student understand their disability and allow the student to make an informed college selection. It can help the student practice disclosing their disability and discussing their learning preferences, as well as the accommodations that have been provided in the past. Learning to self-disclose their disability and acknowledging their strengths and needs, will help the Accessibility Office assign and approve various accommodations available to the student in higher education.”
U.S. Department of Education (Department), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities, Washington, D.C., 2017.
 Loman, S., Vatland, C., Strickland-Cohen, K., Horner, R., & Walker, H. (2010). Promoting self-determination: A practice guide. Retrieved from http://ngsd.org/sites/default/files/promoting_self-determination_a_practice_guide.pdf.