How Is the Present Level of Performance (PLOP) Defined?

Why this Section of the IEP Matters

Primary school: understanding maths
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How is the present level of performance (PLOP) defined? Learn more about the significance of this section of your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with this review.

Why the PLOP Is Important

Also known as the PLP or the present level of academic and functional performance (PLAAFP), the present level of performance is the portion of your child's IEP that details how she is doing academically at the moment.

 An accurate and complete PLOP is essential for determining appropriate goals for your child. After all, if you and your child's teachers can't agree on where a child is starting from, how can you determine where he should go?

While fine tuning an IEP, teachers, therapists and parents should contribute their observations about the student's performance level in academic and non-academic areas. This can be determined by a portfolio of the student's work, report cards and notes about the student's interpersonal skills. Also, test scores should be included as appropriate to further document the student's current ability.

Discussing the PLOP

There should be some discussion of your child's PLOP at the IEP meeting, and if you disagree with what the professionals are saying -- whether they're undervaluing your child's abilities or overestimating them -- make sure that your point of view is included in the IEP as well.

Don't be afraid to raise objections to goals that do not take the PLOP into account. 

For example, if your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and blurts out answers in class, you can object to the goals of the IEP if they don't address correcting such behavior. That's because such outbursts can have consequences for your child and the other children in the classroom.

Asking Questions About Current Performance Level

You should also feel free to question any scores or findings you don't understand. Professionals often rattle off numbers in a way that's hard for parents to follow and aren't always able or willing to translate this information into layman's terms. But everything about the PLOP and the IEP needs to be specific and measurable. That means if it can't be explained in a comprehensible way, it is arguably neither of those things.

PLOP is the base on which goals are built, and if you can't understand it, you can't be sure whether the goals are right for your child. It may be helpful to bring a professional advocate along who can talk the talk and translate it for you. You should also consider consulting with members of local parent advocacy groups, who may be able to coach you to do the same.​​​

You want to be able to trust your IEP team, certainly. But trusting them doesn't mean that you shouldn't verify the goals and objectives they include on your child's educational plan. After all, teachers, counselors, and other school personnel are often overworked and may inadvertently overlook issues concerning your child that need to be addressed.

While you certainly don't want to enter into an unnecessary conflict with your child's team of educators, your top priority is to your child.

Speak up and ask questions when you think it's important to do so.

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