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Alabama's Standards-Based IEP Initiative

Since 2003, Alabama has provided training, resources, and support to local education agencies (LEAs) to more effectively focus instruction on academic content standards and implement the requirement of providing access to the general curriculum to all students, including students with disabilities. 

Alabama Curriculum Guides

In addition to comprehensive professional development for Alabama’s teachers and administrators, Curriculum Guides to the Alabama Courses of Study are developed and disseminated following the adoption of state content standards by the Alabama State Board of Education.  Teachers use the Curriculum Guides to close the gap between grade-level content and the student’s instructional level. 

The Curriculum Guides provide a series of prerequisite and enabling skills that may be taught to help students access grade-level content standards that were missed in an earlier grade. As curriculum committees develop the guides, state assessment resources, such as the item specifications for the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, are used to help teachers more fully understand the connections among content standards, classroom instruction, and state assessment. Teachers report that they use the Curriculum Guides to pre-asses skills to discover the content students do and do not know. If a small group of students, for example, requires additional knowledge/skills to understand grade-level content, the general and special education teachers can plan classroom instruction accordingly. Additionally, general and special education teachers use the Alabama Curriculum Guides to match student needs with evidence-based practices such as collaborative teaching, peer tutoring, and flexible instructional grouping. Alabama teachers report that the Curriculum Guides have helped to address the achievement gap often experienced by students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

Alabama Extended Standards

The Alabama Extended Standards for Reading, Mathematics, and Science are extensions of the state academic content standards for each grade level. The Alabama Extended Standards are based on the academic content standards found in the Alabama Course of Study. They are designed to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities to progress toward state standards while beginning at each student’s present level of performance. As required by law, the Alabama Extended Standards are clearly related to the grade-level content, but are reduced in scope and complexity. The Alabama Extended Standards for Reading, Mathematics, and Science were developed by teams of people from around the state including parents, special education teachers from public and state supported agencies, general education teachers, and university professors.

Link to ACDD Advocate article about Alabama Extended Standards.

For more information about SES Curriculum, contact

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