Do IEP teams have the authority to retain a student to repeat a grade level, or promote a student eligible for special education to the next grade level?

Published: June 23rd, 2016

Arizona law  invests in teachers the duty to make the decision to promote a pupil from grade to grade or retain a pupil, and to pass or fail a pupil in a course in high school. [See A.R.S. § §  15-701(E) and 15-701.01(E)] The teacher’s decision may be overturned by the public education agency’s governing board. [A.R.S. § 15-342(11)] However, a statute commonly referred to as Move on When Reading prohibits a pupil from being promoted from the third grade if the pupil obtains a score on the reading portion of the AIMS test (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards), or a successor test, that demonstrates that the pupil’s reading falls far below the third grade reading level. [A.R.S. § 15-701(A)(2)(a)] However, it is important to note that a child with a disability may be promoted from the third grade even if he or she falls far below the third grade reading standards “if the pupil’s individualized education program [IEP] team and the pupil’s parent or guardian agrees that promotion is appropriate based on the pupil’s individualized education program.” [A.R.S. § 15-701(A)(2)(b)(ii)]