Setting an IEP baseline: PLOP, PLAAFP, and PLP

At a glance

  • PLAAFP stands for present level of academic achievement and functional performance.

  • Some states/districts refer to it as PLAAFP, some as PLOP and some as PLP.

  • The PLOP serves as a starting point, or baseline, for the coming year’s IEP.

If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the IEP team will meet every year to bring it up to date. One of the first steps is to update your child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Some states/school districts refer to this as PLAAFP, some as PLOP and others as PLP. Whichever funny-sounding acronym is used where you live, you’ll need to understand this key component in your child’s IEP.

What does PLOP include?

The PLOP describes your child’s current abilities, skills, weaknesses, and strengths — academically, socially, and physically. It explains how learning differences affect your child’s ability to learn the . It also explains how your child handles academic subjects and everyday functional activities, from socializing to tying shoelaces.

Where does the IEP team get the information?

To write the PLOP, the IEP team draws information from several sources. They should include teacher observations and objective data, such as test results and scores. If you have information you think should be included, take it to the IEP meeting.

How is the PLOP written?

A useful PLOP is clearly written and includes specific details. Look at these examples:

  • Vague: Brianna is not progressing adequately in the second-grade reading curriculum.

  • Clear: Brianna is reading 15–20 words per minute (WPM) with three to eight errors in second-grade material. She reads slowly with inaccurate decoding skills.

How does the PLOP affect the rest of the IEP?

The PLOP serves as a starting point, or baseline, for the coming year’s IEP. From that baseline, the IEP team develops the IEP’s measurable annual goals. For instance, if the PLOP says a student has difficulty with , then the IEP should have a goal that addresses the issue.

It’s important that the PLOP not be simply copied “as is” from one year’s IEP to the next. (If you notice that the PLOP is the same, you may want to raise this point with the IEP team so that it is updated.) As kids mature and master skills, or as their work becomes more challenging, their performance and needs will change.

If you have information to add to your child’s PLOP, take it to the IEP meeting. Want suggestions on what to take? Refer to our checklist on what to bring to your child’s IEP meeting.

Key takeaways

  • A PLOP is based on a variety of tests, reports, observations and data.

  • This statement includes the child’s strengths as well as challenges.

  • It’s important that the details of a child’s present levels be clearly written, with specific details.


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