• Commonly Used Terms in Special Education

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    Child Study Team (CST) – Consists of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher/consultant and school social worker who are employees of the school district responsible for conducting evaluations to determine eligibility for special education and related services for students with disabilities.

    Extended School Year (ESY) – Special education and related services provided to a student with a disability beyond the normal school year in accordance with the student’s IEP and at no cost to the parent.

    Evaluation – The tests and other assessment procedures, including a review of information, that are used to decide whether your child is eligible for special education services.

    Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – Special education and related serviced that are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, without charge to the parents, meet state and federal requirements; include preschool, elementary school and secondary school education; and are provided according to an IEP.


    Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) – The process of coming to an understanding of why a student engages in challenging behavior and how student behavior relates to the environment.  The purpose of the functional behavioral assessment is to gather information to better understand the specific reasons for the student’s problem behavior.  (Functional Behavioral Assessment: Policy Development in light of Emerging Research and Practice, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, March 1998)

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – The federal statute that mandates a FAPE for students with disabilities. In New Jersey, students ages 3 through 21 are included.

    Identification – The decision to evaluate a child to determine whether special education services are needed.

    Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A written plan developed at a meeting that includes appropriate school staff and parents. It determines the special education program for a student with disabilities through individually designed instructional activities constructed to meet goals and objectives established for the student. It establishes the rationale for a student’s placement and documents the provision of FAPE.

    Individualized Education Program Team (IEP Team) – The group of individuals who are responsible for the development, review and revision of the student's individualized education program. The team comprises the parent, the student (if appropriate), required school personnel and other knowledgeable individuals at the discretion of the school district or parent.

    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – Sets the standard that students with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate. It means that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of students with disabilities from the general educational environment should occur only when the severity of the disability is such that education in general education classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

    Manifestation Determination – The process for reviewing your child’s misconduct (behavior) to determine whether a removal that is a change of placement can be implemented as a disciplinary action.  The review is conducted at a meeting of the IEP team and other qualified personnel.  The team must consider all relevant information in terms of your child’s misconduct (behavior).  

Last Modified on March 17, 2023