Select Page

What is the PLAAFP?

The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement (PLAAFP or “present levels”) is a key part of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). PLAAFPs describe what your child can do now or at what level your child is performing in a particular area and should cover all areas of development where your child may need support.

Some examples are:

  • Academic skills – counting, pre-reading, pre-writing
  • Daily living or self-help skills – dressing, eating, using the bathroom
  • Social skills, playing with friends
  • Behavior
  • Sensory skills – hearing, seeing
  • Communication skills – talking, listening
  • Mobility – getting around in school and the community

What is the Purpose of the PLAAFP?

The purpose of the PLAAFP is to identify the kinds and amount of services your child may need to receive. So the PLAAFP statement includes information about how your child’s disability affects his or her involvement in the general education curriculum. If your child is preschool age, his PLAAFP will focus on how his disability affects his involvement in typical preschool activities and development. In other words, you and the rest of the team will talk about the impact your child’s disability has on his ability to learn and do the kinds of things that children without disabilities learn and do.

A well-written PLAAFP statement will describe:

  • Your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • What helps your child learn
  • What limits or interferes with your child’s learning
  • Objective data from current evaluations of your child
  • How your child’s disability affects his or her ability to be involved and progress in the general education curriculum

Did you know?

All students who receive special education services must have a PLAAFP. 

Did you know?

As parents, we want to make sure that all of the positive things about our child are included in the IEP. This is important information, but it does not belong in the PLAAFP statement unless it can guide teachers in helping your child. For example, “Aaron loves music” may be important to note if music helps calm Aaron, or if Aaron is able to learn new information through a song. This type of information is useful for teachers as they work with your child. Other positive information that does not have an impact on behavior or learning is important. It needs to be somewhere else in the IEP, not in the present levels statement. 

The PLAAFP is the Foundation of the Student’s IEP

The PLAAFP statement includes details about how your child’s disability impacts their involvement in the general education curriculum. Along with the IEP team, you will examine the impact your child’s disability has on his or her ability to learn. 

  • Based on current information from a variety of sources
  • Spotlights the area of need (academic and/or functional)
  • Focuses instructional support
  • Describes CURRENT performance in measurable terms
  • Provides baseline data to measure progress and starting place for instruction

What’s in the PLAAFP?

Current Information From a Variety of Sources.

The ARD committee will review recent evaluation information available on your child, such as the previous year’s STAAR test, other assessments, and classroom achievement.

If your child is new to special education, this information will come from the tests and observations done during your child’s evaluation for eligibility. If your child’s IEP is being reviewed and revised, the information may come from evaluations done during the year.

Teachers and others who work with your child may offer information they’ve learned by observing your child’s day-to-day school routine. You as a parent can and should provide information that can help shape his PLAAFP.

Spotlights The Area(s) of Need

Academic Achievement (PLAAFP) focuses on what specific kinds of academic information and skills your child has mastered – such as reading at a certain grade level, or performing certain mathematical calculations for example. 

Functional Performance (PLAAFP) refers to other areas of achievement that are not academic.  It can include information about your child’s social skills, communication skills, and other activities of daily living (ADL). 

Describes the Student’s Current Performance in Measurable Terms

It is important that the PLAAFP statements be based on objective data, teacher observations can be an important part of the data . The PLAAFP statements should include information about the impact of your child’s disability on how much he/she is acessing and progressing in the general education curriculum (TEKS).

Provides Baseline Data to Measure Progress and Starting Place for Instruction

The PLAAFP is the basis on which the ARD committee will write goals for your child’s educational year. It gives the ARD committee a starting place. 

Focused Instructional Support

  • There should be a direct relationship between evaluation/assessment information and PLAAFP statements.
  • Choose areas that are most critical to meet the child’s needs, enabling the child to achieve expected skills/concepts.
  • Choose functional skills that are essential to supporting success in the general education environment.

Why it Matters?

A clearly written and thorough PLAAFP is important, because it leads to the creation of the annual goals, accommodations, modifications, and other services outlined in the IEP.  IEP goals are based upon your child’s present levels. Special education and related services are based on it, too. So take your time in writing the PLAAFP, or present levels statement. Be thorough. The information you include will be the stepping stone for the rest of the IEP.

Want to Know More?

Dig Deeper and learn more about the special education process in Texas using the following resources:

SPED Parent Handbook

Gives parents a basic grounding in the special education process and the use of strategies, facilitation skills, and techniques to improve the process.


IDEA Legal Framework

  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards
  • Special Education Rules & Regulations


Texas Project First

Search for evaluation procedures, evaluation rights-overview, special education eligibility rules.


Share This