The Summary of Performance (SOP) is required under the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. The language as stated in IDEA 2004 regarding the SOP is as follows: For a child whose eligibility under special education terminates due to graduation with a regular diploma, or due to exceeding the age of eligibility, the local education agency "shall provide the child with a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals" §Sec. 300.305(e)(3).
The Summary of Performance, with the accompanying documentation, is important to assist the student in the transition from high school to higher education, training and/or employment. This information is necessary under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to help establish a student's eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in postsecondary settings. It is also useful for the Vocational Rehabilitation Comprehensive Assessment process. The information about students' current level of functioning is intended to help postsecondary institutions consider accommodations for access. These recommendations should not imply that any individual who qualified for special education in high school will automatically qualify for services in the postsecondary education or the employment setting. Postsecondary settings will continue to make eligibility decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The SOP is most useful when linked with the IEP process and the student has the opportunity to actively participate in the development of this document.
The SOP must be completed during the final year of a student's high school education. The timing of completion of the SOP may vary depending on the student's postsecondary goals. If a student is transitioning to higher education, the SOP, with additional documentation, may be necessary as the student applies to a college or university. Likewise, this information may be necessary as a student applies for services from state agencies such as vocational rehabilitation. In some instances, it may be most appropriate to wait until the spring of a student's final year to provide an agency or employer the most updated information on the performance of the student.