The new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are Georgia’s curriculum standards for all students in Kindergarten through 12th grade in the areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) require access to appropriate grade-level educational standards developed by the state be provided for students with significant cognitive impairments.
Access to the GPS can be in the form of objectives in the Individual Education Program (IEP) aligned (matched) with standards in the GPS or in the form of grade-level activities in which the student will practice and use skills and knowledge. Students will be assessed on using these skills as part of their educational program through the Georgia Alternative Assessment (GAA), when required.
Providing access to grade-level GPS will be different for each student, based upon individual strengths and needs. Teachers may utilize different types of instructional materials to teach academic content (including pictures, symbols, tactile objects, adapted books, and assistive technology), and students may show understanding using different methods (including using Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) devices to answer questions, matching symbols or tactile objects, using switches to make choices). Other skills important to the student, such as adapted behavior, self-help, communication and motor, will continue to be a part of each student’s IEP and instructional day.