What Is the Average Time To Spend Writing an IEP? | TeachTastic

Updated: May 24


In a recent national survey, 55 participants were asked, on average, how long it took them to write an IEP. What we discovered was that there were three types of IEP writers. There are the minimalists, the detail-oriented and organized, and the over the toppers or new teachers. Each teacher described their writing process and how they organized to provide individualized and detailed IEP’s for their students. Each keeping in mind the time investment and how districts compensate for caseload management.

Districts average for writing an IEP is between 1 to 2 point five hours of pay. Anything above that is done for free.
Districts average for writing an IEP is between 1 to 2.5 hours of pay.

To answer the question "How long does it take to write an IEP? There needed to be a few factors discussed and a good survey panel before giving hard facts.


Districts average for an IEP is between 1 to 2.5 hours of pay and that includes the writing and the iep meeting time.


Iep Writing Traits of a Minimalist Case Manager

Here is a note from one of our special education teacher participants that we can gain some good takeaways from.

  • Michelle LR writes that a new-to-you or brand new IEP will take hours. But, if it is an annual IEP that she wrote last year, it doesn't take long to update the present levels and goals and proof the rest. She also includes that it is hard to know how much time was spent, because she usually does it in spurts--20 minutes during my prep time, 15 minutes until the staff meeting starts, again the next day when she can, then finishes at home.

  • J Martin writes that she created a word doc with all the generic blurb and descriptions she might or has included in the past. She goes through the online systems and makes her personalized notes. It has saved so much time.

  • B Hanson writes that she also has a phrase bank that she uses and includes terms or paragraphs from other Special Education Teachers or School Psychologists that she likes and would like to remember and add in her writing.

The average time to spend writing an IEP is difficult to estimate, as different people work differently and in different ways. However, some tips from special education teachers include having a minimalist case manager approach, using a word doc with generic blurb and descriptions, and using a phrase bank. This can save time in the long run.


There is no harm in reusing when someone else said it better!

Common Phrases for a Special Education Teacher When Writing Ieps


Every special education teacher has a particular writing style that is individual to them. But if looked at carefully, those unique styles form patterns. Specific phrases that you often use to describe the situation are reused and personalized to the student as needed. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you write an IEP. Create a document of phrases that you use often and have them on the ready when writing time comes. You will write half as much but still give the student's IEP the individualized it deserves.


Writing Templates and Phrases for Student Strengths

Looking to help your students shine through strengths-based ieps? Student strength lists can help! This guide walks teachers through the process of writing clear and positive student strengths narratives. From student work habits (work independently) to academics (reading comprehension), every area of a child's development can be highlighted using this easy-to-use, step-by-step guide. Make your narratives shine with a student strength lists guide!

Student Strengths Statement Framework

  • When writing a profile of the student's strengths, think about the child as a whole.

  • What are the strengths that make the student academically successful?

  • What are strengths that the student has that make them socially adaptable or socially accepted?

Writing Templates and Sample Phrases for Adverse Impact Statements

  1. Logan's specific learning disability impacts academic progress in all areas of the general education program. There are significant learning struggles in the areas of reading skills that will require specially designed instruction.

  2. Logan's health impairment impacts academic progress in all areas of the general education program. There are significant learning struggles in the areas of math and social/behavior skills that will require specially designed instruction.

Writing Templates and Sample Phrases for General and Academic

  1. Logan's student academic character profile reflects many (22) absences and five (vulgar language) behavior/discipline referrals unrelated to attendance with general work habits showing more than 10 missing assignments.


Math current unit assessment grades are reported at a proficiency level 2

=> Elaborate further details here


English Language Art grades are reported at a proficiency level 2.5

=>Elaborate further details here


These grades can reflect attendance and student motivation more than a measure of present levels of performance. Please see specific categories for more accurate findings of skill mastery and skill growth.


Narrative example:

  1. Jenny is helpful in class and eager to learn new concepts. When working towards an IEP goal, she has a growth mindset and perceivers through challenges.

  2. ​José is caring and kind and demonstrates loyalty in friendship. When working towards an IEP goal, he is curious about new material and is open to new ideas.

  3. Jenny actively participates in class discussions and engages well in peer-to-peer workgroups. When working towards an IEP goal, she will ask for help when needed and accept help when offered.

  4. ​​José follows classroom rules and expectations and actively participates in table groups. When working in the classroom, he will accept help when offered if it is done quietly.

For a full list of narrative samples to copy and use in your ieps click here


Communication needs of the student:

  • Logan is not deaf or hard of hearing and does not currently identify as needing language or communication services.

  • Logan is deaf or hard of hearing and does currently identify as needing language or communication services. =>Elaborate further details here


Assistive Technology needs of the student:

  • Logan does not currently identify as a student in need of assistive technology devices or services beyond those that are provided to all general education students.

  • Logan does currently identify as a student in need of assistive technology devices or services beyond those that are provided to all general education students. =>Elaborate further details here


Behavior that impedes learning of the student or others:

  • behavior does not impede learning or that of others and is not currently in need of services in this area.

  • behavior can impede learning and that of others but is not currently in need of services in this area. Current working strategies are through PBIS methods and would not warrant a formalized behavior intervention plan (BIP). =>Elaborate further details here

  • behavior does impede learning and that of others and is currently in need of services in this area. =>Elaborate further details here including BIP