The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion on the FAPE standard on March 22, 2017.
In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the parents of a child with autism rejected the school district's proposed IEP and unilaterally enrolled him in private school. They later filed a due process complaint seeking reimbursement of his tuition.
The District prevailed at the hearing level, on appeal to the federal district court, and on further appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, as the courts found that the student had made some progress in public school.
The U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case, saying that the IDEA demands "merely more than de minimis" progress from year to year. "To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances."
For students in the general education classroom, appropriate progress means an IEP which is reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive passing grades and yearly advancement to higher grade levels. The Court declined to describe what "appropriate" progress would look like for other students.