This case is of particular importance because so often schools will rely on good grades to justify the appropriateness of placement/program recommendations. Yet, the validity of grades achieved in a self contained setting is often suspect. Here, the ALJ weighed the results of standardized tests and the testimony of experts against the surface appeal of the good grades buttressed by the testimony of school district personnel and concluded that the child was not receiving a FAPE despite the good grades. The 3rd Circuit noted that
we think that it is clear that a court should not place conclusive significance on special education classroom scores, a conclusion that we believe is reinforced by the circumstance that, as here, there may be a disconnect between a school's assessment of a student in a special education setting and his achievements in that setting and the student's achievements in standardized testing.[fn8] When there is such a disconnect we think that there should be an especially close examination of the appropriateness of the student's education.