When it comes to creating goals for your IEP, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Many educators make the mistake of thinking of their goals as the curriculum, but this is not the case. Goals are the part of the curriculum we measure and guarantee progress on over the course of the year through IEP paperwork. Because goals are so important, it’s critical to make sure that they’re meaningful, as poorly written or meaningless goals can cause a student to waste an entire school year.
Federal law says that IEP goals must meet the child’s needs, engage the child in and make progress in the general ed curriculum, and meet the child’s other needs that result from their disability.
Where to start
When SPED instructor Ayo Jones was working with a teacher on the topic of goal writing, she noticed that every single student in the social studies class was working on the same goal: to identify cardinal points on a compass with 70% accuracy. The problem with this is that every student is different and has different needs, so having every student work on the same goal is doing a disservice to them. When thinking of your IEP goals, you should ask yourself two questions: Has this goal been individualized for each student? And is this a critical area of need for every single student?
Applying those questions to the case of the teacher, none of their students were baselining at the same point, and they didn’t all have the same rate of growth. And for the second question, with the advent of map apps, most people don’t practically need to know the cardinal directions, so this is not a critical area of need.
When you’re picking your IEP goals for your students, you’ll want to start with the areas of need identified in the PLAAFP statement (both academic and functional). From there, you’ll identify the related state academic standards for the student’s grade. For example, if your student is enrolled in a math course, they should be working towards a math goal. Lastly, determine what is reasonable to achieve in the 12 months until the annual goal. It has to be based on what a student can reasonably achieve in a year, which is also based on where they’re starting from.
Learn more about IEP goals
Whether this is your first time creating goals for your IEPs or you just need a refresher course to brush up on what you know, this course was made for you. In the course, Drafting Meaningful IEP Goals, SPED educator Ayo Jones goes through everything you need to know, including the parts of a goal, what to write, and reporting on your goals. She even works through the process with an example student that will help participants get a firsthand look into how to create meaningful IEP goals for their students.
In this 30-minute course presented by Noodle Nook, you’ll learn:
- What to write in your IEP goals
- Parts of a goal
- Cues and prompts
- Aligning benchmarks
- Functional goals
- Reporting on goals