Whether you’re heading into IEP goal writing season this spring or your district writes year-round goals, simplifying the process is undoubtedly appealing. We spoke with educators about their tips for creating effective goals and, more importantly, helping students achieve them. Which of these resonates most with you?
Start at the End
Starting at the end may feel like reading the book's last page first, but knowing how you want the story to end and determining what you want the student to achieve and how it will be measured will make your IEPs meaningful and create a unique story for each student.
Realistic Not Fiction
We’ve all fallen into the trap of unattainable or unrealistic goals, and the best way to avoid that common challenge is to write specific and measurable goals. Think about the SMART framework we often encourage students to follow -- Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. Shouldn’t this apply to the goals we write as well?
Pie-in-the-sky goals set students up for failure. Use valid and reliable data to find students’ present level of performance and pinpoint specific academic achievements that will push students to experience success. Identify the short-term objectives that will lead to incremental progress toward the larger goals. Software programs like Classworks provide the assessment to determine present levels and the automatically generated objectives.
Not Too Complex or Too General
When determining the annual goal, anticipate how you will measure progress and determine success. Don’t get caught up in writing a very specific and complex IEP goal for a student; forget to identify how you will measure progress throughout the year. Otherwise, you may find yourself at the end of the school year without real evidence of the student’s efforts or improvement.
Effective IEP goals will identify an expectation for a student and outline a specific way to measure it. For example, Classworks Progress Monitoring tracks weekly progress on the specific objectives you’ve identified as part of the IEP. From the start, when you’re identifying the goal and objectives, you already have a built-in way to measure and report progress.
Students take a brief probe each week; that data is automatically plotted for teachers and available in real time. Classworks delivers instruction based on the objectives. Each student is working on lessons related to their individual goals. Teachers have standards and skill-based reports showing student progress on their goal-based lessons.
Don't Set It and Forget It
Goals should be revisited often. Don’t set them at the beginning of the year and forget them until the end of the year. Not only will this create more work for you, but it will dilute the end goal. The ultimate goal is always for the student to accomplish the goal and move on to the next!
When determining IEP goals, you should have access to data outlining strengths and areas of need. Each area of need should have one to two goals. Monitor goals with assessment data three times a year and use weekly or bi-weekly progress monitoring to understand where students are throughout the year and make quick adjustments.
Consider the Child's Classification/Disability
When writing IEP goals, it is essential to consider the child's classification/disability. An IEP should focus on the disability and less on the curriculum standards. Educators are often tied to both, which causes unaligned IEP goals and leads to consistency.
Give Students the Resources to Meet Goals AND Close Gaps
Once you create an IEP goal, it’s time to determine the resources students need to accomplish the goal. For example, what type of instruction or activities will help the student make progress if there are specific skills for the student to improve?
Ensure students have access to high-quality instruction customized to the specific goals and objectives identified in your IEP. Technology helps in this regard. Take advantage of programs that automatically individualize.
Additionally, special education students need time to close gaps by working on evidence-based interventions and instruction related to their IEP goals. Just like general education students, students receiving special education services should have the opportunity to close gaps below-grade level that help them experience better success on-grade level. Grade-level proficiency and success is the goal for all students.
Classworks ensures that students engage with high-quality reading and math lessons at their instructional level to accelerate their path to grade-level proficiency.
Save Time with Automatically-generated IEP Objectives
If you don’t have access to a program to help you simplify your IEP process or deliver the individualized interventions your students need to achieve their goals, take a look at Classworks!
A wow moment for many special educators is the ability to simply copy and paste the most relevant objectives into their IEP software. For more information about how Classworks supports IEPs and intervention, view this video or request a customized demo.
Make Successful IEP Goals A Reality
Classworks is helping teachers create meaningful IEP goals based on data in classrooms throughout the country. Educational teams love the academic instruction for students that aligns with individual IEP goals. Make life easier for everyone with student progress that is automatically tracked. Chat with us on the right of your screen for how we can help your team!