Winning Gold with High-Quality IEP Goals

July 27, 2023

You may have heard that helping your students achieve their IEP goals is a marathon, not a sprint. However, creating measurable goals and determining how to consistently track progress may feel like you’re starting the race with an uphill climb.  

To make the marathon more successful and way less painful, let's break down the process into clear more streamlined steps that will lead to the gold -- measurable, ambitious, and attainable IEP goals.

In the latest Guide from Classworks, we outline six steps to create and document quality IEP goals:

1. Establishing a Student’s Baseline or Present Level of Performance
2. Determining a Relevant Standard or Statement of Annual Goal for the IEP
3. Writing a Measurable Goal
4. Monitoring Progress Toward the Goal
5. Delivering Instruction to Achieve the Goal
6. Documenting Student Progress

Establishing a Student’s Baseline or Present Level of Performance

The first step in creating an IEP for a student is to learn what skills will most benefit them and the appropriate level for those skills. This is often determined with a valid and reliable screening tool. High-quality screeners have under-gone rigorous scientific testing and can identify students who are at risk. The resulting data shows student strengths and weaknesses above and below grade level and has the sensitivity to properly identify a student’s present level of performance.

Teachers then use these results to write a summary of the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) that includes the student’s baseline performance. Comparing a student’s score to grade-level target scores is commonly included in a PLAAFP. The academic information is the anchor to the present level data, but it should be accompanied by a short narrative describing what the teacher observes about the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Classworks Academic Screener, an NCII-validated screener, provides key data to create the PLAAFP statement. The test is available in Reading and Mathematics for grades K-10. Data reported includes the test name and level, the date completed, the student’s score, national percentile rank, and grade level equivalency. This same information is also displayed by domain. Classworks includes copy/paste functionality for easy IEP goal creation.

Determining a Relevant Standard or Statement of Annual Goal for the IEP
Once the student’s PLAAFP is established, writing the IEP begins. The first step is to determine a standard or statement of the annual goal. This standard gives the academic IEP an overall focus. This standard typically corresponds to the student’s enrolled or chronological grade, regardless of the student’s present level of performance. Determining the standard can be challenging without guidance from data.

A high-quality screener should suggest grade-level standards to use as the annual goal for the IEP. Even if the student’s PLAAFP is far below grade level, the screener data should indicate standards at the student’s enrolled or chronological grade to provide options for an overarching focus for the IEP.

Classworks Screener results include a list of the grade level standards measured on the test. Teachers select a standard from this list to serve as the focus for the IEP. Typically this will relate to the area of greatest need for the student as reported by domain.

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For more information about how Classworks supports IEPs and intervention, view this video or request a customized demo.

About Classworks
‍Classworks is helping teachers create meaningful IEP goals based on data in classrooms nationwide. 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!

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