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Learn About IEP Goals for Special Education Students

written by: thefalcon • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 6/6/2012

Understanding how IEP goals for special education students are set and measured is important for everyone involved, teachers, parents, and the child involved. Proactive planning can make sure the right expectations are set for the best outcome for the special needs student.

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    Developing the IEP Goals

    Special education students require extra attention to attain their education goals. Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals are developed during IEP meetings between the school and parents. The goals developed will come from objectives setup during these meetings. Creating attainable IEP goals is crucial in the success of the special education student.

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    Creating the IEP Goals

    Based off IEP objectives, among other factors, IEP goals are developed on what the IEP team thinks the student will accomplish over the year. With evaluations of current student performance, the creation of IEP goals can focus on the areas of improvement for the special education student.

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    Number of IEP Goals

    When creating goals, it is important to not specify too large a number of goals for the year. Creating a large number of IEP goals can overwhelm everyone involved and make all of the goals unattainable. By setting one or two “major" goals and one or two “smaller" goals for the year, attainability of the goals will be more realistic.

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    Progress Towards IEP Goals

    The IEP team is responsible for the setting of goals and ensuring that they are attained throughout the year. Different members comprise this team – the special education teacher, aides, therapists, the parents and the student. Each member of the team has responsibilities in helping to set and accomplish the IEP goals. Without the entire team working together, the goals will not be attainable throughout the year.

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    Measurable IEP Goals

    The goals that are created by the IEP team must be measurable and attainable throughout the year. Progress towards the goals set will be measured by all members of the IEP team. There are sometimes differences between parents and teachers on if and how much progress is being made towards the IEP goals.

    The goals should be aligned with the state’s academic standards while still attainable. It is a requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that the student’s IEP will include a summary of how the student’s progress will be measured and when progress reports will be administered.

    It is always a good idea to have regular communication and informal meetings between parents and teachers to discuss the progress of the student towards his/her IEP goals.

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    Sample IEP Goal

    Annual IEP goals are setup to be measurable by different school personnel. Here is an example of an IEP goal:

    Sample IEP Long – Term Goal for Grammar:

    Student is not able to select correct capitalization and punctuation in sentences.

    Annual goal is to have student using correct punctuation and capitalization in sentences at 80% accuracy.

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    Choosing attainable IEP goals along with the care and attention of the IEP team will ensure the success of the special education student in achieving the desired academic goals.