Three Steps To Better IEP Goals

Three Steps To Better IEP Goals

Clear and measurable goals are the key to a successful IEP.  Here are three steps for assuring better goals and objectives in your child’s IEP.

1.  Understand Your Child’s Current Functioning

The California Department of Education publishes grade level curriculum standards on its website.  Another good resource is the CARS+ handbook, also available online, which converts the content standards into goals and objectives.  You can review your child’s homework and tests and compare what they are doing to the grade level content standards.  Another strategy is to give a copy of the current and prior year’s standards to your child’s teacher and ask them to identify those not yet met.  This will provide valuable guidance for the areas that require goals and objectives.

2.  Be Sure To Get A Report On The Progress On Each Of The Previous Year’s Goals

At each annual IEP meeting, the school district is required to report progress on the previous year’s goals.  Be sure to review each of the previous year’s goals and request that progress be reported in the same way the previous goal was written.  For example, if a goal provides that the student will read a passage with 80% comprehension, make sure the progress is reported in terms of the percentage achieved, not just a general statement that there has been “good progress” on the goal.  Also, make sure you see the evidence on which the determination of progress has been based, such as work samples or data collection.

3.  Make Sure You Understand How Progress On The New Goals Will Be Demonstrated

The measurement of goals can be confusing, and it is very important to completely understand how progress will be determined.  First, make sure that the goal is clear and does not include too many elements.  For example, a goal that the student will “initiate and respond to peers and adults individually and in groups” is just too complicated to be measurable.  Also, make sure you understand exactly what the proposed measurement means.  For example, a goal may provide for 80% success in 3 out of 4 trials could mean 80% success in 3 trials and none in the fourth; or an average of 80% success over four trials; or 100% success in 3 out of 4 trials.  Additionally, you should understand and agree with how progress will be demonstrated.  For example, teacher observation is very subjective as compared with data collection.  Keep asking questions until you completely understand what is required for the goal to be met.

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