The Individual Education Program (IEP) is every exceptional or identified student's lifeline for academic success. If students with special needs are to achieve the academic curriculum or an alternative curriculum to the best of their ability and as independently as possible, the professionals involved in the delivery of their programming must have a plan in place.
The IEP goals should be developed with the following criteria:
Before setting goals the team must first determine the present level of performance using various assessment tools, the needs must be clearly and specifically defined. When determining IEP goals consider the student's classroom placement, is the student in the least hindering environment. Do the goals coordinate with the regular classroom activities and schedules and do they follow the general curriculum?
After the goals have been identified, it is then stated how the team will help the student to achieve the goals, this is referred to as the measurable part of the goals. Each goal must have a clearly stated objective how, where and when each task will be implemented. Define and list any adaptations, aides or supportive techniques that may be required to encourage success. Clearly explain how progress will be monitored and measured. Be specific about time frames for each objective. Expect goals to be achieved at the end of an academic year. Objectives are skills required to achieve the desired goal, objectives should be accomplished in shorter intervals.
Team Members: IEP team members are parents of the student, special education teacher, classroom teacher, support workers and outside agencies involved with the individual. Each member of the team plays a vital role in the development of a successful IEP.
Education Program Plans can become overwhelming and unrealistic. A good rule of thumb is to set one goal for each academic strand. This enables the teams manageability and accountability to ensure that resources are available to help the individual achieve the desired goals.
If the student IEP meets all of the student needs and is focused on skills for success, results and outcomes, the student with special needs will have every opportunity for academic achievement no matter how challenging their needs may be.
See Page 2 for an IEP Sample