- Time Limited
When writing goals, keep the following tips in mind:
Be very specific about the action. For instance: raise his/her hand for attention, use a classroom voice, read the pre-primer Dolch Words, complete homework, keep hands to him/herself, point to I want, I need augmentative symbols.
Then you need to provide a time frame or location/context for the goal. For instance: during silent reading time, while in the gym, at recess time, by the end of 2nd term, point to 3 picture symbols when something is needed.
Then decide what determines the success of the goal. For instance:how many consecutive periods will the child remain on task? How many gym periods? How fluent will the child read the words - without hesitation and prompting? What percentage of accuracy? How often?
What to Avoid
A vague, broad or general goal is unacceptable in the IEP. Goals that state will improve reading ability, will improve his/her behavior, will do better in math should be stated much more specifically with reading levels or benchmarks, or frequency or level of improvement to attain and a time frame for when the improvement will occur. Using "will improve his/her behavior'is also not specific. Although you may want behavior improved, which specific behaviors are targeted first along with when and how are a critial part of the goal.
If you can remember the meaning behind the acronym SMART, you will be prompted to write better goals that will lead to student improvement. It's also a good practice to include the child in setting goals if appropriate. This will ensure that the student takes ownership over reaching his/her goals. Make sure you review goals regularly. Goals will need to be reviewed to ensure that the goal is 'achievable'. Setting a goal too high is almost as bad as not having a goal at all.
Some Final Tips:
- Include any curricular modifications. If the curriculum states that the goal is to count to 50 and you state count to 10, this is a modification.
- Include any curricular accommodations. This will include things like: scribing, a quite setting to take tests, assistive technology etc.
- Provide any support staff that will be involved in the IEP
- Indicate materials and or resources to be used
- Most importantly, make sure the IEP is based on priorities for the student.