How Goals are Created

Creating goals for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) involves a collaborative process between the IEP team, which typically includes the parents, educators, special education professionals, and sometimes the student. Here’s how goals for an IEP are created, what they are based on, and how to identify well-written goals:

How Goals for an IEP are Created:

  1. Assessment and Evaluation: The IEP team conducts a comprehensive assessment of the student’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and needs across various domains, including academic, cognitive, social-emotional, communication, physical, and adaptive skills.
  2. Present Levels of Performance (PLOP): The team reviews the Present Levels of Performance (PLOP) section of the student’s IEP, which outlines the student’s current abilities, performance levels, and areas of need. The PLOP serves as the foundation for developing goals that address the student’s individualized needs.
  3. Identification of Priority Areas: Based on the assessment data and PLOP, the IEP team identifies priority areas for the student’s growth and development. These priority areas may include academic skills, functional abilities, social skills, behavior management, communication skills, and other areas relevant to the student’s educational program.
  4. SMART Goals: The IEP team develops Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals that are tailored to the student’s individual needs, abilities, and circumstances. SMART goals provide clear and objective targets for monitoring the student’s progress and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.
  5. Consideration of Parent and Student Input: The IEP team considers input from parents, guardians, and the student (if appropriate) when developing goals for the IEP. Parents and students provide valuable insights into the student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and goals, which help inform the development of meaningful and relevant goals.
  6. Alignment with Curriculum Standards: Goals are aligned with grade-level academic standards, curriculum expectations, and educational benchmarks to ensure that the student’s educational program is aligned with state and district requirements. Goals should reflect the knowledge and skills the student needs to succeed in the general education curriculum.
  7. Individualized Supports and Services: Goals are accompanied by individualized supports, accommodations, modifications, and related services that are necessary to help the student achieve their goals and participate in educational activities. These supports may include specialized instruction, assistive technology, behavior interventions, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other services as needed.
  8. Monitoring and Progress Reporting: The IEP team establishes procedures for monitoring the student’s progress toward IEP goals and objectives. Progress is regularly monitored, documented, and reported to parents through progress reports, report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and IEP meetings.