5 Easy Steps for Writing an Effective and Measurable IEP Goal

Writing high quality goals can be one of the more challenging components of producing an effective IEP. Using the SMART approach to goal writing can allow Special Education teachers, Case Managers, and Administrators a framework to begin this process. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

The following steps are suggestions that Special Education staff can follow to begin writing SMART goals. 

Step 1

Understand your student. What behavior, or skill, is being addressed within this goal and what is the student’s current level of performance? In order to determine the student’s expected growth throughout the year, it’s important to know where they are starting.

Step 2

Establish a timeframe. Identify the amount of time in the goal period and specify a number of weeks or date of completion. For example, “within 36 instructional weeks”.

Step 3

Set the behavior. Identify the skill or performance being monitored, represented by an action that can be directly observed and measured. For example, “Student will read 100 wpm”.

Step 4

Give a condition. The condition identifies the manner in which progress toward the goal occurs. It describes the resources or conditions that must be presented for the student to reach the goal. For example, “at a 3.0 reading level”.

Step 5

Create the criteria. The criteria identifies how much, how often, or to what standard the behavior must occur in order to demonstrate that the goal has been achieved. Typically, this is conducted at a rate or percentage. For example, “with 80% accuracy”.

Step 6

Build your goal statement. “Within 36 instructional weeks, student will read 100 wpm at a 3.0 reading level with 80% accuracy.”

EmbraceIEP® offers a SMART Goal Builder template that uses this formula to assist users with writing efficient and attainable goals.

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