The Importance of S.M.A.R.T IEP Goals
S Specific goals and objectives “target areas of academic achievement and functional performance. They include clear descriptions of the knowledge and skills that will be taught and how the child’s progress will be measured.” (pg. 116)
Non specific: Joey will improve reading comprehension skills.
Specific: Given a 5th grade level reading passage with 5 paragraphs, Joey will read each paragraph, identify the main idea of the story and answer 6 reading comprehension questions at 80% accuracy on 4 of 5 samples.
M Measurable means that the goal can be measured by counting occurrences or by observation. “Measurable goals allow parents and teachers to know how much progress the child has made since the performance was last measured. With measurable goals, you will know when the child reaches the goal.” (pg. 116)
Non-measurable: Jack will improve his writing skills.
Measurable: Given a 5th grade writing prompt, Jack will compile a 4-5 paragraph essay at the 4.0 grade level or above using appropriate conventions on 3 samples.
A Action words – “IEP goals include three components that must be stated in measurable terms:
(a) direction of behavior (increase, decrease, maintain, etc.)
(b) area of need (ie: reading, writing, social skills, transition, communication, etc.)
(c) level of attainment (ie; to age level, without assistance, etc.)” (pg 116)
No use of action words: Luke will maintain an appropriate physical distance from his peers.
Use of action words: Provided with an appropriate social story and teacher facilitation, Luke will be able to remove himself from altercations with other students and ask the teacher for assistance in controlling his behavior to avoid inappropriate physical touching.
R Realistic and Relevant goals and objectives “address the child’s unique needs that result from the disability. SMART IEP goals are not based on district curricula, state or district tests, or other external standards.” (pg. 116)
Unrealistic Realistic: Evan will demonstrate improved performance on math word problems.
Realistic and relevant: Given a 5th grade level math word problem, Evan will draw pictures representing the word problem steps to assist him in visualizing the problem steps in order to comprehend the language of the math problem.
T “Time-limited goals enable you to monitor progress at regular intervals.” (pg. 117)
Not time limited: Rachel will improve her reading skills by 1 grade level.
Time-limited: Rachel will improve her reading skills from a 3.0 grade level to a 4.0 grade level by the end of the year.
Rachel will improve her reading skills from a 3.0 grade level to a 3.2 grade level within 9 weeks.
Rachel will improve her reading skills to a 3.4 grade level within 18 weeks
Rachel will improve her reading skills to a 3.7 grade level within 27 weeks.
Rachel will improve her reading skills to a 4.0 grade level within 1 year.
In addition to writing goals that fit the SMART criteria, we must learn to use the data provided to us by our educational team to help us write those goals. All test results, evaluations, benchmark tests and studies conducted on, with or for your child are available to you simply by asking for them. I encourage everyone to visit learn about the evaluations used on your child by the schools, learn what the scores mean and learn how to apply them to writing goals. The better educated we are, as parents, the better advocates we can be for our children.
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