What should be in an IEP goal?
A goal should be clear, specific, meaningful, measurable, achievable, appropriate, and well-written (see: what is a “SMART” goal?).
In a nutshell, an IEP goal contains six parts:
- Time frame: by what date should the IEP goal be met?
- Condition: what conditions need to be met for the student to meet this goal?
- Skill: what specific skill should the student master in the time frame?
- Supports: what supports are embedded in the goal to improve your child's success?
- Accuracy/Evaluation Criteria: how accurate does the student need to be to demonstrate mastery of the goal?
- Evaluation/Measurement: how will the student's performance be measured?
The goal itself should be accompanied by other important information:
- The baseline tells you what the starting point is and should report a measurable score on the criteria being measured in the goal (the baseline and the goal should match).
- Goals should also indicate if they are tied to a state curriculum standard (such as California Common Core State Standards) or are related to another need arising out of the child’s disability.
- The goal should also specifically assign responsibility to an IEP team member for the goal by their role (such as Speech Language Therapist) rather than by name or a general assignment (such as “district staff”). Note that more than one member of the IEP team can share responsibility.
While every IEP goal should contain a time frame, a condition, a skill, supports, accuracy, and evaluation, the best goal will be determined by the child’s unique circumstances. See our article Let’s Fix Those IEP Goals! to see how you can make changes to goals to improve them depending on your child’s needs and strengths.