SMART IEP Goals
The goals on your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) lay the framework for their education, but what makes a good goal? IEP goals (and any goal for that matter) should be SMART. That is, they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and timely.
Specific. Goals should clearly describe the skill the student is learning. Goals should never be vague. If you moved to another school district, the new teacher should be able to read the goals and know exactly what is being taught.
Measurable. Goals should be observable and measurable. Progress can be measured through standardized testing, curriculum-based measurement, work samples, and teacher data sheets.
Attainable. Goals represent a skill that is reachable for your child. Goals are based on Present Levels of Performance, not state curriculum standards.
Realistic and Relevant. Goals should be unique to your child. This includes academics, communication, social skills, functional skills, and vocational goals as appropriate.
Timely. Goals set out what a student can accomplish in one year of special education services or less. Progress monitoring should take place at regular intervals.
How to Develop SMART IEP Goals
You can help create SMART goals with your child's IEP team by asking the following questions:
- Do you understand what is being taught and how?
- Is it clear what your child will be able to do when the goals are met?
- Are the goals based on Present Levels of Performance?
- Do the goals address all areas of needs for your child?
- How will data be taken?
- How often will data be analyzed for progress?
Examples of SMART IEP Goals
IEP Goal Banks:
- A Day in Our Shoes
- Intensive Care for You
- Autism Educators - Some of the resources on this site cost money, but there are lots of great, free examples of IEP goals.
- The School Psych Toolbox
- National Association of Special Education Teachers
- The Fundamentals of Special Education: What Parents Need to Know
- Special Education: IEP Tips
- Independent Assessments
*All content of this article is for informational purposes only. Furthermore, it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. When it comes to matter of the law and policy, please consult an attorney or advocate on your child’s behalf.