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Annual Goals

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Essential Elements

Key Question: What should the child be doing?

What areas of the general curriculum is the child having difficulty with because of his/her disability?

What are the most important areas of the general curriculum for the child to master?

What other areas are difficult for the child? Consider behavior, motor, social-emotional, communication, self-help.

Purpose: To describe what a child can reasonably be expected to accomplish within 12 months with specially designed instruction and related services. Annual goals enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum. They are also intended to meet other educational needs that result from the child's disability.

Definition: An annual goal:

  • is directly related to the present level of performance which provides baseline information about the child
  • sets the direction for working with the child
  • is written for specially designed instruction, not all aspects of the child's educational program, unless the total program is special education
  • provides a way of determining whether anticipated outcomes are being met, and whether placements and services are appropriate for the child's special needs.
  • has three parts: the child . . . does what. . . to what level/degree

Key Characteristics:

  • describes what the child will do
  • measurable
  • functional
  • observable
  • meaningful
  • comprehensive

Writing Strategy: Describe the behavior the child will be doing when the goal is reached.


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Our thanks to the staff of Cooperative Educational Service Agency #7 (CESA) for permission to use this document. This district won the Wrightslaw "Best School Sites Contest."


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