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Memorandum: Measurable Annual IEP Goals

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TO: Sp. Ed. Teachers
FR: Nissan B. Bar-Lev, Director of Special Education
Date: February 3, 2000

As I review your IEPs, I am struck by the extraordinary commitment, care and labor, not to mention the time involved in writing goals, objectives, present level of educational performance and the rest of the legal requirements of the IEP.

Parents and the community at large must already realize the extent of your dedication to your profession! This may explain the high Parent Satisfaction Survey results in your district.

One area of the IEP that some of you struggle with is the "measurable" component of the annual goal and the short-term objectives. This is certainly not unique to our school district. I hear about this issue at every statewide meeting that deals with IEP requirements.

I will address the topic of "measurable annual goals" at our next scheduled staff meeting in your district. In preparing for that meeting, please review the 11/29/1999 memo "Examples and Tips of Making IEP Annual Goals Measurable", 1/6/1999 memo on "Questions and Answers on IEP Development" and the 3/10/1999 memo on "Concerns with IEPs". (Note from Wrightslaw: To download these memoranda, please visit the CESA-7 website)

Here are some thoughts about the questions that you need to ask yourself as you prepare to write (based on comments by Ms. Donita O'Donnell, who also wrote the DPI handbook "A Guide for Understanding and Developing IEPs").

Measurable annual goals:

What do you want the student to know or be able to do in 12 months as a result of this IEP?

Is this information measurable / observable? What will you observe?

(The annual goal - "Increase study skills for academic success" is not measurable. However, the statement "The student will demonstrate the following study skills: skimming written material and the use of reference materials in the social studies class" is measurable and observable.)

Does the goal have meaning for the parents? For other IEP members who will be working with this student? If you used jargon, do you provide additional information somewhere else? For example, some of you state that the goal will be achieved by reaching a Standard Score of 85, or increase expressive communication by greater or equal to .5 Standard deviation. If you use this terminology, either your goal or your objectives need to describe what the student will accomplish when he/she reaches that standard score or standard deviation.

Present Level of Educational Performance:

What do you want the student to know or be able to do in 12 months, and why can't he /she do it now? In other words, how does the disability affect the student's progress?

What can he / she do now? What is the actual starting point for each area of need? What are the current skills / knowledge?

If, in 9 weeks, you have to describe the student's progress in this area of need, what kind of information will you be able to provide?
Short term objectives and benchmarks

Are the objectives / benchmarks clear, observable steps that will advance the student from the "Present Level of Educational Performance" to the "Measurable annual goals"?

Is each objective measurable?

Is each objective / benchmark a major milestone or other obvious marker along the path from "Present Level of Educational Performance" to the "Measurable annual goals"?


More IEP Checklists

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."

URL: http://www.cesa7.k12.wi.us/sped/issues-IEPissues/writingiep/IEPgoals.html


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