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Developing Annual Goals

A student's goals should address his or her needs.

  • Must align with Present Level (PLAFP)
  • Annual goals (and short-time objectives or benchmarks) should be able to stand on their own
  • Identify what skills and/or behaviors a student is expected to demonstrate (or do) within the period of time the IEP is implemented. The goal is a statement of what the student will do to make one year’s progress in one year’s time.
    • NOTE: Do not use general goals such as:
      • The student will make progress on grade level curriculum.
      • The student will achieve ___ on ISTEP.
      • The student will improve their lexile to _____.
    • Identify specific skill deficits and write a goal to address the deficit that prevents the student from making progress on grade level curriculum.
  • At least one of the annual goals must support each of the measurable postsecondary goals (transition IEP)
  • All goals must be skill based. What skills does the student need to be successful in current and future environments? (e.g., learning strategies, organizational skills, etc.)
  • There must be a correlation between goals, specially designed instruction and provisions. If a student needs provisions s in a specific area, this must be addressed with a goal and visa versa.
  • All students who have ED as an eligibility (primary or secondary) or Behavior Intervention Plan MUST have a behavior goal.

A measurable annual goal should…

  • Be a yearly statement of skill/behavior you want to see from a student (within those 12 months).
  • Be the most significant (current) barrier to the student being successful in the area you are addressing.  You need not generate a goal for all of the skills you are working on with a student.  
  • Be identified as a need in the Present Levels of Performance, and include the current level at which the student is performing the behavior.
  • Have a method of progress monitoring that aligns with the performance criteria
  • Allow us to document how much progress has been made since the last measured performance
  • Data must be based on a permanent product or quantifiable observation of behavior.

Goal Title




Goal Title

Goal Detail

Goal Present level

Below are some examples of present levels taken from Existing data. Sample Goal Present levels have been bolded.

StandardsAdd Standards

Select standards to support the goal:

You must select at least one standard to Standardssupport each goal.

Some standards for non curricular skills may be found under Functional or iStar skill categories

-Go to English Language Arts

Goals and IEP Revision

The IIEP system allows for an annual goal to be progress monitored across several revisions and show the data on a single graph. To make this possible, goal statements, objectives, benchmarks and the progress monitoring design originally selected for the goal, are now locked once set in the IEP. Without these parameters, the IIEP system would continue to create a separate progress report for each revision of the IEP.

This means that once a goal has been entered and the IEP finalized, you may not be able to revise certain parts of the goal. You can delete the goal, and add new goals, but not revise existing goals. Many sections of the goal will be grayed out, depending on which Progress Monitoring option has been selected.

  • Descriptive Documentation:
    • Choice of Progress Monitoring Option is locked once the IEP is final.
    • Annual Goal Statement and Objectives are locked once the IEP is final.
    • New goals may be added at any time during the revision process or annual case review to accommodate the decisions of the case conference committee.
    • Beginning and Ending Dates are now required.
  • Single Point
    • Choice of Progress Monitoring Option is locked once the IEP is final.
    • No option to add objectives or benchmarks.
  • Single Rubric
    • Choice of Progress Monitoring Option is locked once the IEP is final.
    • No option to add objectives or benchmarks.
  • Collection of Indicators
    • Choice of Progress Monitoring Option is locked once the IEP is final.
    • Annual Goal Statement and Objectives are locked once the IEP is final.
    • New goals may be added at any time during the revision process or annual case review to accommodate the decisions of the case conference committee.

Copy Goals

Once an IEP is finalized, you will not be able to make changes to goals in the original IEP, but you can copy an existing goal in order to make changes to it. Click the "Copy Goal" button, and then edit the fields to make the changes you want.

Copy Goal

Specially Designed Instruction

-this box replaces the Needs box. Any information that was previously entered for Needs will appear here, but must be replaced for any goals going forward.

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is defined as:  

adapting, as appropriate to the needs of a student who is eligible for special education and related services, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to:

  1. address the unique needs of the student that result from the student's disability; and
  2. ensure the student's access to the general curriculum so that the student can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all students.

SDI is what the teacher does to present information to the student (that is different than what other students receive).  It is the type of instruction that the general education teacher couldn’t do on a regular basis.   SDI is intended to provide the student with different ways to acquire content, process information or construct meaning.

Writing the Specially Designed Instruction should be done purposefully and intentionally, thinking about the services and support the student will receive in order to deliver the instruction. In other words, the services (minutes, setting, etc.) should be based on the Specially Designed Instruction the student needs to recieve.

When describing SDI - focus on 4 areas:
  1. Group size
    • Individual
    • Small group
    • Large group
  2. What instruction?
    • Direct/explicit instruction
    • Support to …(implement accommodations)
  3. What skill?
    • Phonics
    • Decoding
    • Vocabulary development
    • Comprehension skills
    • Contextual analysis
    • Making inferences
    • Math computation
    • Self-monitoring
    • Attention to Task
    • Following Directions
  4. How/Through?
      • Pre-teaching
      • Guided practice
      • Breaking down language/steps
      • Modeling
      • Chunking
      • Verbal, picture, visual, written prompts/cues
      • Repeated reading
      • Paired reading
      • Use of decodable texts
      • Phonics based instruction
      • Sentence strips
      • Next dollar strategy
      • Mnemonic strategies
      • Graphic organizers
      • Repetitive practice
      • Self-monitoring
      • Corrective feedback
      • Providing a sample
      • Re-teach via instructional technology-- Do NOT specify the specific program(e.g. Compass, NWEA Skills Navigator-grades 3-9, Khan Academy) 
      • Modeling
      • Prompting
      • Verbal reminders
      • Visual prompts/schedule
      • Task analysis
      • Hand over hand guidance
      • Social stories
    3. SPEECH
      • Vocal practice
      • Breathing techniques
      • Oral/motor exercises
      • Discrete phoneme production training
      • Vocal practice
      • Mirror training
      • Relaxation/visualization techniques
      • Self-talk
      • Modeling
      • Role playing
      • Scripts
      • Frequent reinforcement
      • Self-monitoring
      • Social stories
      • Token economy
      • Social skills training in…

Examples of Specially Designed Instruction

Writing a compliant goal

Well-Written Annual Goal Components:

Examples of Compliant Goals

Progress Monitoring Method

When writing a goal statement, please remember to choose a method of progress monitoring that will allow you to accurately reflect the student's progress toward achieving his/her goal.

When you enter beginning and ending dates for the IEP in the "Schedule Case Conference Meeting" section, those dates will automatically be entered as beginning and ending dates for any goals you enter.

If the student has Alternate Assessment as a method of assessment, you will only be able to select Descriptive Documentation or Collelction of Indicators as your Progress Monitoring Method. (You can Copy previous goals and then change the progress monitoring on the copied goal)

When Revise IEP is the purpose, dates on the goals do not need to change. For new and existing goals, you can click "Apply" to change the dates on the goal.

IEP Dates

Progress Monitoring Selection

Note: For students on a Certificate Track, you must select either Descriptive Documentation or Collection of Indicators.

Progress Monitoring

Descriptive Documentation

Single Point

Single point is best used when you are assessing skills such as words per minute or the number of times a student performs a skill in a set number of trials.

  • Remember, single point progress monitoring will not accurately reflect a student's progress if you are assessing multiple skills.  (A student could be making progress in one of the skill areas being assessed, but not in another, so the graph would show no growth at all because the student must meet all of the criteria of the goal to achieve success.)

Single Rubric

Collection of Indicators

Single Rubric

Progress Monitoring Assessment

Select your method of Progress Monitoring,and click the box to Edit Progress Monitoring. If you don't edit the progress monitoring criteria, you will not be able to finalize the IEP.

Progress Monitoring

Progress Monitoring Assessment:

Enter the name of the assessment you will use to measure whether the student has achieved the goal. Some examples might be:

  • Acuity testing
  • Teacher-made tests
  • Data sheets
  • READ 180 Assessment
  • Dibels

This information will appear in the goal under the heading: Method/Instrumentation for Measuring Progress

Subject area:

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Help

Metric: (Single Point only)

What will you be measuring? Some examples might be:

  • Words correct per minute
  • # of incidents/week
  • % Accuracy
  • Days of Attendance

Remember, it must be something you can "count".

*Whatever you put for the metric will appear on the left margin of the graph that is generated for the goal.

When you click Add Assessment, your assessment information is transferred down to become part of the Progress Monitoring. You cannot change it anymore. If you don't like it, or want to add something, you need to delete it and start over.

Add the details of each Progress Monitoring Assessment

Descriptive Documentation:

When you select Descriptive Documentation, you must set 3 Objective Benchmarks, whether the student is on a certificate track or not.

Descriptive Documentation

For Descriptive Documentation and Collection of Indicators, you must add objective benchmarks:

Objective Benchmarks

Single Point:

SIngle Point

Single Rubric:

Single Rubric

Adding and Managing Rubrics

Here's how:Rubrics 1

Step One:

Click on Manage Rubrics in Bank

Step Two:Rubrics 2







You can also categorize your Rubric Banks:Rubrics 2a

Click on Create Categories for my Rubric Bank

Another way to populate your Rubric Bank is by importing the rubrics you have already entered for students on your caseload.

Click on Import Rubrics to my Rubric Bank from my Caseload.

Step Three:Rubrics 3

After the rubric has been created, you may apply to a student' s goal:

Collection of Indicators:

Collection of Indicators

Common Error messages:

Dates Error message

In the Parameters section, your starting and ending dates for the goal must be within the dates you put under the "Schedule Case Conference Meeting" section.

Error Message


Once all of the goals are listed, you can reposition them by using the "Position" column-this will order how they print on the IEP.

Goals Summary