Measurable Goals: How Far, By When?

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Perhaps you used Mapquest this summer for directions to your vacation location. Did you enter your destination only and receive the pop-up alert “Please enter a starting location?”

Psychologist, Educator, and Writer Robert Mager says

If you’re not sure where you’re going, you’re liable to end up someplace else. If you don’t know where you’re going, the best made maps won’t help you get there.

Don’t Know Where You’re Going? Where Did You Start?

Your child’s IEP must be based on his Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. The IEP must include measurable academic and functional goals.

Before writing IEP goals for your child, you need to know what your child knows and is able to do now. This is his Present Level.

What is the measurable starting point for his knowledge or skill level? Make a list.

What is your child’s level of academic achievement in reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic?

  • Can your child read the textbooks assigned to general education students in her grade?
  • Are your child’s reading skills two or three years below grade level on an individual educational achievement test of reading?
  • Can your child read the grade level textbooks in core academic subjects?

Now look at your child’s functional performance in certain areas. Assume your child is in the tenth grade.

  • Can she read a job application? Can she complete the job application without assistance?
  • Can she read the driver training manual? Can she pass the driving test without assistance?
  • Can she read a map? A bus schedule? Can she balance a checkbook?
  • Can she use the Internet to do research?

Present levels of performance (what your child can do) include baseline data from objective tests such as educational achievement tests.

Get a SMART IEP Game Plan

Read more about Present Levels, SMART Goals, and objective data from Tests and Measurements.

Time to Review

Self-Study Summer School for Parents – Present Levels in the IEP

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Parents need to be very adamant to get properly written goals with Present Level measurements. We live in a community that would be expected to be more forward thinking than most. However, we found that most special ed staff did not know how to write measurable goals. When a HS case manager gave us fuzzy unmeasurable goals, we politely asked for present level measurements figuring when she went to write them, she might realize the problems with how the goals were written. To our surprise, when she couldn’t instead of rewriting the goals, she asked us to do her job. At a district meeting on inclusion, one school rep reporting on her school asked “Does anyone really write present levels?” – no staff spoke up to say yes! – they just seemed to nod in agreement. Learn from Wrightslaw!

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