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Documentation & Goal Writing

Goals in an individual education plan (IEP) are created in collaboration with the student and are based on present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. IEP objectives must be expressed in a way that makes it possible to measure a student's progress from their current level of performance toward the objective. 

Essential Components of IEP Goals

What are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that help students and teachers develop a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished and when. SMART goals provide a roadmap for academic success and serve as a reference point for assessing progress.



precise to a skill, behavior, or area of improvement



with a quantifiable component that allows tracking progress (standardized testing, work samples, and teacher data sheets).



can reasonably be achieved in a year, representing a skill that is attainable to the student



aligns with the student-identified needs/weaknesses impacting their education



set a realistic time frame, specify target date of end of IEP




Under what condition or context is the skill/behavior expected to occur?

e.g., when given no more that 3 verbal prompts, given a written prompt, with use of adaptive paper


Desired Behavior

What is the specific skill/behavior to be achieved?

e.g., student will set up and use scissors, legibly imitate lowercase letters, correctly form uppercase letters


of Proficiency

How will the student show mastery of the goal?

e.g., 70% accuracy, within 3 consecutive trials, in 4/4 trials, score of assessment, for 5 consecutive minutes


Present Levels

What is the present level of the student's specific skill?

e.g., cut circle with X% accuracy, legibly copy pre-writing strokes, prompts required for a specific skill

Examples of SMART Goals in IEP

Academic Goal/Collaboration with Teacher

Given a written prompt, the student will produce a paragraph with 5 complete sentences with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization by January 2023.


To demonstrate improved functional attending abilities, the student will sustain attention to therapist-directed tabletop, in a fine motor task for 5 minutes with no more than 5 prompts for attention by January 2023.

Life Skills

The student will demonstrate improved self-help and fine motor skills by demonstrating the ability to fasten and unfasten medium-sized buttons with no more than 3 prompts (i.e., verbal, visual or tactile) in 3 out of 5 opportunities by January 2023.

Functional Skill

To help improve visual-motor skills, the student will demonstrate the ability to correctly form without a model 20/26 lowercase cursive letters with no more than 5 prompts by January 2023.

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