Independent Education Plans contain goals that each student will focus on achieving during the school year. The IEP team will create the child’s goals based on their individual needs. As a part of the IEP team, parents should also understand the essential aspects of creating their child’s goals.
The first step: Determining the baseline
When creating any goal, it is important to determine your starting point. In terms of an IEP, the starting point begins with the child’s present level of performance (PLOP). The IEP team can determine this through many strategies, including, but not limited to:
- Notes from the child’s evaluations and observations
- The child’s current academic performance
- Reports from other professionals – including parents, therapists and doctors
Determining and discussing the child’s PLOP is important in order to create effective goals that build from this starting point.
What should an effective goal include?
Just like any other goal, IEP goals must be specific and actionable. Therefore, each goal should have measurable terms, such as:
- Stating exactly what the child will achieve
- How they will achieve it
- When the child should achieve this goal
The website Understood.org provides guidelines for parents to evaluate IEP goals. These guidelines help parents determine if goals are SMART, or:
Members of an IEP team usually have some experience creating realistic and actionable goals; however, parents should also understand the basics of creating goals so they can support their children and help them succeed.