Every Child Deserves A Meaningful Education

What do the short-term objectives in your child’s IEP mean?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2022 | Special Education Law |

When your child obtains an individualized education plan (IEP), they will have particular goals they must achieve. Every student has goals, whether they receive special education services or not.

However, we have discussed in previous blog posts how the annual goals in your child’s IEP must be measurable and specific. How is it possible to measure these goals, exactly?

What to know about short-term objectives

The answer is through the short-term objectives that build up to the annual goal. The annual goal will be fairly basic and straightforward. For example, the annual goal may be to have your child reach a certain level of reading and comprehension.

The short-term objectives – often called benchmarks – will provide several smaller goals to achieve the larger annual goal. The National Association of Special Education Teachers provides helpful examples of how the short-term objectives fulfill the annual goals for children with autism, for example.

In general, these objectives:

  • Establish the building blocks needed to achieve the goal
  • Set the number of opportunities children have to achieve the short-term objective
  • Set the dates by which children should achieve these objectives

Assessments or tests are often what determine if children achieve their short-term objectives. Essentially, the short-term objectives are how your child will achieve their overall IEP goals. They are the stepping stones by which you can measure their success.

Your child’s progress determines the effectiveness

Why is it important for California parents to understand the purpose of short-term objectives? There are a few reasons:

  1. It will help you stay informed about your child’s IEP and education
  2. It will help you and the IEP team understand how well the IEP is working

A child’s progress – or lack of progress – dictates if the IEP needs to be revised. Monitoring the short-term objectives can be more effective on this front to ensure your child obtains the help they need as soon as possible to achieve their education goals.