11 IEP Behavior Goals to Help Kids Start & Stay On-Task | TeachTastic

Updated: Aug 23

It can be hard to get kids to stay on task, especially in a classroom setting. But with the right set of behavior goals, it's possible to help them focus and stay on track. In this article, we'll discuss 11 different IEP behavior goals that can help your students start and stay on task. We'll also provide tips on how to write effective goals, and share some resources that can help you get started.

Why do students need to have skills to help them stay on task?


Many students struggle to stay on task, especially when the subject matter may not be overly engaging, or there are distractions within the classroom. As a result, they may suffer from poor grades and may get into trouble more frequently because their focus is on nonacademic activities. For these reasons, students need to have skills that will help them stay on task and complete work to be successful both in and out of the classroom.


Thankfully, several skills can help students stay on task and achieve greater success in the classroom. For instance, time management skills can be beneficial. Students who know how to budget their time wisely will be less likely to get sidetracked and will be more likely to complete their assignments on time. Likewise, practical study skills are essential for staying on task, and students who know how to take good notes and make study guides will be better prepared for tests and will be less likely to forget what they have learned. Finally, it is also important for students to develop good communication skills. Being able to express oneself clearly and concisely can help prevent misunderstandings and make it easier to ask for help when needed.


The goals of staying on task or completing work and how they vary


Numerous studies have shown that the ability to work independently and focus on tasks is important for students' success in school. However, this does not mean there's no room left over! It turns out we also should be concerned about off-task behaviors like fidgeting or talking too much--these activities can hamper your productivity just as much if not more than they help it by taking away from valuable time spent completing the actual productive tasks at hand (which happens often enough).


On-task behavior is when students focus on what they're doing and don't get distracted by anything else. It's usually pretty easy to stay on task when on a cell phone or doing something they enjoy, like playing a sport. But it can be harder to focus when they're doing something difficult or boring, like math or writing in a classroom.


Work completion is when a student finishes the work that's assigned to them. It's an important life skill to finish work, especially if it's for school. Sometimes students don't complete their work because they don't understand it or they don't have enough time.


What's the best way to keep your students on task? Well, it depends! There are many different goals for both on-task and work completion behavior depending on who they're working with as well as what type of activity or task we're talking about. This article will outline some examples so you can see when each one should be used - plus advice from an experienced teacher about how these techniques work in her classroom too!


The Benefits of Having IEPs With Specific Behavior Goals

Specific behavior IEP goals, especially on task behavior iep goals, are beneficial for all children but especially students with autism or ADHD who often struggle more to maintain focus on-task. These IEP goals may include staying engaged in a task for long periods of time, completing assigned tasks without help from others, and being able to start independent work when given permission by an adult.


Behavior goals can have a huge impact on the education and success of students. One study found that children with IEPs who were given specific behavior goals performed better in school than those without such goals, as they had improved attendance rates or completed tasks more often! These findings suggest there is something beneficial about making sure your child has challenging but achievable behavioral objectives set for them at all times.


Setting up specific behavior goals for your student can be a challenge, but it is definitely worth the effort. The best way to do this is to work with your student's psychologist to come up with goals that are appropriate for them. It is important to keep in mind that these goals should be achievable and realistic. You also want to make sure that the goals are challenging enough to push your child to their best, but not so difficult that they become discouraged.

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6 IEP Goals for Staying on Task

Remain on Task IEP Goals and Objectives

Below is a list of behavior iep goals for task initiation that start from success with verbal prompting all the way through a gradual release to full independence. This goal chain will continue into the iep goal category of On Task Time sustainment further below.

Students can't remain on a task unless they can initiate a task.
  1. By (date), when given a task or direction, the student will begin that task within one minute with no more than 2 verbal prompts, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  2. By (date), when given an assigned task or direction, the student will begin that task within one minute with no more than 1 verbal prompt, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  3. By (date), when given an assigned task or direction, the student will begin that task within one minute with 0 verbal prompts and no more than 2 gestural prompts, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  4. By (date), when given a task or direction, the student will begin that task within one minute with 0 verbal prompts and no more than 1 gestural prompt, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  5. By (date), when given a task or direction, the student will begin that task within one minute with 0 verbal prompts and 0 gestural prompts, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  6. By (date), when given a task or direction, the student will begin that task independently within one minute, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.


6 IEP Goals for Completing Work

Work Completion IEP Goals and Objectives

  1. By (date), when given a task or assignment, the student will begin that task within one minute and stay on task for at least 5 minutes with no more than 2 verbal prompts, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  2. By (date), when given a task or assignment, the student will begin that task within one minute and stay on task for at least 10 minutes with no more than 1 verbal prompt, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  3. By (date), when given a task or assignment, the student will begin that task within one minute and stay on task for at least 15 minutes with 0 verbal prompts and no more than 2 gestural prompts, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  4. By (date), when given a task or assignment, the student will begin that task within one minute and stay on task for at least 20 minutes with 0 verbal prompts and no more than 1 gestural prompt, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

  5. By (date), when given a task or assignment, the student will begin that task independently complete it within one minute, and stay on task for at least 10 minutes, improving task initiation skills from 0/10 task opportunities to 8/10 task opportunities.

As you can see the time duration and prompting levels can be mixed and matched to best meet the students where they are in the learning progression. Feel free to play with them and developed a set that meets your individual teaching style.


Students who struggle with on-task behavior may benefit from setting up specific goals for their work habits. Whether you're trying to improve task initiation skills, work completion, or anything in between, having goal-oriented behavior interventions in place can be very helpful.