What teachers need to know about setting yearly IEP objectives

Updated: Feb 13



Teachers can develop material and teaching techniques that aid students in achieving individualized education program goals. But first, teachers must know how to establish an appropriate goal and how goals objectives may change if progress is not made. This article will assist you in comprehending these topics and give you some helpful ideas for achieving success.

Key Ideas

  • The yearly review and update of your student's IEP goals are critical.

  • These objectives should concentrate on assisting your student in school areas and with everyday living skills like interacting with others.

  • The IEP team determines which supports and services your student will need to reach the new IEP goals after they are established.

What are the key concepts of yearly IEP objectives?


The goal of having an IEP is for your student to achieve state grade-level standards. The IEP team will establish yearly objectives and assess progress against them to help your students reach those goals.


At each yearly IEP meeting, the team revisits your student's progress toward annual objectives. Some objectives may not have been achieved and will need to be maintained for another year in some situations. However, if your student has met them or if the iep team believes the goal should be modified, the iep team will work together to create new objectives for the following year.


Setting yearly IEP objectives necessitates more than simply knowing present levels of accomplishment or baselines. It also necessitates identifying what abilities must be improved in order to meet grade level standards. As a teacher, it is imperative that you understand and participate in the goal-setting process. Here's how to make yearly iep goal objectives that are both effective and appropriate for your student.



IEP goals are based using the present level of performance


Your student's present level of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP) is key in setting annual goals.

The current level of performance shows how your student is doing right now. It focuses on present abilities and areas of weakness, not just in academic areas but also in other aspects.


Teachers can use their student's present level of performance to create a strategy for where they need to improve their abilities.


Many sources provide information. This may include your child's most recent school psychologist evaluation, standardized district and state testing, work samples, and progress monitoring data, as well as reports from paraeducators and general education teachers.


This might look like For example, the information may show that your student has trouble adding double digit numbers. But they can add single digit numbers well.


Their annual IEP goal might read as follows:


The student is currently adding single digit numbers sums to 18.

When given a list of double digit addition problems without regrouping, the student will use their prior knowledge of single digit addition and skills gained through explicit instruction to add double digit addition problems correctly.


Strengths Based SMART IEP Goals


The second step in the standards based IEP framework is to link objectives to actual levels of performance, where they are in learning to target skill. Ideally, your student's IEP should have a strengths focus as well. Integrating strengths into IEP goals may assist you in tracking your student's development and also help your youngster see how to improve by taking into account their strengths.

When a student is aware of their own strength and can learn to leverage them for future success that is where the magic starts to happen!


Including a strength assessment as part of the process for determining current performance, levels offer data about your student's abilities that may not be seen otherwise. By utilizing students' strengths, you will be able to enhance your overall objective accomplishment by providing you with immediate teaching methods based on this student's prior accomplishments. Don't forget that there may be areas where your student excels at home or in other settings that may be used as a basis for goal advancement. Provide new knowledge that may open up undiscovered areas of strength for your students.


Teachers can use those insights to make SMART goals stronger. (If your student has recently had a full evaluation, the report should include strengths as well as needs.)


Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based are the keywords for SMART.


Here's what that means:

  • Specific: The goal for each skill or subject area is clear.

  • Measurable: The aim is stated in such a manner that teachers may use standardized tests, curriculum-based assessment, and screening to measure student achievement.

  • Attainable: The goal should represent what your student can accomplish in a realistic amount of time.

  • Relevant: The objective is directly linked to the student's future goals.

  • Time based: Make sure you have a realistic, feasible end date for goal accomplishment.

How might we use this to our advantage?


Useful Strategies for Promoting SMART IEP Goals

  1. Goal setting - Use the SMART model for all IEP goals.

  2. Tracking progress - Tracking progress provides useful feedback about performance and progress to the next objective transition.

  3. Revision - Revise timelines often if the student's progress is other than anticipated.

  4. Goal modification - Modify the goal if there were unforeseen challenges uncovered during the learning process.

  5. Celebrating progress - Celebrate the minor and major milestones to inspire future learning a provide a reminder when challenges may slow progress.

How to Monitor Progress Moving Forward


Keep in mind that you don't have to wait until the next annual IEP meeting to see how your student is progressing toward IEP objectives.


Your school district should provide progress updates at least as often as report cards are distributed during the school year. However, a teacher should report a properly time based iep goal with objectives much more frequently. The average time frame for each objective is usually every three months.


Ending Thoughts

  • The yearly individualized education program objectives for