Details of IEP Goals and Objectives

Planning and Placement Teams (PPTs) meet annually to design the goals and objectives for the student’s IEP. The team will use the information in the student’s Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance to design goals and objectives that are expected to be mastered in one year. Effective IEP goals are strengths-based, aligned with grade-level standards and “SMART,” meaning: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-Bound

According to IDEA, Sec. 300.320 (a), each child’s IEP must contain… (i) A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to – (A) Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and (B) Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability; (ii) For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate academic achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives.
The IEP goal is the overall target by a set time. It states the outcome, how it will be measured and achieved, and when the goal will be mastered. Objectives support the goals by providing clear parts or steps to achieve the goals. Objectives build on each other to help the student progress towards mastery of the goal. In Connecticut’s IEP form, there are two places to document parent and student input: ACADEMIC, PRE-ACADEMIC, COGNITIVE ACHIEVEMENT and FUNCTIONAL PERFORMANCE. The student’s present levels of performance will be listed in each goal area, including assessment and evaluation data, strengths, concerns/needs, and the impact of the student’s disability on involvement and progress in the general education curriculum or appropriate preschool activities. See below for an example of the layout for annual goals and objectives on the IEP:


Parent and/or Student Input

GOAL AREA: (E.g., Reading)

Present Level of Performance



Impact of student’s disability on involvement and progress in the general education curriculum or appropriate preschool activities

IEP goals must be aligned with grade-level standards. Standards are the basic framework of the general education curriculum, providing criteria for accountability. Special education services are meant to help students with disabilities access and benefit from the general education curriculum and aligning IEPs with the standards plays a key role in doing that. Planning and Placement Teams should hold high expectations for students with disabilities, creating IEP goals that are ambitious but achievable. Even students with a high achievement gap (performing significantly below grade level) can have appropriate IEP goals linked to the standards, with objectives that scaffold the skills the student needs to continually progress towards the standard.

The new IEP form in the CT Special Education Data System (CT-SEDS):
  • Requires explicit goal connection to core standards for Reading/Writing, Math and Early Learning development
  • Prompts the user to select the standards that the IEP goal will be linked to, and if appropriate, more than one standard may be selected
  • Provides a template to help the user write a goal statement that describes the conditions, measurable/observable skill, or behavior in functional terms, and to what extent or level of mastery
  • Requires the user to select the evaluation method of the goal
  • Requires the user to list the progress monitoring schedule after listing the objectives
  • Lists any related service that supports a specific goal with the goal, in addition to the service grid
  • Provides a space to add additional assessment data that is not listed in the present levels section that is relevant to the IEP goal

The IEP form in CT-SEDS is designed to help educators write high-quality IEP goals that are specific and measurable, linked to core standards, and have clear evaluation methods and progress monitoring schedules.

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