Ask the Horizons Team: Do you have suggested resources for teachers to use in writing goals and objectives for students?
I am a special education teacher working with students in grades 3-6. One of our areas for school improvement this year is writing more specific IEPs, including tightening up our goals and objectives. I have to say that this is something I didn’t get a lot of instruction in when I was in college, and I’m frustrated with how to write specific measurable goals and objectives for my students with a wide variety of needs. Our improvement team is especially struggling with goals/objectives in the areas of social and emotional skills. Do you have any suggestions or resources we could use to help us in this area?
Karen in New Jersey
Thanks for being brave enough to ask this question! Many school professionals feel like this is an area of weakness for them, but most don’t take the time to ask questions and get better at it. You are correct that writing specific, measurable, meaningful goals and objectives is really important. I often see IEPs where the same broad generic goals are written year after year, and no one working with the student can say for sure whether they are achieved or not. One of my favorite resources to help in this area is the book The IEP From A to Z: How to Create Meaningful and Measurable Goals and Objectives by Dianne Twachtman-Cullen and Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett. I have used this book in graduate level education courses I have taught, and students find it to be an excellent resource. The book covers general principles of writing appropriate goals and objectives, and then provide specific examples across a variety of skills areas (including social goals). I think you and your team will find this very helpful as you tackle this area together over the course of the year.