Measurable Goals in an IEP: Examples & Definition

Instructor: Elizabeth Kroll

Elizabeth has taught English and has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

Explore the world of the Individual Education Program, including the definition, the writing of measurable goals, and an example of an IEP goal. A definition of the plan and the individuals involved in its creation are discussed. Three areas of focus for drafting goals as well as the way in which goals are determined are areas of focus.


Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are a vital part of our educational system. They are similar to other programs designed to help an individual improve performance.

Let's think for a moment about the development of an exercise program or a plan for a garden. An exercise plan is a type of plan that helps an individual improve overall fitness and health. A garden plan helps to increase the aesthetics of your environment or to help produce food for consumption. The Individual Education Program (IEP) is basically a plan for a student who struggles with a disability that hinders academic success. Each IEP is a collaborative effort of an IEP team, which usually includes teachers, administrators, evaluators, parents, students, and a special education specialist.

The Components of an IEP

IEPs have several components similar to our examples. When an individual develops a fitness plan, one might determine current weight or BMI, determine areas of concern, develop goals, and select an action plan. A person planting a garden might determine the challenges of the landscape, budget, and plan of implementation. IEP teams help to design a program aimed at helping a student succeed. These plans include a report containing how the student is performing academically, behaviorally, and socially in relation to educational tasks. Additionally, annual goals and objectives, assessment data and information, current services, and student placement are also included in the report.


Goals of an IEP are very important. Goals of an IEP must be realistic, measurable, and easily remembered. They include the goal, the objectives, and standards (benchmarks).


Goals should be realistic. For example, a person new to an exercise regiment wouldn't run a marathon in the first week. Additionally, a garden wouldn't produce flowers or vegetables within a week. IEP goals take into consideration current performance including observations and data. A student might have several areas that warrant attention; however, the team determines what the student should focus on for the year. Team members must ask, 'What areas of concern will help the student the most?' When a goal is written, they must ask, 'Can a student reach this goal in a year?'


Goals should be measurable. A fitness goal would not be to exercise for personal enjoyment. Usually the goal would be to run a mile in a week, lose two pounds a week, or increase the number of push-ups for a given week. Goals of an IEP need to be measurable, and they need to include a way to assess whether or not a student met them. They may contain concrete numbers or percentages.

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