Individual Education Program (IEP) Annual Goal Development
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 requires that all students who receive special education services have measurable annual goal(s) included in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This may include academic (standards-based) and/or functional (non-standards-based) goals, which are based on the individual student’s needs, as documented in his or her present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP) statements. The purpose of these goals, as is the purpose of all special education services, is to assist the student in accessing and progressing in the general curriculum. Academic (standards-based) goals are goals directly linked to progressing toward enrolled grade-level content standards. Functional (non-standards-based) goals are goals which assist the student in accessing the enrolled grade-level content standards.
Additionally, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and IDEA regulations require that all students, including those with disabilities, be included in the statewide assessment system. Because all students are included in the statewide assessment system, they must have access to the general education curriculum that is tested using this system. This access may be with or without accommodations and may include an alternate assessment. Due to these requirements, all students receiving special education services in academic areas must have corresponding standards-based annual goals that link to enrolled grade-level content standards. This link to enrolled grade-level content standards is based on where the student is functioning in relation to the grade-level standard and will ultimately assist the student in progressing toward those standards.