Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success

Dr. Deneen Guss, County Superintendent of Schools

IEP Goals Should be S.M.A.R.T - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Relevant, Timely

Goals set the general direction for instruction and assist in determining specific strategies, experiences, and skills a student will need to increase his or her abilities. Goals must be directly related to the areas of identified need and the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Goals are also descriptions of what a student can reasonably be expected to accomplish within a 12-month period with the provision of special education services. Goals are not a guarantee of what will be achieved.

When a goal is written it must be stated so that it is meaningful; in other words, it reflects a skill that is necessary for success in current and future environments. Goals are also useful in making decisions regarding a student's education. Monitoring the goal results in data that can be used to determine the effectiveness of the individual's education program and make appropriate changes to the IEP to help the student achieve optimum success.

See the SELPA Procedural Handbook for additional information related to goal development, including Factors to Consider in Selecting Goals andBenchmarks and Short-Term Objectives(PDF).

SMART Goals Are

State exactly what you want the student to achieve. Consider whether a larger task can be broken into smaller items or separate goals. Include clear descriptions of the knowledge and skills that will be taught and how the student’s progress will be measured.

(Mutual, Motivated) Establish clear definitions to help you measure whether the goal is being met. Measurable goals allow families and teachers to know how much progress the student has made since the performance was last measured.

(Achievable, Active, Action-Oriented) Outline the exact steps the student will use to meet the goal. Use “action” verbs to describe the steps. Attainable goals are realistic and related to the most critical needs.

(Realistic, Results-Oriented, Reviewable, Resourceful, Revisable, Rigorous) Set goals that the student will be able to accomplish. Be sure to consider obstacles that the student will need to overcome.

(Timely, Time Limited, Timed) Goals and objectives are time-based, allowing you to monitor progress at regular intervals.

Goal-Writing Resources

Sacramento COE

The following resources will provide you with support to align IEP goals to California’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS):

  1. California’s Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

  2. eStandards and eStandards Mobile are designed to provide quick and easy access to California's State Content Standards.

SIRAS Systems

SIRAS Systems is the Special Education Support Program used by all school districts within Monterey County SELPA to develop and manage IEP’s. Within the IEP Manager, educators can access the Goal Developer to create new goals for a student using the Goal Wizard. The Wizard provides a template for creating a goal in a selected domain for an individual student.

Think of this as a jumping off point from which you will adjust the goal to meet the needs of your particular student.

Goals within the Wizard are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and are based on the content area and specific skill/behavior being measured. The training video, Developing Goals using the Common Core, can assist you with selecting Common Core goals within the Goal Wizard.

Further support documentation can be found by logging into SIRAS and navigating to Tools > Support.


Kenyon Hopkins, M.S.

SELPA Executive Director
Phone: 831.755.0342

Irenea Herrera

SELPA Administrative Assistant
Phone: 831.755.0342

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