Once the IEP team identifies present levels of academic achievement and functional performance for a student eligible for special education services they can begin to formulate measurable goals for the student. According to 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(II) and (III) an IEP must include:

 (II) a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to—

          (aa) 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

          (bb) meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability;

(III) a description of how the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in subclause (II) will be measured and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided;


The present levels of academic achievement and functional performance provide the basis for written annual goals. All goals must be meaningful, measurable, able to be monitored, and useful in making decisions. In preparing goals ask yourself:

  • What do you want the student to know or do in 12 months as a result of this IEP?
  • Is the goal clear to all members of the IEP team? Will others be able to understand the expectation of the goal?
  • Is this information measurable?
  • How will it be measured?
  • What are the short term benchmarks that the student should meet?

Under IDEA students are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”). FAPE is “an opportunity to achieve her full potential commensurate with the opportunity provided to other children.” Bd. of Educ. v. Rowley  (U.S. 1982) 458 U.S. 176, 188-189 An IEP which contains goals that are not specific and measurable and do not include academic and functional goals are open to a challenge that it denies the child a FAPE. A student receives FAPE if the education (1) addresses the student’s unique needs, (2) provides adequate support services to allow the student to take advantage of the educational opportunities, and (3) is in accord with the individualized education program. See Rowley.

(Note: This Blog/Web Site is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The website has been designed to be a resource for information on matters that might be of interest to current or potential clients but does not establish that relationship. For further information visit my Disclaimer page-


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