IEP Individualized Education Program: The Process

Short term objectives

Measurable, intermediate steps between a student's present level of educational performance and the annual goals that have been established for the student.

Writing behavioral objectives


The process of stating objectives in behavioral terms places the teacher in a situation where s/he is called upon to examine what s/he intends to teach as well as motivation for teaching the content.

Behaviorally stated objectives serve as criteria for a teacher that determines whether or not he had actually taught what s/he intended to teach.

The use of behaviorally stated objectives contributes to an evaluation plan. If a teacher consistently evaluates a student's performance, she is in a better position to individualize instruction.

The use of behavioral objectives increases the opportunity for decision making.

They provide a definition of what is to be covered in the student's special education program.

Having developed the skill of writing behavioral objectives, the teacher should be able to critically review materials to determine which material is most applicable to the student's IEP and the content he intends to teach.

Model for writing objectives in behavioral terms

  • Describe the behavior that you want the student to perform (who? and what?). Use specific terms such as to name, to list, to compute, to write, to compare, to explain, and to evaluate.
  • Indicate the conditions under which the student will perform the behavior (where?)
  • Specify the level of performance you will accept as successful attainment of the objective. (how? and when?)

Parameters of proficiency

  • Accuracy - doing the behavior correctly. Accuracy is usually determined by comparing the number of correct behaviors or the number of errors to the total number of behaviors. Accuracy data is most often expressed as a percentage. For example: John got 90% of the math problems correct.
  • Mastery - doing the behavior accurately and quickly. Mastery is usually determined by comparing the accuracy of the behavior to the speed at which the behavior is completed. Mastery is expressed as a rate. For example: Joan read a passage at 75 words per minute with 0 errors.
  • Automatic - doing the behavior accurately and quickly in the presence of relevant distracters. Automatic functioning is usually determined by having the student do a task in context. Automatic data is usually reported as a rate and sometimes only as accuracy. For example: Yun's spelling in his paper about the water cycle was 95% accurate.
QUESTIONS Obj. # Obj. # Obj. # Obj. # Obj. # Obj. #
1. Does the obj. answer the following?            
a. what must be done?
b. when, where, how?
c. who will do it?
2. Is the objective understandable?            
a. not vague?
b. avoids educ. jargon?
c. not too specific?
3. Does the obj. relate to only one goal?            
4. Is the objective measureable?            
5. Are the individual needs of the student reflected in the objective?            

6. Are there two or more short term objectives
written for each annual goal?

7. Are there objectives sequenced logically?

8. Does the sequence of the objectives lead to the mastery of skills at a functional level?

9. Are all the objectives that the student must accomplish to meet the goals included?