IEP Goal Bank

As School Psychologists, it becomes second nature to ensure that everything we do and write is legally defendable. When that comes to IEP goals we want to make sure we are writing S.M.A.R.T. goals!

1) Specific - Write a goal in a targeted academic, behavioral, or functional area (i.e. reading, writing, social skills, etc.), include clear descriptions of the skills being taught or observed, how progress will be measured, direction of behavior (i.e. increase, decrease, maintain, etc.) and what environment progress will be measured in, and level of attainment (i.e. to age level, without assistance, with one adult reminder, etc.)

2) Measurable - You can count or observe it, basically you must use numbers and they must be meaningful. It is important that the baseline measurement is comparable to the goal measurement, this way we can see how much progress has been made in a year.

3) Attainable -  It is best to write a goal you feel the child can and will achieve with the appropriate services and supports rather that to shoot too high. Remember, if the student exceeds expectations and meets their goal early, you should add new goal to continue on the progress already made.

4) Relevant - Although we often pull from a goal bank, it is important to modify and individualize your goals to address the unique needs and disability of that particular student.

5) Time-Bound - Start by considering the baseline and present levels of the student, then decide what exactly they need to be able to do after on year of special education. You should be able to progress monitor goals at regular intervals.


I tend to write IEP goals that are behaviorally focused rather than goals specific to counseling sessions. I do this because I want to find out if the student is generalizing the skills learned in my groups into their daily routine and in multiple educational environments. I find that in order for school counseling to be successful, it should be paired with behavioral intervention to reinforce taught skills. I also make sure to support any behavior goal even if the student is not in counseling. I do this through daily collaboration and consultation with the Education Specialists on my team. While the teachers often track the classroom data for most of these goals, I aid in setting up class-wide and individualized behavior systems for all students in the programs I support. 

I will continue to add to it, but here is my current personal IEP Behavior Goal Bank:

On-Task/ Work Completion 

When given a task or direction ______ will begin the task within 1 minute and remain on task for a minimum of 10 minutes independently with no more than 2 prompts on 8 out of 10 independent tasks, as measured by staff data.

Given a maximum of one verbal cue, _______will attend to a non-preferred, small-group activity and/or independent assignment, without protest, and remain on task with no task avoidance (bathroom, getting a jacket, tying shoes, sharpening pencil, etc.) for 20 minutes, in 3 out of 4 trials, as measured by observations and staff documentation.

_______ will demonstrate on task-behavior in the general education setting for 75% of intervals during a 10 minute period, with the use of an appropriate fidget and one adult reminder, in 4/5 trials, as measured by observation and data.

________ will attend (sit still, eyes on teacher, hands to self, quiet voice) to a task during large and small group instruction across settings for a 10 minute period with no more then 1 teacher prompt in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher charted data.

With movement breaks and the use of self-regulation strategies, _____ will demonstrate the ability to attend to a task for an average 75% of intervals in a 20 minute class period.

With the use of taught self-regulation strategies and self-monitoring checklists, ______ will independently begin a task (including non-preferred tasks) within 2 minutes of direction for an average of 80% of opportunities, across environments.

With the use of taught self-regulation strategies and self-monitoring checklists, once ______ has began an independent task, he will then remain focused on the task for at least 10 minutes, free from adult prompts, for an average of 80% of opportunities, across environments.

When given an assigned task, ____ will independently complete an assignment/task, and ask for assistance, if needed, with 80% accuracy in 5 out of 5 consecutive trials, in a small group setting, as measured by teacher-charted observations.

When given a non-preferred task paired with the use of self-regulation strategies and rewards systems, ______ will begin the task within 1 minute, and complete the appropriately modified version of the task within a predesignated appropriate amount of time (with use of timer) on 8 out of 10 opportunities, as measured by staff data.

 Class Participation

_______ will demonstrate raising her hand to participate in whole class and/or small group instruction, 80% of the time in 5 out of 5 intervals, as measured by teacher observations.

Coping Skills/ Emotional Regulation/ Self-Regulation

In the classroom environment, ______ will utilize positive self-talk and coping strategies to handle stressful situations or work demands in which he/she manifests anxious or withdrawn behavior (i.e. putting head down, saying he/she can't do something), demonstrated by engaging in the 30 minute activity or situation in a calm and positive manner with one prompt on 2/3 occasions.

In counseling sessions, _______ will accurately identify feelings and appropriate coping strategies when presented with real or imagined situations with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials.

When _____ becomes upset, frustrated, or angry, he will use a self-regulation/coping strategy (movement break, deep breathing, quiet space break, deep pressure/heavy work activity, etc.) to avoid engaging in an unexpected behavior, with one reminder, on 4 out of 5 opportunities, as measured by observations and documentation.

__________ will improve his self-regulation skills as demonstrated through utilizing a tool (e.g. inner coach, sensory support, calming break) to aid in regulating to an expected emotional state (e.g. green zone - which is when we feel calm, happy, content, and focused) with one adult reminder on 8 out of 10 instances in a small group setting, as measured over two week period

______ will improve insight on regulation as demonstrated by identifying the instances where he/she could have benefited from utilizing a tool to aid in regulation and determine what tool would have been beneficial for each instance with 80% accuracy.

When presented with a problem (non-prefered task, frustrating situation, criticism/correction), ______ will accurately determine the size of the problem (big problem, little problem) and determine the appropriate emotional response (take a break, talk with teacher, take a deep breath, replace frustration with good thoughts, etc.) and return to task at hand in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher charted data.

When given a frustrating situation (i.e. undesired task, demand, and/or undesired peer behavior), with one prompt ________ will utilize coping strategies (i.e. take a break, deep breaths, etc.) and return to and remain on task with a calm body and mind for a minimum of 10 minutes with an average of 95% over 8 consecutive school weeks, across all classroom environments.

When presented with a situation known by ______ to be anxiety or frustration producing for him (i.e. non-prefered task, unexpected obstacle such as ______, tasks perceived as too difficult, unfamiliar adult, and non-preferred adult), he will independently demonstrate an appropriate emotional response through finding a solution to his problem or using a strategy to regulate back to an expected emotional state (take a break, talk with teacher, etc.) and return to task at hand within 2 minutes, for an average of 80% of instances both throughout all environments and within each environment.

Self -Control 

_______ will show self-control of his/her body and voice (good personal space, keeping hands/arms/legs  near body, and appropriate voice level) in relation to the expected levels of the classroom and peers around him for 80% of a 20 minute period.

________ will demonstrate self-control in the classroom through raising his/her hand and waiting to be called on by the teacher when he/she has a question in class, with 80% accuracy in 5 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and data collection. 


_______ will demonstrate the ability to recognize expected and unexpected behaviors as well as rate his own behavior as part of his self-monitoring system with 80% accuracy as compared to teacher ratings of behavior.

______ will demonstrate the ability to accurately recognize her level of anxiety through the use of a visual self-rating system (e.g. feelings thermometer) with 80% accuracy, as compared to teacher observations and data.


_________ will refrain from physical aggression (i.e. kicking, hitting, pushing, tripping) across all environments in school, for 4 consecutive weeks, with all adults and children as measured by event data.

_________ will refrain from aggression (i.e. hitting, kicking, pushing) 100% of the day, across all environments, with all adults and children as measured by special education event data, over 8 consecutive weeks.


In counseling sessions, _____ will accurately identify situations that can be anxiety producing and appropriate coping strategies or relaxation techniques when presented with real or imagined situations with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials.

______ will demonstrate the ability to accurately recognize her level of anxiety through the use of a visual self-rating system (e.g. feelings thermometer) with 80% accuracy, as compared to teacher observations and data.

Negative Comments and Gestures

With the use of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (strategy of learning to regulate thoughts and beliefs in counseling paired with daily reinforcement as tools are utilized), _____ will reduce instances of negative comments and gestures to an average of 1 instance per hour, across all classroom settings, as measured over 6 trial days. 

Non-Compliance/ Following Directions

When given a frustrating situation (i.e. non-preferred task, not being able to choose preferred activity such as computers, etc) _______ will engage in no more than 20 minutes of non-compliance over a week period as measured through time sampling data.

Given a three step functional direction from an adult, _____ will complete all three steps with a maximum of 1 additional prompt in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation and data.

Through the use of Self-Monitoring checklists, _______ will reduce instances of Passive Non-Compliance (becomes purposely and increasingly distracted through ignoring tasks, demands, or staff directives) to an average of 20% of intervals or less, both across all educational environments and within each educational environment, as measured across a one week period.

During a 20 academic task, ____ will respond to staff directives in an expected manner within 1 minute and with one reminder on 4 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and data.

Peer Interactions/ Social Skills 

During unstructured play times, ______ will interact with peers in an appropriate manner through maintaining personal space and a respectful voice for an average 80% of intervals, measured over a 2 week period

_______ will decrease inappropriate verbal comments (such as "you are weird" or "you are a loser") to 1 time per week or less by responding appropriately when his/her feelings are hurt (use words, talk to a teacher, walk away, stay calm) and seeking attention in appropriate ways (asking a friend to play, initiating conversation, giving a compliment) in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher charted data.

During unstructured play (recess, choice time), _______will play (participate, share, follow directions/rules, take turns) with 1-2 peers for 10 minutes with no more then 1 adult prompt in 4 out of 5 opportunities as measured by teacher/staff data and observation.

Social/Emotional Problem Solving 

When given scenarios of social conflicts, ______ will demonstrate problem solving skills by identifying the problem and generating two solutions appropriate to the situation in 4/5 trials, as measured by data collection.

Organization of Materials 

_____ will organize his/her materials in a binder or folder and will bring assignments to and from school with 80% accuracy as measured by binder/agenda checks and teacher records.

_______ will organize his/her materials in a binder or folder and will bring assignments to and from school with 80% accuracy as measured by binder/agenda checks and teacher records.

Given helpful organizational strategies, _____ will present with organized school materials (folders, books, assignments, supplies) in his desk 3/4 times, 3 weeks in a row, as measured by review of his student planner, timely completion of assignments, and teacher report.

_______ will independently perform the task of writing his HW legibly in his planner and compile needed assignments in his binder with 80% accuracy in 5 out of 5 consecutive trials as measured by teacher-charted observations/ planner checks.


IEP Goal Writing Resources

Online Goal Bank Resources 


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  10. Anyone have a goal for making and keeping friends for a middle schooler who tends to have a negative attitude?

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