We have many useful tools for parents. One tool we suggest is our Guide for Understanding and Developing IEPs.
1. First of all, you will find it more difficult to write clear and measurable goals if you have not first obtained and concisely write a clear and measurable present level of your child's performance.
2. Remember that "measurable" means you can count it or observe it. When you are tempted to write unmeasurable terms such as "difficulty," "weak," "unmotivated," "limited," "defiant," "irresponsible," "uncooperative," and so on, stop and ask yourself, "What do I see the child doing that makes me make this judgement call?" What you actually see the child doing is the measurable content you need to identify in your present level.
3. So how do I make the Present Levels of Educational Performance and Annual Goals measurable?
To make something measurable, you can specify a grade or age level performance if that grade or age level performance is clear or definable through district standards or other curriculum or through known scope and sequence materials, developmental materials, or through testing materials. You can also make it measurable by indicating a rate, for example, 3 out of 4 times, 80% of the time, 5 minutes out of every 10, 75% success. When using a rate, be sure you can specify and measure the "whole part." In other words, if you say your child will do something 80% of the time, does that mean you or someone will have to watch your child 24 hours a day, 5 days a week? If the whole time would be unreasonable, than modify your expectation to specify the whole time that will be used for purposes of accountability, for example, 80% of any 15-minute observation. You can make your child's behavior measurable by defining the factors surrounding the behavior. These include precipitating events, such as, "when asked to work independently," or environmental factors, such as, "when dealing with female authority figures," or other patterns, such as "always after lunch," "in math class," "on the playground." Finally, you can make behavior measurable by identifying the results of the behavior, "Removal from the classroom has increased [this behavior]." If this looks like a Functional Behavioral Assessment, it is. Even informally, the techniques of an FBA can do wonders for making your present levels clear and measurable.
4. You probably know most, if not all, of what you need to know to make these components of the IEP measurable. Learn to ask yourself questions that help you focus on what you know that is critical to this task. Here are some of those questions:
§ What is the area of need for my child? ¨
§ How is this area of need related to my child's learning disability?
§ How does this area of need impact (a) my child's progress in the general curriculum? (b) my child's need to remediate, compensate for, or cope with his or her disability?
§ What does the IEP team want my child to know or be able to do as a result of this IEP?
§ Why can't he or she do it now?
§ What is it about my child's disability that interferes with achieving this knowledge or skill?
§ Why does my child need an IEP for this as compared to other student's who don't need an IEP?
§ What is the actual (measurable) starting point for this knowledge or skill?
§ How will we know if my child can or succeeds at doing this?
§ What will I see my child doing when he/she reaches this goal?
§ How is this relevant to my child's learning needs?
§ What effect does reaching this goal have on closing my child's learning gaps (1) relative to his/her peers? (2) Relative to his/her lifelong learning needs?
§ Did I avoid vague or unclear words or phrases?
§ How can I measure this knowledge or skill or how can I measure indicators of this knowledge or skill?
5. ALWAYS INCLUDE IN THE IEP THAT RAW DATA IS TO BE PROVIDED TO THE PARENT WEEKLY, SO THAT ANY HOME TREATMENT OR PROGRAM IS COORDINATED, AND SO THAT WHEN YOU GO TO AN IEP MEETING YOU ALREADY HAVE THE DATA . Get Organized with all your child's school records, and frequently obtain copies of educational records, including electronic files (e-mails, etc.), from your child's school to preserve your own record for any professional consulted, or should you need to retreive information/documentation for any legal proceeding.