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Tuesday's Tip: SMARTER Goal: Specific

Specific areas of need must be identified in academic, developmental and functional It is difficult to underestimate the importance of specificity when dealing with the process of developing an IEP. Whether considering the results of evaluations, baselines, progress reports, behavior or any of the other factors that can facilitate access to learning or impede that access can have a profound effect on the outcomes that can be achieved.

This requires observable and measurable behaviors [34 CFR §300.320(2),1(a)] including:

  • use specific actions words and contexts The goal must use specific actions words and contexts and be explicitly defined without any ambiguity. and be explicitly defined without any ambiguity. goal must use specific actions words and contexts and be explicitly defined without any ambiguity., and be explicitly defined without any ambiguity.use specific actions words and contexts, and be explicitly defined without any ambiguity.

    • It cannot be subject to individual interpretation.

    • What is to be achieved? What type of outcome expected?

    • It must pass the Dead Man and Stranger tests

      • Pass the dead man test

        • If a dead person can do it - it is not an appropriate IEP goal

        • “Does not yell at peers." This does not pass the dead man's test.

        • "Speaks to peers without yelling" This passes the dead man's test.

  • Pass the stranger test

    • Goals and objectives for students are described so that a person unfamiliar with the student could read the description and understand it. Usually, this is a behavioral description.

    • How the word “anger” may be interpreted differently and must be defined. A Goal to decrease "angry outbursts" -

      • Does this mean hitting or kicking or does it mean verbal threats or profanity directed toward peers?

      • Expressive language deficit - does it mean lack of vocabulary or muteness

  • 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. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(i)(A)] To do this are the following required:

    • Related service evaluations

    • Academic evaluations

    • Research-based programming

    • SAS—supplementary aids and services - specific materials, resources, aids, strategies or services to gain access to the general education curriculum -(enlarged print))

    • SDIs—specially designed Instruction—how the teacher instructs or assesses (direct instruction)

    • Do you need an inclusion plan so they can be involved in the General Curriculum?

      • Meet each of the educational needs that result from the child’s disability. [34 CFR §300.320(a)(2)(i)(B)].

        • Have all the academic, developmental, and functional needs been evaluated and identified?

        • If not then go back to the evaluation process.

  • Parent Functional Skill Input is important - what does it look like?

    • Can't do homework independently

    • Unable to apply/generalize learned skills in one environment to another

    • Prompt dependence

    • Self-regulation across environments

    • Assistive technology needed or used or not used

      • I learned this one when my son could do Trigonometry on paper but could not count to get correct change at the store.

  • Social Competence is not just social skills.

    • Social competence underlies everything else since academics only get a person so far. Must have the skills to socially communicate, think flexibly, have and use the theory of mind skills, and manage emotions


  • A higher-level social cognition goal in the National Special Education Advocacy Institute (NSEAI) curriculum6 includes learning and identifying:


  • KNOWLEDGE FUNCTION - accurately predict what is likely to happen

  • ADAPTIVE FUNCTION - express and initiate socially acceptable attitudes, understanding that people will reward them socially

  • SELF-EXPRESSIVE FUNCTION - the ability to positively communicate or assert their identity verbally (core values and beliefs) and non-verbally- (cloths and hygiene).

  • EGO-DEFENSIVE FUNCTION - decreased inappropriate use of his defensive attitude, denial, rationalization to protect their self-esteem, and accept ownership. And the use of a positive attitude to boost their self-esteem.

  • THE FUNCTIONAL APPLICATION of these skills through

    • Evaluation,

    • Effectiveness and

    • Intentionality of us

  • Functional skills include all related service evaluations and functional skill evaluations (that are research and developmentally based). e.g.

  • AFLS

  • Brigance functional assessments


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