Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Student Goal Tracking

As Phase 1 of achieving my goal: To Better Juggle My Many Hats of Special Education, I’ve created a new strategy for myself this year to assist in tracking and reporting on the dozens of IEP goals I’ll be required to manage!

I’ve mentioned before how important I think goals are for student encouragement, motivation, and progress.  And as I look over the paperwork for next year’s kiddos, I realize now more than ever how imperative it will be for me to make student goals a priority.

My new classroom will primarily focus on daily life skills, thus next year’s goals are crucial benchmarks to basic daily academic and communicative functioning in both the school and community. Not only are these goals important milestones, I’ve noticed they are also significantly more specific than the goals I was used to in my former life as an inclusion teacher. This change is not only due to the life skills program, but also due to the levels and abilities of the students. Let me give you a quick example:

Inclusion Goal:
Will write a paragraph of 3-5 sentences with topic sentence, details, and concluding sentence.
Quarterly Progress

Life Skills Goal:
Will demonstrate an improvement in the readiness skills necessary for reading.
1.1  By November, will Identify 13 of 26 lowercase letters in isolation
1.2  By January, will identify 26 of 26 lowercase letters in isolation
1.3  By April, will identify 13 of 26 uppercase letters in isolation
1.4  By June, will identify 26 of 26 uppercase letters in isolation
9 out of 10 trials, every 2 weeks

Yikes. Lot more detail. Lot more benchmarks. More frequent reporting. Much more frequent tracking.

So, what I‘ve decided to do is to create “Goal Tracking Sheets” to help ensure I am tracking all student goals consistently and accurately. What I did was take each student's goal and write them on a separate sheet, with the appropriate tracking schedule provided below. Goal sheets are color coded with a border (courtesy of Graphics From the Pond-Love their graphics!) according to what kind of goal they are (Reading, Writing, Speech, etc.)

Here are a few examples:

You’ll notice that there is little room to write in each box, however, this is intentional. I intend on only writing a quick note each time, as I have to so frequently comment on so many goals.

Each tracking time, students will either receive a specific assessment score or a simple:

PS: Progressing Satisfactorily
NP: Not Progressing
A: Achieved

While I think this will help to ensure I am tracking and reporting on schedule, there is still the challenge of finding the time to DO all the assessing, especially considering some of my kids have very unique goals from others. Whole group assessments to report back on goal sheets are simply not an option for me.

What I plan on doing is giving each student a “Me Binder,” that contains all of the Goal Tracking Sheets I have created for them. Behind each goal sheet, will be actual activities and assessments for the student to complete that will provide me with the data I need to report on.  I have already outlined time in next year’s schedule for “Me Binders,” where students will grab their binder and complete a task that will provide me with the necessary data.  

Now, when I have to attend a committee meeting and report progress, I can just grab the student's “Me Binder,” filled with goals, tracking, and student work to share! Easy!

I hope you find this useful! I would love to hear feedback on this idea, as this is a summer planning initiative and I have not yet tried it!


  1. I am a special education teacher as well. I do something very, very similiar in my direct instruction classroom. I call mine "Goal Folders" and I have the students work on Goal Folders for the first 15 minutes of each class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During this time, I meet with students who require one-on-one assistance for their goals. The hardest thing I have found is finding adequate time to "grade" the folders. If you have a para-pro, I would recommend having her maintain these folders to help out. Good luck!!

  2. Elizabeth, love that you build time right in your routine for these folders! After 8 years in elementary, I'm headed to Middle School this year. Inclusion for math, resource for language arts. With over 50 students this will help me keep track!


  3. Nikki,
    Do you have a link for your goal tracking sheets?

  4. I love the "Me Binders"! I want to try something similar to this for next semester. I think this will work really well while using my Clip N' Track. I recently got one and it has helped immensely! It keeps all my IEP goals organized and is a great progress monitoring tool.

    Thank you again and keep sharing!

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