13 SMART Goals Examples for IEPs

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are vital to helping students with disabilities receive the education they deserve. Every student’s individual learning must be considered to succeed in their academics.

Recognize that developing SMART goals is essential in creating successful IEPs. Here are various examples of SMART goals for an IEP to help students meet their educational objectives.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART system will enable you to establish practical goals for IEPs. For those unaware, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s dive deeper into every SMART element:


It may seem like a no-brainer, but the more specific your IEP goals are, the higher your chances of reaching them. Vague goals can be challenging to achieve, whereas specific goals provide clarity and direction.

For example, suppose you strive to improve your students’ reading comprehension. An IEP team may set a precise goal: “Increase reading fluency by 20 words per minute within 6 months.” This type of goal provides clear guidance on what must be done.


Measurable goals are crucial because they allow every party involved to monitor progress effectively. And when setting an IEP goal, ensure that it includes criteria that can be quantified. It will be more manageable for students to succeed in their academic journey.


It’s critical to consider the student’s current abilities and strengths when creating IEP goals. After all, unrealistic goals may result in frustration for both the student and the teacher. This will enable you to have a set of objectives that fall within the student’s existing skill set.


Focus on goals that are important to you at a core level. Doing so provides you with the motivation and determination to push through difficulties.

Ask yourself questions such as: What do I value most? What brings me joy? By gaining an understanding of your personal values, you can begin pursuing meaningful goals.


A robust timeline helps you prioritize tasks according to their urgency and importance, allowing you to allocate time accordingly. This way, you can manage time effectively and avoid distractions that may derail your progress.

13 SMART Goals Examples for IEPs

Here are some SMART goals examples for IEPs (Individualized Education Programs):

1. Boost Reading Abilities

“Within four months, I want to see at least a 10% increase in reading comprehension among students in my program. I hope to achieve this by employing reading strategies such as phonemic awareness and guided instruction.”

Specific: The goal specifies the expected result (a 10% increase in reading comprehension) and the strategies to reach it (phonemic awareness and guided instruction).

Measurable: The 10% increase in reading comprehension can be assessed using standardized tests.

Attainable: This statement is realistic as long as enough time and effort are devoted.

Relevant: Boosting reading skills adds value to students’ education.

Time-based: You have a four-month completion time frame.

2. Increase Math Skills

“I’ll create and implement a plan to increase the number of students who can answer at least 5 out of 6 math questions correctly on their assessment. I will review the results at the end of the year to determine effectiveness.”

Specific: The statement is concise and clear, detailing what needs to be achieved.

Measurable: Count the number of students who can answer 5 out of 6 math questions correctly on their assessment.

Attainable: This can be accomplished with sufficient resources, such as a math tutor or additional teaching materials.

Relevant: Improving student math skills is pertinent to their academic achievement.

Time-based: Success should be reached over the course of a year.

3. Develop Understanding of Grammar

“For three months, I will help the student better comprehend grammatical concepts such as verb tenses, plurals, and pronouns. I want to introduce activities and worksheets specifically designed to target grammar.”

Specific: The student will practice activities and worksheets specifically targeting grammar.

Measurable: Progress can be checked through informal assessments or English exams.

Attainable: This goal is feasible if the student tries to complete activities and worksheets.

Relevant: The SMART statement is crucial as it will help students better understand fundamental grammar concepts.

Time-based: You have three months to accomplish lasting success.

4. Enhance Writing Competence

“I will increase students’ writing competency in the 6th grade by 15% over 7 months. To accomplish this, I’ll implement various writing strategies, such as sentence rewriting, punctuation practice, and writing prompts.”

Specific: You will help 6th graders improve their writing competency for 7 months.

Measurable: Measure progress by gauging the students’ writing competency with tests or assignments.

Attainable: It is definitely possible to increase the students’ competency in writing.

Relevant: Writing skills are an essential part of student growth and development.

Time-based: There is a 7-month window to reach this particular goal.

5. Improve Academic Performance

“I’ll raise the student’s grades by one letter grade in three subjects over the school year. I’ll work with the student to develop study skills and strategies that help them retain information necessary for higher academic performance.”

Specific: The aim is to raise letter grades in three academic subjects by one grade level.

Measurable: Letter grades are a metric that indicates the student’s academic performance.

Attainable: This is definitely doable with the right plan and resources set in place.

Relevant: Academic success is the ideal outcome for any education program.

Time-based: Goal attainment is expected after one school year.

6. Increase Social Interaction

“I will provide more opportunities for students to interact with each other in a safe and supportive environment by the end of three months. This will include group projects, cooperative learning, and team-building activities.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, stating the overall objective and how it will be met.

Measurable: By providing opportunities for social interaction, schools can track whether or not students are building relationships with one another.

Attainable: This is doable by organizing activities appropriate for students’ development levels and interests.

Relevant: This relates to IEPs because it encourages positive social interaction and skills.

Time-based: There is a three-month timeline for meeting this certain goal.

social interactions

7. Enhance Self-Management Abilities

“Me and my team will devise a plan to improve the self-management abilities of all students within 6 months. The plan will have strategies for positive reinforcement, boosting self-confidence, and developing problem-solving skills.”

Specific: You have a plan to enhance student self-management for 6 months.

Measurable: Success will be measured by targeted improvement in student self-management abilities.

Attainable: Assuming the plan is reasonable and you follow through, this should be achievable.

Relevant: Self-management abilities are essential for students of all ages.

Time-based: You should expect to see the results of your plan within 6 months.

8. Strengthen Communication Skills

“Within this semester, I’ll help my students improve their communication skills by providing them with activities that focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I will regularly assess their ability to communicate effectively in various situations.”

Specific: The teacher has identified a clear goal—helping students improve their communication skills.

Measurable: You can measure student progress by assessing their ability to articulate effectively in various situations.

Attainable: This is feasible since the teacher has provided specific activities to help students improve their communication skills.

Relevant: This goal is pertinent because communication is essential for academic success.

Time-based: Completion of this goal is anticipated within a semester.

9. Encourage Critical Thinking

“I will help encourage students to think critically and solve problems using creative solutions. Students should be expected to explain their thoughts and conclusions with evidence from multiple sources within 5 months.”

Specific: The aim is explicit because it describes how to encourage critical thinking.

Measurable: You can assess how students can explain their thoughts and conclusions with evidence from multiple sources.

Attainable: Encouraging critical thinking is a reasonable goal to accomplish.

Relevant: The goal is relevant to fostering an environment of critical thinking in the classroom.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated within 5 whole months.

10. Improve Attention and Concentration

“I will implement strategies to improve attention and concentration in my classroom. In four months, these strategies should help students focus and retention, including using breaks from classwork and alternative seating arrangements.”

Specific: This identifies the strategies to be implemented and when they should take effect.

Measurable: Monitor how long students can stay focused in the classroom.

Attainable: Using breaks and alternative seating arrangements can positively impact student attention and concentration.

Relevant: Improving attention and concentration is an integral part of classroom success.

Time-based: The SMART goal should be achieved after four months.

11. Promote Independence

“In 6 months, I’ll implement tools and support structures to promote independent learning for all students. These will include modules to help students reflect on their learning, instruction in self-directed study habits, and access to guidance counselors.”

Specific: The person aims to implement tools and support structures to help promote independent learning.

Measurable: You can follow the three listed action items to reach success.

Attainable: This is reachable because you are taking action to create tools and support structures.

Relevant: The goal is appropriate because it addresses student autonomy and self-directed learning needs.

Time-based: The statement is time-bound since it has an end date of 6 months.

12. Foster Self-Advocacy

“I want to encourage my students to become self-advocates by the end of the school year. I’ll develop teaching techniques that will build self-awareness and help students communicate their needs, wants, and concerns in an appropriate manner.

Specific: This goal is specific because the teacher wants to help their students become self-advocates by teaching them effective communication techniques.

Measurable: The teacher can use feedback from their students and observe how well they can communicate.

Attainable: This is doable if you take the time to develop teaching techniques that will foster self-advocacy.

Relevant: Encouraging students to become self-advocates is vital for your IEP.

Time-based: You have until the end of the school year to attain success.

13. Complete Tasks Efficiently

“I’ll work with my students to complete their assigned tasks efficiently and accurately within 10 weeks. I want all my students to feel accomplished when they finish their projects and assignments.”

Specific: The aim is to help students complete their tasks efficiently and accurately.

Measurable: This can be evaluated by the number of projects completed within the given time frame.

Attainable: It is essential to be realistic and ensure that the assigned tasks are achievable for the students.

Relevant: This is relevant to the students as it will help them develop a sense of accomplishment when completing tasks.

Time-based: Ten whole weeks are required for goal achievement.

Final Thoughts

IEPs are important for understanding and helping students with special needs reach their full potential. Every student’s individual learning needs should be considered when creating an IEP.

Taking advantage of the SMART goal-setting strategy can make this process more smooth sailing. You will be able to allow your students to steadily progress in their education.

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