How to Write Effective Social-Emotional IEP Goals

IEP Goals Psychologist Student Talk
Cross Country Education
October 22, 2020 15:02 PM (GMT-05:00)
If you’re a school psychologist or special education teacher, you may be expected to write IEP goals for students who receive social-emotional or behavioral support. Writing these goals can be challenging at first, but not if you’re prepared and organized! Here are tips from our team of educational professionals for writing effective social-emotional goals – goals that will help your kids grow and succeed both in and out of the classroom.

Tips for Writing Social-Emotional Goals

It may be helpful to create a template so you can efficiently write goals that are targeted and measurable. When writing social-emotional goals, include:
  • A carefully articulated time frame 
  • An observable behavior
  • A target level of mastery
  • Evaluation methods
  • The baseline data (the student’s current level of functioning) 

Further Considerations for Writing Social-Emotional Goals

When writing a student’s social-emotional goals, remember to:  
  • Make the behavior specific and observable 
  • Design the goal around what the student will do (rather than what he or she will not do) 
  • Collaborate with the classroom teacher to ensure goals are written around behaviors that are most affecting the student’s performance
  • Collect enough information through observations to have clear data on the student’s progress or lack thereof 

Sample Social-Emotional Goal

Here’s an example to get you started: 
“By November 2020, during counseling sessions, when presented with real or imagined situations, Tommy will accurately identify situations that can be anxiety producing and three appropriate coping strategies or relaxation techniques in 4 out of 5 trials (sessions).
Data collection:  Data will be collected every quarter by the counselor. 
Baseline: Tommy can currently identify one appropriate coping strategy (deep breathing).” 

Resources for Writing Social-Emotional Goals

For helpful resources and examples of social-emotional goals, visit:
The School Psych Toolbox
Comprehensive Goal Bank 

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