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Last Updated: 02/01/2018

 Article of Interest - IEP Issues

S.M.A.R.T. IEPs for 2002...and Beyond

from, September 2002

For more articles on disabilities and special ed visit


Are your IEPs not worth the paper they're written on?


It's time for an IEP review. Parents, get out those IEPs. Teachers, I know you have lots of them in a file somewhere. Maybe you can take notes for now.


Are you a parent who has trouble understanding the alphabet soup of "eduspeak" during Triennial or Annual IEP Review meetings? Are you a teacher dedicated to educating the whole student but have been drowning in countless school district IEP memos year after year?


I think you'll like what I have to say about S.M.A.R.T. IEPs, a new and much improved tool that ensures student success, created by Wrightslaw authors Pam and Peter Wright. This information is published in their recent book From Emotions to Advocacy (FETA) and generously offered by the Wrights free to online readers (See "Smart IEP Chapter" in left column)


S. Specific


M. Measurable Goals


A. Action Words


R. Realistic and Relevant


T. Time-limited


If you believe a parent or teacher cannot develop SMART goals and objectives, it is time to change your beliefs!


Here is an example of a SMART goal listed in the Wrightslaw chapter concerning a student who is learning to type:


"At the end of the first semester, Mark will touch-type a passage of text at a speed of 20 words per minute, with no more than 10 errors, with progress measured on a five-minute timed test."


"At the end of the second trimester, Mark will touch-type a passage of text at a speed of 40 words per minute, with no more than 5 errors, with progress measured on a five-minute timed test."


Specific, Measurable, Action words, Realistic and Relevant and Time-limited.


D.A.M.N. SMART!!, I'd like to add.












Dr. Barbara Bateman "Founding Mother" of Special Education collaborated with Dr. Samuel Kirk to distinguish the category of learning disabilities in the 1960s. Their efforts led to developing the special services that would later serve this population. Bateman and co-author Mary Anne Linden also wrote an exceptional book called Better IEPs, which summarizes the IEP Process in one very succinct sentence:


"The IEP Process is the centerpiece, the heart and soul, of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)."


It should be the goal of teachers and parents everywhere to banish the days of vague, no-chance-for-success IEPs that often are the product of uncreative "school not student" centered staffings. Implementing the simple and effective SMART IEPs format is a great way to get this to happen. It's time to put IEP paperwork back to much better use again.


Some tree died for it.


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