A Guide to Setting IEP Goals for Improved Written Expression


Written expression is a fundamental academic skill that involves the ability to convey ideas, thoughts, and information effectively through writing. This guide is designed to assist educators in crafting effective IEP goals for written expression, aiming to enhance students’ writing abilities, from forming coherent sentences to structuring essays.

Understanding Written Expression

Written expression encompasses several components: grammar, punctuation, organization, content, style, and mechanics. Challenges in this area can manifest as difficulties with spelling, grammar, coherence, organization of ideas, or handwriting. For students with special needs, enhancing written expression is crucial for academic success and effective communication.

The Significance of Written Expression Goals in IEPs

Incorporating written expression goals into a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is essential for improving their ability to communicate effectively in written form. These goals are designed to support the development of writing skills that are critical for educational achievement, personal expression, and future workplace success.

Creating SMART Written Expression IEP Goals

  • Specific: Define the specific aspect of written expression the student needs to develop, such as sentence structure, paragraph organization, or clarity of ideas.
  • Measurable: Establish clear metrics to assess improvements in writing, such as the number of grammatical errors, the organization of paragraphs, or the use of descriptive language.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals that are attainable within the student’s current ability level and timeframe.
  • Relevant: Ensure that the goals are aligned with the student’s academic needs and personal goals.
  • Time-bound: Specify a deadline for progress reviews and goal achievement.

Written Expression IEP Goals and Compliance

Effective written expression IEP goals should align with the student’s Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) and comply with educational standards under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This ensures that the goals are personalized and focused on enhancing the student’s writing skills.

  • Alignment with PLAAFP: Goals should be tailored to address specific areas of need as documented in the student’s evaluation reports.
  • Compliance with Legal Standards: Confirm that the goals meet IDEA requirements to support the student’s right to access an appropriate public education.
  • Measurable Outcomes: Develop goals with observable and quantifiable criteria to facilitate the monitoring of progress.
Elevate Your Team’s Approach to IEP Meetings

Our Transition Planning Rubric is designed to support district leaders and educators in guiding their teams towards excellence in transition planning.

It provides comprehensive criteria that cover the breadth of transition planning, from gauging student engagement to evaluating post-secondary goals and services.

Why Use This Rubric?

  • Tailored Feedback: Utilize a structured scoring system to evaluate and enhance individual transition plans.
  • Fillable Format: Conveniently fill out the rubric digitally or print it for hands-on collaboration.
  • Action-Oriented Guidance: Benefit from a clearly defined path towards creating robust and legally compliant IEPs.

Expand your team’s capabilities and improve the success of IEP meetings.

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Written Expression IEP Goals Samples

Disclaimer: These sample goals should be customized to meet the individual needs of each student.

  • Sentence Structure: By (date), the student will write sentences that include both a subject and a predicate, with errors in sentence structure reduced by 50% as measured by teacher observations and writing samples.
  • Paragraph Development: By (date), the student will organize writing into paragraphs with a clear main idea and supporting details, demonstrating this skill in 80% of writing assignments, up from 50%.
  • Expressing Ideas: By (date), the student will improve in expressing ideas clearly and concisely in written form, increasing the use of descriptive words and varied sentence starters in 90% of written tasks.

Additional Examples of Written Expression IEP Goals:

  • Grammar and Mechanics: By (date), the student will demonstrate correct usage of basic punctuation (periods, commas, question marks) in all written work, with accuracy improving from 60% to 90% as measured by regular writing assessments.
  • Creative Writing: By (date), the student will engage in creative writing exercises that require the use of imagery and figurative language, successfully employing these techniques in 4 out of 5 writing prompts.
  • Editing Skills: By (date), the student will independently edit their written work for common errors and clarity, successfully making appropriate revisions in 75% of assignments, as verified by pre- and post-revision comparisons.

Strategies for Teaching Written Expression Skills

  • Graphic Organizers: Use tools such as mind maps, story webs, or outline charts to help students plan and organize their writing.
  • Modeling and Examples: Provide examples of well-written texts that students can analyze and emulate, highlighting effective use of language and organization.
  • Revision and Feedback: Encourage a process of drafting, revising, and editing, providing specific, constructive feedback to help students refine their writing.

More on Written Expression IEP Goals

By establishing specific and structured goals for written expression, educators equip students with essential tools for academic success and lifelong communication. These IEP goals not only aim to improve mechanics and structure but also foster creativity and personal expression through writing.

Explore Ori Learning’s resources for additional support and materials to enhance instruction in written expression. Our curriculum is designed to provide educators with effective strategies and tools to support the development of robust writing skills in students with special needs.

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Jon Izak

Jon Izak is the founder and CEO of Ori Learning.

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Jon Izak
Jon Izak is the founder and CEO of Ori Learning.