7 Components of Effective Social Work IEP Goals (With Cindy Hall & Allison Wlhelm)
Editor’s Note: By writing clear, specific and effective measurable goals, school social workers will be able to make data driven decisions regarding students’ needs. In addition, school social workers can monitor their effectiveness to determine if the social worker’s interventions are effective. We share this webinar from colleagues Cindy Hall & Allison Wilhelm (both school social workers and school administrators with decades of SpEd experience) with added content from SSWN Senior Contributor Marjorie Colindres. Thanks to this mighty group for sharing their expertise with us at SSWN and over at our sister social media platform, SSWNetwork (click here to join our always-free network, now with almost 2,200 school clinicians as members!)
- Condition* – A clear description of the assessment material that will be used to evaluate the learning outcome or the conditions under which the behavior will occur (IEPQ). Some examples include: 10 minute observation, given a behavior chart, rubric, while in a group of two or more peers. Assessment materials could include: Work samples, Scoring Guides, Standardized Tests, Curriculum Based Tests, Daily Behavior Chart, Portfolios and/or Checklists.
- Accommodation – Assistance provided during the assessment. For example, teacher prompts, with or without cues (verbal/physical), individual seating, hand over hand, given a script, etc.
- Setting – Specific location where the evaluation will occur. For example, social work office, during unstructured activities, during specials.
- Student name* – Conveys the goal(s) are individualized. Non example, “The Student will…”
- Behavior* – Clearly identifies the performance which is being monitored; reflects an action which can be directly observed. For example, will raise hand, identify 5 coping strategies, list qualities of a friend, will research the benefits of relaxation methods, will initiate a conversation by using a script, will develop a PowerPoint on personal hygiene.
- Criterion* – Percentage or degree of accuracy, the number of times the student will…, the evaluation schedule or how frequently the teacher will assess student performance (daily, weekly, etc). Examples: Accuracy, _____ out of ____ trials, In _____ consecutive trials, on ____ out of ____ days, within ____ minutes, ____ times each day.
- Time Frame – The time frame within which the goal should be completed. Goals should be written for students to make progress (or obtain goal) within a 12 month period.
Goal Analysis Activity:
Now that you’ve learned about the components of an effective goal, next take a look the following goal examples and analyze their effectiveness.
As you look at each goal, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the strengths of this goal? What required areas for compliance does this goal include?
- What are the areas for improvement? Which areas required for compliance are missing?
- Would you reword the goal? If so, how?
- Would you reword the benchmarks/objectives? If so, how?
- What other comments do you have about this goal?
If you’d like, you can print this worksheet to write your responses.
Goal Examples for Analysis:
PowerPoint Slides: Here are the slides from the full workshop presented at the 2019 Illinois Association for School Social Workers Conference by Cindy & Allison. The contain additional information not included in the lesson video about present levels of performance, progress monitoring, and more.
Brief Behavior Rating Scales for Progress Monitoring: Abbreviated rating scales that contain change sensitive items and assess particular domains of a student’s emotional and behavioral functioning. Scales are included for: social skills, depressive behaviors, anxious behaviors, inattentive behaviors, disruptive/aggressive behaviors.
Cindy Hall, LCSW has worked in the educational setting for over 20 years. She began her career as a school social worker in 1998 working for one district and three schools preschool through high school. She currently works as a special education coordinator at the Black Hawk Area Special Education District in East Moline. Cindy is assigned to six districts and 10 schools providing technical assistance to all her schools. She is the liaison for the cooperative’s psychologists and social workers coordinating and facilitating quarterly roundtable meetings, PBIS external coach, CPI instructor and presenting on a variety of topics that include autism, behavior interventions and strategies, writing a legally defensible IEP, conducting a Functional Behavior Assessments and developing Behavior Plans, executive functioning and PBIS.
Allison Wilhelm, LMSW has worked in the educational setting for 10 years, 5 years as a school social worker and 5 years as a special education administrator. She has worked in both Illinois and Iowa schools in rural and urban settings. She currently works as a special education coordinator at the Blackhawk Area Special Education District in East Moline. Allison supervises the occupational therapists and physical therapists for the district. She is assigned to and provides technical assistance to 3 districts and 5 schools. She presents on a variety of topics including behavior interventions and strategies, PBIS, progress monitoring and data collection tools, writing a legally defensible IEP, eligibility decisions for special education services, conducting a Functional Behavior Assessments and developing Behavior Plans, and MTSS.