Mastering IEP Goals Organization: a Step-by-Step Guide to get Started

Getting started with IEP goals organization is a tricky task! Sweet special ed teacher, have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of goals you are responsible for tracking? Do you ever have trouble remembering which students have certain goals? During back to school season, it is easy to want to get ahead on prep work so that you can save yourself time throughout the year. But, where on earth do we start?


A few years ago, I remember spending days and days in August trying to get my classroom ready and get my progress monitoring materials prepped. However, it felt like no matter how many hours I spent in the classroom, I was never making any gains. There were always so many more goals to get ready for. As soon as I thought I was done, I would remember another student and their goals. It was never ending!


Part of the problem was that I did not have a great system! I would work my way through one student’s IEP and try to prep materials. I wasn’t sure when I would assessing each goal so I didn’t know where to put the prepped materials. Sometimes, I didn’t even know what materials I could use! There was just so much unknown!


Once I realized how much extra time I was spending during the year on finding and prepping materials, I knew something needed to change. I knew that if nothing changed, I would end up like the majority of special education teachers: burned out and out of the field. I wasn’t going to let that happen so I created this IEP goals organization system! If you want to check out my complete guide to simplifying progress monitoring, let me know below where to send it.



In Mastering IEP Goals Organization: a Step-by-Step Guide to get Started, we will chat about:

  • Goals
  • Organization
  • All the Things
  • Logging Data
  • Schedule




The first step in IEP goals organization is to make an IEP at a glance sheet for each student. Before we can start creating a system that will work for progress monitoring, we have to be sure that we know exactly what services, accommodations, and goal areas need to be addressed for each individual student. 


The best way to handle this is by making a snapshot of the whole IEP in one easy sheet. These sheets are so great because they allow you to quickly glance and see some of the most important aspects of the IEP. You are able to see the goals, strategies, and services for a student on one sheet of paper. 


This is always the first thing that I do when I get a copy of my caseload in August. It helps me to start wrapping my head around the group of students I will have. If you want a copy of my IEP at a glance sheets, let me know where to send them below.



Outline all the goals you will need

The next step in IEP goals organization is to make a list of all the IEP goals you are responsible for monitoring. Grab a huge sheet of paper or start a Google Sheet. Go through your IEPs student by student. You do not need to copy and paste each goal word for word but you can just give a general overview. 


Here is an example:


READING FLUENCY: Given 2nd grade level non-controlled passages, Jessica will read 64 words correct per minute with 93% accuracy on two out of three consecutive probes as measured weekly.


For this goal, I would simply write “Reading Fluency 2nd grade.” This tells me the type of goal as well as the level that I would need. Put each goal in a separate column. As you move on to recording the next student’s goals, place each goal under the same category as the first goal. So for example, if student #2 has a goal for reading fluency at the 1st grade level, I would list that under Jessica’s reading fluency goal. What do you do if student #2 has a goal category that student #1 did not have? You simply make a new column.


This process will give you a grid of all the goals you are responsible for monitoring as well as all the specific levels. This is a great starting place for collecting progress monitoring materials.


All the Things

Now that you have looked over each IEP and made a list of all the IEP goals you are responsible for monitoring, it is time to go on a treasure hunt! Being a special education teacher is basically like being a pirate. You may have to beg, borrow, and steal materials for your progress monitoring. 


If you are interested in reading My Top 5 Tools for Progress Monitoring, check out this post


You want to ask your mentor, colleagues, special education consultant and supervisor to find out what you already have access to in your district. If you still have needs, check out what you can get for free online from websites like Easy CBM.


Once you have all the materials you need, grab file folders. Make enough copies of probes to make it at least through the first marking period. You will be so grateful you did when you are not racing to the copier over your lunch break.


Log your Data

After making finding all the materials you need, the next step in IEP goals organization is finding the right way for you to log your data. Maybe you are some of the blessed teachers that have access to an online program that will graph your data for you! My current district uses PowerSchool which has a program where I can type my data in and it automatically adds it to a graph for progress reports. It is a huge game changer!


If you are responsible for graphing on your own, maybe you want to check out these digital progress monitoring graphs for Google Sheets. If you prefer to look at your data in paper format, then these paper data collection sheets may be the thing for you!



Once you have all the materials collected and you know how you will be tracking your data, it is time to decide on a schedule for progress monitoring.


You could be a teacher who does progress monitoring one day a week. You could knock out all your data collection in one day and be done!


Another option is to do a little bit each day. Although you are collecting more frequently, you are not losing an entire day of instruction each week.


No matter what works best for you, pick a schedule and stick to it!


Be sure to follow Learning Support Lady on Instagram for more tips for progress monitoring!



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Hi, I'm Rachel!

I am a second grade learning support teacher, adjunct professor and momma to two little girls! I help teachers like you get organized and create systems to save time.

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