More and more these days you see Integrated Co-teaching as the service delivery model on the individualized educational programs (IEPs) of students with disabilities (SWDs). The special education teacher pushes into the general education classroom and works together with the general educator (and possibly other teaching assistants and service delivery professionals) to meet the needs of all students. In this model it is especially important for all staff working with students with special needs to know and understand the students’ annual measurable goals.
At times, as a Special Education School Improvement Specialist (SESIS), I have seen that the general educator and the special educator have not communicated and/or worked together in such a way as to really attend to the goals that are listed on the IEP in the classroom setting. Instead, the special educator is trying to work on these goals outside of the classroom or they pull students from the general education setting to progress monitor goals that they have been able to spend relatively little time addressing in the general education setting. This, in turn, is almost negating the importance (and the purpose) of the goal itself.
So, what can be done? First, communication between the special education provider and the general education teacher(s) is very important. All professionals working with SWDs should have looked at each student’s IEP and become familiar with what the student needs and how those needs have to be supported. Second, the goals should not only be discussed, but a plan should be made for how the student would be taught and supported on each goal. Along with each goal, the way that the goal will be progress monitored should also be discussed and planned for.
Let’s break that down a little more. What should be discussed when progress monitoring?
- First, what are the criteria for each goal? This is what you are looking for the student to do. For example: No more than 2 errors, 8 out of 10 problems correct, 5 out of 6 classes, a minimum of 16 points on the **** rubric, with 1-2 prompts with 85% accuracy.
- Then, what is the criteria period? This is how long you are going to progress monitor using the criteria (Think: How well the student has to do it before they have mastered it). For example: over 3 consecutive days, 6 out of 10 occasions, for 4 consecutive occasions, over 6 consecutive weeks.
- Also, you need to be discussing what kind of method you will use for progress monitoring. Are you going to use teacher made materials? Student writing samples? A rubric? Running records? Reading probes? Structured observation with a checklist? You should determine the tool that you will use to measure the student’s progress.
- Finally, the schedule for data gathering should never be quarterly (every marking period) or over 10 months (by the end of the year). Instead, the schedule is how often an education professional (Teacher, TA, related service provider) is going to progress monitor how the student is doing towards their goal. This is always smaller than the criteria period and may be done daily, every other day, weekly, biweekly, once a month, etc.
So, in an integrated co-taught classroom, a practical comprehension goal may look like this:
Mike’s will score in the independent range (16-21points), on a writing sample each week,
(Criteria) (Method & Schedule)
over 4 consecutive weeks ,using the DRA Comprehension Rubric (www.stillmeadowct.org)
(Criteria Period) (Method)
Whatever your goal is, you should be able to progress monitor and assess it throughout the school year. If you cannot do that, then you may have written a curriculum goal and not a skill-based goal.
If you need more assistance in writing and/or understanding IEP goals, there are workshops you can attend through the RSE-TASC and OCM BOCES, or feel free to contact me.
This summer, we will also be hosting a wonderful institute presented by Carol Kosnitsky and entitled: General Education and Special Education: Creating a Unified System through a Mindful Culture of Collaboration on August 17th and 18th, 2016. This event is for teams of special educators, general educators, and their administrators to come learn and work together in collaboration. Registration will open soon. In the meantime, follow this link for the “save the date” announcement for this FREE event.