IEP - Writing an IEP

Everything You Need to Write an IEP

Data is important to IEP's
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The individual education program—more generally known as an IEP—is s a written plan that describes the program(s) and special services a student requires to be successful. It is a plan that ensures that proper programming is in place to help the student with special needs to be successful at school. 

If students with special needs are to achieve the academic curriculum or an alternative curriculum to the best of their ability and as independently as possible, the professionals involved in the delivery of their programming must have a plan in place. When writing an IEP, you need to include specific elements to satisfy legal requirements and to provide the best educational plan possible for the student.

Elements of the IEP

The IEP must contain the student's present level of educational performance, the results of any evaluations and tests, special education and related services to be provided, accommodations and modifications to be provided for the student, supplementary aids and services, annual goals for the student, including how they will be tracked and measured, an explanation of how the student will participate in general education classes (the least restrictive environment), and the date the IEP will go into effect, as well as a transportation plan and extended school year services if applicable.

IEP Goals

The IEP goals should be developed with the following criteria:

  • specific
  • realistic
  • attainable
  • measurable
  • challenging

Before setting goals the team must first determine the present level of performance using various assessment tools, the needs must be clearly and specifically defined. When determining IEP goals consider the student's classroom placement, is the student in the least hindering environment. Do the goals coordinate with the regular classroom activities and schedules and do they follow the general curriculum?

After the goals have been identified, it is then stated how the team will help the student to achieve the goals, this is referred to as the measurable part of the goals. Each goal must have a clearly stated objective for how, where and when each task will be implemented. Define and list any adaptations, aides or supportive techniques that may be required to encourage success. Clearly explain how progress will be monitored and measured. Be specific about time frames for each objective. Expect goals to be achieved at the end of an academic year. Objectives are skills required to achieve the desired goal, objectives should be accomplished in shorter intervals.

Team Members: IEP team members are parents of the student, special education teacher, classroom teacher, support workers, and outside agencies involved with the individual. Each member of the team plays a vital role in the development of a successful IEP.

Education Program Plans can become overwhelming and unrealistic. A good rule of thumb is to set one goal for each academic strand. This enables the team's manageability and accountability to ensure that resources are available to help the individual achieve the desired goals.

If the student IEP meets all of the student's needs and is focused on skills for success, results and outcomes, the student with special needs will have every opportunity for academic achievement no matter how challenging their needs may be.

Example of an IEP

John Doe is a 12-year-old boy presently placed in a regular grade 6 classroom with special education support. John Doe is identified as ‘Multiple Exceptionalities’. A Pediatric assessment determined that John meets criteria for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. John's anti-social, aggressive behavior, prevent him from achieving academic success.

General Accommodations:

  • Supervision for Non-Instructional Time
  • Attention/Focusing Cues
  • Special Arrangements for Arrival/Departure
  • Use of Preferred Learning Style
  • Small Group Instruction
  • In-Class Peer Tutor Assistance
  • Review, Retest, Re-Evaluate
  • Reduce Visual or Auditory Distractions
  • Scribing or Oral Reporting
  • Length of Time for Assessments/Assignments

Annual Goal:

John will work towards controlling compulsive and impulsive behavior, which negatively affects the learning of self and others. He will work towards interacting and responding to others in a positive way.

Behavior Expectations:

Develop skills to manage anger and resolve conflict appropriately.

Develop skills to accept responsibility for self.

Demonstrate dignity and respect for self and others.

Develop a foundation for healthy relationships with peers and adults.

Develop a positive self-image.

Strategies and Accommodations

Encourage John to verbalize his feelings.

Modeling, role play, rewards, consequences using the assertive discipline approach.

One-to-one teaching as required, one-to-one Educational Assistant support as required and relaxation exercises.

Direct teaching of social skills, acknowledge and encourage acceptable behavior.

Establish and use consistent classroom routine, prepare for transitions well in advance. Keep as predictable a schedule as possible.

Make use of computer technology where possible, and ensure John feels he is a valued member of the class. Always relate classroom activities to timetable and agenda.


Resources: Classroom Teacher, Education Assistant, Integrations Resource Teacher.

Frequency: daily as required.

Location: regular classroom, withdraw to resource room as required.

Comments: A program of expected behaviors and consequences will be established. Rewards for expected behavior will be given at the end of an agreed upon time interval. Negative behavior will not be acknowledged in this tracking format but will be identified to John and to home through a communication agenda.

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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "IEP - Writing an IEP." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Watson, Sue. (2021, February 16). IEP - Writing an IEP. Retrieved from Watson, Sue. "IEP - Writing an IEP." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).