The Quality of IEP Goals for Students with ASD in 60 High Schools

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 4, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
L. J. Hall1, B. Tomaszewski2, B. Kraemer1, K. L. Morin3, K. Hume2 and S. Odom2, (1)Special Education, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, (2)Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, (3)University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Individual Education Plans are the foundation upon which the educational experience of students with disabilities is built, with annual goals at the heart of the document. In order to measure student progress, it is imperative that these goals and objectives are measurable and linked to assessments. This presentation summarizes an analysis of the quality of IEP goals written for students with ASD from 60 high schools prior to intervention in each of the four domains focused on in a RCT study entitled, the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism (CSESA).


  • Describe the quality of IEP goals for students with ASD in total and for each of the 4 CSESA domains including: a) if they were written for one target b) if antecedent conditions are clear, c) if they are observable and measurable and d) if mastery criteria are included.
  • Determine if there is a significant difference in the quality of goals written for students in a diploma seeking compared with an alternative program.
  • Describe the percentage of goals with accompanying data and the amount of time spent coaching educators to write high quality goals.


Prior to any intervention, the CSESA research team collected information on the existence and quality of goals written in each of four areas (academic, social, transition, & independence and behavior) for high school students from 60 high schools in three states totaling 1442 goals. Information about the use of data for monitoring progress was obtained.

The goals written for students in the diploma seeking programs (57% of the total) and those in a modified program (43% of the total) were compared across quality features using a chi-square analysis.


  • Only 61% of the goals were taken from the student’s IEP written from those already written to address one of the four content areas targeted. The domain with the highest number of goals was academics and the lowest number was transition. Only 25% of the total goals met the criteria for high quality in all areas. The most goals meeting the full quality criteria were Academic (30%), and the least high quality goals addressed Social (18%) competence (see Table 1).
  • The chi-square tests revealed that there was a significant difference between programs, with students in the modified program having a higher number of goals that had a single target selected, χ2 (1, N = 385) = 5.63 p = .020, antecedent conditions clear, χ2 (1, N = 384) = 9.31, p = .002, the target skill/behavior observable and measureable, χ2 (1, N = 384) = 6.61, p = .010, and having met mastery criterion, χ2 (1, N = 385) = 9.04, p = .003.
  • Only 13% of all IEP goals written had accompanying data to support baseline performance.


Professional development is needed to improve the quality of the IEP goals written for high school students with ASD, especially in the social domain, and for students who are diploma bound and completing their education in general education settings.

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