Fluency Goal Setting

Today, was an early release day. On these days, the Intervention Team doesn't meet with groups but with teachers to talk about any concerns they have about students. One common theme from today's meeting was setting meaningful, attainable, but growth producing SMART goals. I was surprised that of the teachers I talked with today, setting these types of goals was very foreign to them.

In the past we have done SMART goals but I think it was the fact the goals had to have real teeth and challenging but reachable as well. This is a balance that even after ten year of writing IEP goals, I struggle with. I wish someone had taken the time way back then to teach me how to do it without needing tons of time to get it done.

So, how do you set short term meaningful and attainable goals that also growth producing. Very carefully. The key is to compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges. For example: if looking at reading fluency then the goal needs to include comparing the student to their same grade level peers. Take a third grade student whose DIBELS grade level oral reading fluency is well below benchmark then the student needs a goal at grade level comparing them to their grade level peers.

Why??? Is this how you begin to make a case that the student may need to be looked at for special education.

With that grade level information you can now create a SMART goal that has punch. As a general rule of thumb, I like setting mine in 4 week blocks and then create a new goal.

In most cases, I set fluency goals with a 2 more words a week growth. When I set the next goal, I may not use the same number--I usually increase the number. All of the students that I progress monitor for fluency works, I do so at grade level. Over the years, I have been told not too that I should progress monitor off level but then I not no idea if what I was doing was working. These days its standard practice.

I wish classroom teachers would understand its okay if they don't make it--it helps build a body of evidence. In my state that means that the things teachers do and the data they collect is way, way more important than what happens after talking about special education.


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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