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53 Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives for Writing and Written Expression

Iep goals for writing.

Parents can certainly assist the IEP team with developing goals. One IEP area that I find parents and teachers struggle with is addressing the skill of writing. And by writing, I’m talking about content, not fine-motor handwriting skills .

If your child struggles with handwriting , I would read this post on dysgraphia or ask for an OT evaluation.

Young student in blue striped shirt working on a writing assignment.

For this post, the IEP goals for writing will focus on writing as far as developing content, writing fluency, and written expression.

I have a large IEP Goal Bank that lists and links out to thousands of IEP goals. So if you cannot find what you are looking for here, I suggest you check there.

Written Expression IEP Goals

What’s great about many IEP goals is that you can change the details of the IEP goal to suit any age, grade, or ability. This list of IEP writing goals examples can be edited for any writing ability.

I have a graphic below detailing how to make an IEP goal measurable.

Objectives to Support Written Expression IEP goals

Printable List of IEP Writing Goals

If you wish to print this list to have, here you go.

Further defining the IEP Goals

Note that you can add the following accommodations , or any accommodation, to the beginning of each goal. For example:

You can also add phrases such as “working independently” to define the goal further.

IEP goal formula for special education

More on Writing:

Much has been studied about the value of being able to read and write and their connection to each other. If you are focusing on your child’s writing skills, ensure their reading skills are also addressed. It is unusual to have issues with one and not the other.

“ Those who write well are, in many ways, highly skilled individuals in their language. Writing is an extension of one’s speech, an ally of communication, one that indicates one’s intelligence, their level of education, among other things; it utilizes one’s ability to consider and dissect relevant information for a purpose, and writing also makes use of one’s critical-thinking skills developed in college. Critical thinking is the ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. “

From K12 Reader:

Basically put: reading affects writing, and writing affects reading. According to recommendations from the major English/Language Arts professional organizations, reading instruction is most effective when intertwined with writing instruction and vice versa. Research has found that when children read extensively, they become better writers. Reading a variety of genres helps children learn text structures and language that they can then transfer to their writing. In addition, reading provides young people with prior knowledge that they can use in their stories. One of the primary reasons that we read is to learn. Especially while we are still in school, a major portion of what we know comes from the texts we read. Since writing is transmitting knowledge in print, we must have information to share before we can write it. Therefore reading plays a major role in writing.



Eighth Grade Reading IEP Goals Standards-Aligned

This IEP goal bank is on eighth-grade reading prerequisite skills, including progress monitoring, data collection tools, worksheets, and lesson packs for all top nationally used IEP goals.

Best Eighth Grade Reading IEP Goals

Free IEP goals and objectives for eighth-grade reading focused on a learning progression for most common core state standard clusters helping students build strong reading foundational skills. Iep goals target reading comprehension, citing text evidence, and reading fluency are just a few of our major IEP goal categories. 

Eighth Grade Reading IEP Goals

L.8: language.

RI.8: Reading: Informational Text

RL.8: Reading: Literature

W.8: Writing

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Written Expression IEP Goals

8th grade writing iep goals

Special education teachers often have the job of working with and developing written expression goals for students with IEPs. Many teachers feel that it’s important to target this skill in order to help their students communicate more effectively. However, setting achievable goals can be a challenge. Here are some tips for developing effective written expression IEP goals.


A written expression IEP goal is a target that is set for a student with an Individualized Education Plan. This type of goal is usually related to the student’s ability to communicate through writing. The written expression goals may be based on the student’s current level of functioning and are often aimed at improving their skills in this area.


There are a few reasons why written expression IEP goals may be important for a student. There’s no doubt about it written expression is a fundamental life skill. In order to be successful in school and in most jobs, individuals need to be able to communicate effectively through writing. Written expression goals can help students to improve their communication skills. Many students with written expression goals also see an improvement in other areas, such as reading skills.

How to Write IEP Goals Workbook

How to Write IEP Goals Workbook

Tools to help students with written expression.

Using effective tools in your writing instruction will help you identify a student’s present level and where they need the most help in their written expression. This will enable you to write useful goals for the students in your classroom. Here are some tools you can use as benchmarks. Effective…


Besides using these tools, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing written expression IEP goals. The goals should be realistic and measurable goals that are based on the student’s current functioning and grade level. They should work with the student’s strengths and weaknesses .

The goals should also be SMART Goals (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Timed). Another important thing to remember is that the goals should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As the student makes progress, the goals should be revised to ensure they are still appropriate and challenging.

Written expression goals can come up in many different areas of writing. Understanding this will help you write written expression goals for student IEPs that are effective. Here are some types written expression goals and examples of each.


One type of written expression goal has to do with the proper use of capitalization. This is an important rule of grammar and one that students should be able to master. A capitalization goal for an IEP might look something like this:


Another type of written expression goal has to do with proper punctuation usage. Just like capitalization, this is an important rule of grammar that students should be able to master. Here are some ideas for punctuation IEP goals:


Spelling is a component of written expression that can be quite complex in the English language. Many students struggle with spelling words correctly. Some spelling goals for an IEP could be:


Transition words are words that help to connect ideas in writing. They are often used at the beginning of a sentence to show how the current sentence is related to the previous one. Transition words can be a challenge for many students. Some examples of transition word IEP goals are:


Vocabulary goals are also important in student development when it comes to written expression. Students should be exposed to a variety of words so that they can use them in their own writing. A few ideas for vocabulary IEP goals are:


Writing fluency is another important aspect of written expression. Fluency is the speed at which a student can write. Many students struggle with writing fluently. A goal related to writing fluency might be:


A paragraph is a group of related sentences that share a common topic. Many students struggle with writing paragraphs that are correctly organized and have all of the necessary elements. Paragraph writing IEP goals could include:


An essay is a type of written assignment that is typically longer and more detailed than other types of writing. Essays can be difficult and tedious for many students. An essay goal for an IEP might look something like this:

If you are a teacher who is responsible for developing written expression IEP goals, remember to keep the goals realistic, specific, and measurable. Review and update the goals on a regular basis to ensure they are still appropriate. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to helping your students improve their written expression skills!

Assistive Technology, Classroom Implementation Strategies & Resource Recommendations for Kids Who Struggle to Write

Assistive Technology, Classroom Implementation Strategies & Resource Recommendations for Kids Who Struggle to Write

Related resources.

Self Advocacy IEP Goals

Executive Functioning IEP Goals

SMART Goals – Examples for Students

Daily Living Skills – Goals and Objectives

Social Emotional IEP Goals

Behavior IEP Goals

Self Regulation IEP Goals

Fine Motor IEP Goals

8th grade writing iep goals

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We all set goals for ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. Our goals can be as simple as getting to work on time. They can be as complex as budgeting our expenses. We know what we need to do, and we set out to do it.

An IEP goal is not unlike a personal goal. With an IEP goal, we create an educational program for a child with special needs. An IEP goal describes what we hope the child will achieve, or the intended outcome of instruction.

The outcome is stated as an action we expect to see. Goals must be measured in an objective way. We have to be able to see the action or count it or score it. When we state goals clearly as actions, measuring progress comes naturally from the goal. A goal must establish a criterion for acceptable mastery.

In short, when we write instructional goals we have to know what the child needs to learn and what action we want to see. We have to measure progress toward the goal. Finally, we set a level of mastery that we expect.

We use standardized tests and informal assessments to measure a child's progress toward the goals. We can do tallies or checklists or give tests specific to the action we seek. Anyone who looks at the measurement should be able to understand it. And, all those who review the measurement should be able to come to the same conclusion.

Learning how to write individualized IEP goals is an important first step in developing your child's IEP. IEP goals should also be SMART and based on good educational practice.

SMART IEP goals are:

Educational research will help you identify essential skills in the core academic subjects of reading, writing, and math. When you know the sequence of skills for a subject, you will know how skills build on each other. You can identify gaps in skills — skills that your child hasn't mastered and needs to learn.

Think about how children learn math. A child learns how to add and subtract. Then he is ready to learn how to multiply and divide.

Before you can develop measurable IEP goals, the child's skills must be measured objectively. Objective data about a child's skills are the baselines for goals. This data also should show progress, or lack of it, when measured over time.

We tend to use the terms "goal" and "objective" to mean the same thing. In IEPs, there is a distinction between them. We write annual goals. Objectives are the short-term steps to reach goals.

In 2000, the report of experts on the National Reading Panel explained the research in reading. This included more than 10,000 research studies. All this information helped form a better understanding of reading and what works in teaching (see National Reading Panel ). The findings from the research changed reading instruction forever. In 2001, Congress passed No Child Left Behind (see Wrightslaw ). The results of the research were included there, too.

Reading instruction requires explicit, intensive, and systematic instruction in the five necessary components of reading instruction:

Learning to read requires a child to learn specific skills in sequence. Children who have difficulty learning to read have deficiencies in phonemic awareness skills. A child with weak phonemic awareness skills will have difficulty learning phonics skills. This child will not be a fluent reader. If the child does not master phonics and fluency, he will not be able to master vocabulary and reading comprehension.

One young teacher made a banner to illustrate the sequence of reading skills. This came from the specialized program she was using. As students learned a skill, she would advance them down the banner. This made it easy for her to write specific reading goals.

After children master math operations skills (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), they learn how to use reasoning to solve word problems.

One of my clients, Jane, had this math goal in her IEP:

Jane will use problem solving strategies to solve 2 step word problems with + and — (0 — 999) and x and division (0 — 12) on 3/4 trials.

This is NOT a good IEP goal. Why not?

The intended outcome might have been for Jane to solve two-part word problems. But this goal says she needs to learn to use problem-solving strategies . The goal does not state whether she will be able to solve problems. Worse, this goal includes all math operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), making the goal overly broad.

Jane's math goal is not SMART. It is not specific or measurable. It does not use action words, and is not realistic or time-limited.

How can we revise this goal to make it SMART?

According to Jane's IEP, using objects helps her to solve problems. A better goal for Jane might be:

Using real money, Jane will be able to show how much money she has after she receives two weeks of allowance, and how much money she will have left after she buys one object, with 75 percent accuracy measured twice weekly each quarter.

Now, the goal meets the five criteria for a SMART IEP goal.

Achievement in written language requires many skills. Mechanics help make thoughts clear. Word usage and sentence structure help make the writing interesting. Good thought expression sends the desired message.

In Jane's IEP, her writing goal read:

Jane needs to write a paragraph, with a topic sentence and at least 4 detail sentences, on one given topic using her editing checklist measured twice monthly .

So, if Jane writes that paragraph, has she achieved that goal?

By the way it was written, the intended outcome is that Jane only "needs" to write a paragraph to meet the goal.

A better writing goal for Jane is:

Jane will write and edit a five-sentence paragraph that addresses a given subject twice a month. Each paragraph will include a topic sentence, at least four details and a conclusion. She will earn a score of 75 percent or higher on a writing rubric for each writing assignment. There will be at least four writing assignments per quarter.

Rubrics are useful scoring tools that measure a child's progress. A writing rubric includes the criteria and standards used to assess a child's performance on writing assignments.

The revised goal is s pecific and m easurable. It uses a ction words, is r ealistic, and t ime-limited. The revised goal is SMART !

About the author

Dr. Ruth Heitin is a Special Education Consultant serving students with special needs and their parents — evaluating students, consulting with families and schools, and serving as an expert witness in legal proceedings. Dr. Heitin's doctoral degree is in Special Education Administration. She has been certified as a general education teacher, special education teacher and elementary school principal. Dr. Heitin has been a speaker with Pete Wright in Wrightslaw training — All About IEPs . She is also a contributor to the Wrightslaw newsletter, the Special Ed Advocate , as well as authoring articles in other educational publications.

Republished from Wrightslaw

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This content is soo easy and precise. It gives a clarity as to where we need to focus on and where we are going wrong.

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8th grade writing iep goals

IEP Goals for Written Expression or Difficulty with Writing

8th grade writing iep goals

Two Quick Tips Before Creating IEP Goals for Written Expression:

When your child struggles with his writing skills, you need Measurable IEP Goals for Written Expression. This page shares information about writing measurable IEP goals, so you can tell if your child is making progress in writing.

Rhythm of Handwriting Manuscript

If your child has a hard time with handwriting, be sure to check out the IEP Goals for Writing , Keyboarding and Copying for Students with Dysgraphia or Handwriting Difficulties too.

You may also want to check out these other resources about writing: + “ How To Teach Handwriting to A Child with Dysgraphia .” And + “ Help Your Child Learn Grammar Without Hating It! ” too.

NOW, let’s talk about written expression itself. If your child can write more easily, then he is more likely to express himself well in writing.

How To Write Measurable IEP Goals for Written Expression

Even though your child’s IEP may specify a writing program, you may find it hard to determine if your child is making progress with written expression. This is where great IEP Goals for written expression are necessary.

You need to KNOW if your child is making progress in his ability to write. Therefore, you need specific, measurable goals for writing in your child’s IEP, like those below. The example IEP goals for written expression must be changed to meet your child’s specific needs, so you need to learn how to create good goals. The examples make more sense once you know what a measurable goal looks like. 😉

iep goals for written expression

After learning how to write great IEP goals for written expression below, you can use the examples below to create great goals for your child, especially if he has dysgraphia or dyslexia.

Why Written Expression is a Problem:

Learning to write well involves many complex mental processes for organizing the writing in the child’s mind. Your child must hold information in his brain, recall phonemes, syllables, and sight word spellings for writing. Then he uses motor planning skills to get his ideas into written form.  Thus, your child needs goals for each writing skill that makes writing hard for him.

Your child may also have a lot problem with handwriting itself. Writing by hand might not allow your child to express himself at the same level at which he thinks. You see this when a child uses big words when talking, but writes at a much lower level. In that case, setting goals that include keyboarding, dictation, a scribe, or the use of dictation software helps.

There are sample IEP Goals for written expression below. The list includes goals for many skills used in writing.

For your child, you can write goals that are similarly worded. However, you need to change the goals, so they are based on your child’s current skill level.

To make good IEP Goals for written expression, add similar goals or modify these goals to create great goals for your child.

Examples of MEASURABLE IEP Goals for Written Expression:

For each writng assignment, [Child’s name] will independently create a keyword outline. He will have a main topic and three supporting points as a basis for his essay.

[Child’s name] will use the keyword outline process to create a written composition which contains paragraphs of at least three sentences each, an introduction, conclusion. [Child] will include at least three supporting points in three separate paragraphs. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability in all content areas and all settings.

For each essay assignment, [Child’s name] will independently develop his ideas fully. [Child] will write passages that contain well developed main ideas. [Child’s name] will give at least 3 details in each paragraph . [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability in all content areas and all settings for all written essays.

When assigned essays, [Child’s name] will independently develop his ideas. [Child] will create five-paragraph essays with proper essay structure using Dragon Naturally Speaking software to dictate his ideas to the computer. [Child’s name] will demonstrate the ability to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate essays in all class subjects.

Given general curriculum writing assignments, [Child’s name] will edit his writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. [Child] will have fewer than 2 overlooked errors per 250 words , without assistance. [Child’s name] will demonstrate this ability across all settings.

Consider writing goals for all skills in your child’s IEP Goals for written expression.

Keep in mind, when writing, your child must hold information in his head, then process it in his working memory. Your child can learn to use fine motor skills and good planning to get his ideas into writing. Thus, you’ll want to consider all of the necessary skills when creating IEP goals for written expression for your child.

Don’t forget to check out the IEP Goals for Writing, Keyboarding and Copying for Students with Dysgraphia or Handwriting Difficulties too. Keyboarding and handwriting are important as written expression skills as well.

You may ALSO want to check out Assistive Technology for kids with dysgraphia or writing difficulties . Include assistive technology in your IEP goals for written expression to set your child up for better long-term success.

Check related IEP Goals :

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization Skills and ADHD IEP Goals for Reading Example IEP Goals for Spelling IEP Goals for Copying

Rhythm of Handwriting manuscript - complete set

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8th grade writing iep goals

IEP Goal Writing Resources

Browse our Common Core aligned goal bank and find goals and objectives in reading, writing, and mathematics for your students, along with sample baseline language, assessment ideas, and tips on modifying the goals for your students! Find the tools you need to set ambitious and achievable goals for your students! Happy IEP writing!

Math Goal Bank

Common Core aligned IEP goals for word problems, computation, and number sense

Reading Goal Bank

Common Core aligned goals for decoding, fluency, inferencing, and comprehension

Writing Goal Bank

Common Core aligned goals for fluency, facts, word problems, number sense, and more

Reading Goals

reading 2

Fluency & Decoding

reading 3

Fiction Comprehension

Non-fiction comprehension, letters, sounds, and sight words, writing goals.

writing 2

Writing Fluency

Grammar & complete sentences, paragraphs & narratives.


Number Sense


Addition & Subtraction

Multiplication & division, word problems.

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