I signed up for fastIEP, grabbed my cup of coffee and my student’s IEP at a glance, and am ready to dive in! But… how exactly do I do that when my goals aren’t in a S.M.A.R.T. format already? And wait a minute — my only options when I log a goal are yes and no?? How is this going to work?!
We get it. New software is, well… new, and probably pretty different than the way you are currently logging goals. But don’t worry! Below we’ll explain how any IEP goal can be put into our Goal Constructor, and give examples of how to log data towards each of these goals. In the next few minutes, you’ll be logging goals with a single click 🙂
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Prefer to watch a video on this topic instead? Scroll to the bottom!
Adding a goal into the Goal Constructor
Let’s start with the basics. You have your goal (and your cup of coffee), and you have the fastIEP Goal Constructor up on your screen.
Let’s begin by breaking down the sections of the goal that need to be filled in with a fictitious goal: You will get the ball in the pocket on 80% of shots, during 4 out of 5 games of pool.
- The Goal Kernel. This is the tangible, measurable action, performance, or change that you expect the student to achieve from the goal. In our goal, the Goal Kernel is to “get the ball in the pocket”.
- Criterion 1. This is the performance threshold you expect your student to meet each observation period — it is what you are defining as successful mastery of the goal during one observation period. In our example goal, Criterion 1 is “on 80% of shots”
- Criterion 2. This is the Total Observation Periods, or the period of time you give a student to meet the performance threshold, and the number of times you re-test to ensure the student is consistently meeting that threshold. In our example goal, Criterion 2 is “during 4 out of 5 games of pool”
So, now that we’ve broken down our goal, why do we need each of these components? The Goal Kernel is the simplest — it is what we want to achieve through the goal. But why do we need Criterion 1 and 2? Well, let’s look back at our example goal.
If we only ask, “can you get the ball in the pocket 80% of the time?”, you could try all year and usually perform at only 10% — but on one fine day, you luckily land 80% of the shots during some stretch of time. (Then you go back to 10%.) Have you mastered the game of pool?
In fact, if I really want to be cheeky, I could wait for you to get any shot in a pocket and say that for that observation you performed at 100%. Goal complete!! 🙂
That is what happens if we only define the performance threshold and not the observation periods.
In contrast, let’s say that I don’t define the performance threshold, but only the observation periods. That would be something like “You will get a ball in a pocket during 4 out 5 games.” Therefore, you only have to complete a single shot during the course of a game (which can be any length), in 4 of 5 games.
Do we know if you have mastered the game of pool?
Therefore, we need to define both the “Performance Threshold” and also the “Observation Periods”.
Stepping back into the classroom, this works for most types of IEP goals. You can use 80% or 4 out of 5 for the performance threshold — it doesn’t matter. But you ALSO usually should define the observation periods (e.g. “4 out 5 weeks” or “3 consecutive quizzes” or whatever you like).
Take a few minutes to flip through your goals and see if you have both criteria in them. If not, pause here and add them in based on how you plan to measure your goals.
Let’s take a look at a goal that doesn’t clearly outline both criteria, as an example:
A student will complete steps 1-8 of shoe tying with no assistance during 5 consecutive OT sessions.
The goal kernel is “complete steps 1-8 of shoe tying with no assistance”. Criterion 1, performance threshold, is missing, but Criterion 2 is in the goal: “during 5 consecutive sessions”.
As you remember, Criterion 1 measures the performance threshold you expect your student to meet when performing the goal. Based on the wording of the goal, the student must complete all 8 steps of shoe tying, which would make “with 100% accuracy” seem like an appropriate measure of performance — which is what we can add as Criterion 1.
Even if there isn’t a specific performance threshold (or observation period) written into the goal, you can create one based on the goal you are trying to achieve! NOTE: If you do not have a defined observation period, we suggest adding “1 out of 1 observations” as a placeholder. >> Add your goals here <<
Measuring any goal with Yes or No
So, now your goal is added in. Still not sure how you’re going to measure the goal with only a Yes or No option? Let’s take some examples from the classroom:
Here’s a goal we can start with: a student will answer 5 questions after a story has been read aloud with 80% accuracy over 8 consecutive trials.
A quick aside: the goal kernel would be “answer 5 questions after a story has been read aloud”. Criterion 1, measuring performance, is “with 80% accuracy”. Criterion 2, measuring observation periods, is “over 8 consecutive trials.
A question you might be asking: How do I indicate in fastIEP that the student got 60% accuracy when the goal tracker only let’s me answer Yes or No on whether the student performed the task at that time? I don’t want to always indicate “No” and it says 0% if she really is achieving at some level.
Here is how we can adjust our goal logging pattern to accommodate more granular data collection:
- Treat each of the 5 questions as its own discrete event. In practice, that means that each time she answers a question, you tap on the goal tile and log a goal.
- For the first question in a given trial, you click the goal tile and answer Yes or No based on whether the student got that particular question right or wrong. Because it’s the first question, logging that event starts the trial.
- For each of the 5 questions, you record Yes or No. The percentage will go up or down accordingly, as calculated by the software on an ongoing basis.
- After the 5th question, you click ‘End observation period’ underneath the goal tile. The system then automatically calculates whether the 80% threshold was met. In our case, the student would succeed on that observation period if they achieved 80% or 100%; if the student had 60% or less, they did not meet the threshold for that period.
- Each time you have a new story and set of 5 questions, you do the same thing again. You log the first question and that opens the observation period, and after the 5th question, you close the period.
Now let’s try a speech goal — A student will pronounce ‘L’ in all words with 90% accuracy in 4 out of 5 days.
Let’s break down the goal: the goal kernel is “pronounce ‘L’ in all words”. Criterion 1, measuring performance, is “with 90% accuracy”. Criterion 2, denoting observation periods, is “in 4 out of 5 days”.
How can fastIEP automatically calculate whether your student achieved that goal?
- Since the total observation period is 5 days, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you are measuring this goal throughout the course of one week.
- On Monday, you start logging data towards the goal. You do this by tapping the goal tile and answering Yes or No every time the student uses a word that has an ‘L’ in it. Did they pronounce ‘L’ correctly? Select Yes. If not, select No.
- Once your class is over on Monday, you end the observation period. fastIEP automatically calculates whether they reached 90% accuracy that day.
- On Tuesday, you repeat this process. And again on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
- Now that your 5th day is complete and you have ended your final observation period, your goal will be marked complete, and you will have a full week’s worth of data to show your student’s progress each day — and you never had to do anything more than answer Yes or No!
Let’s dive back into the OT goal from our last section: A student will complete steps 1-8 of shoe tying with no assistance during 5 consecutive OT sessions.
As we mentioned above, the goal kernel is “complete steps 1-8 of shoe tying with no assistance”. Criterion 1 is “with 100% accuracy”. Criterion 2 is “during 5 consecutive OT sessions.”
Pause here before reading on and see if you can work through how you would log this goal!
Here’s how I suggest logging it:
- Each OT session that you measure this goal is an observation period. In your first OT session, you would ask the student to tie their shoe. For each step, you would log a goal – Yes, they completed the step, or No, they did not.
- At the end of the OT session, you will have logged 8 goal events — 1 for each step. Then, you will press ‘end observation period.’
- If the student completed all 8 steps accurately, they will have met the performance goal for that period.
- You will do this same process each time you have an OT session where you are measuring shoe tying.
- If the student did not complete one of the steps accurately and you log ‘No’, you can add an annotation that mentions which step they did not complete independently — then you can track their progress on how they improve throughout the course of monitoring this skill!
So, there you have it — logging goals with a single click!
Do you still have goals that you aren’t sure how to log, or fit into the fastIEP goal constructor? Just send us an email (support@fastIEP.com) — we’re always here to help!