In my 21 years in working as a math teacher (with 6 that focused on special education) I have rarely seen IEP objectives for math that are directly aligned with the math curriculum that is to be accessed by the respective student for whom the objectives are written (see photo below). The photo above shows an excerpt from an OSERS letter regarding IEP goals that are standards based.

*“improve” and “problem solving skills” are entirely too obscure*

Below is a list of IEP objectives I have written for use in an IEP. They are directly aligned with the math content to be covered. Some educators insist on including the specialized instruction as part of the setting of the objective. I have no qualms with this as long as the student ultimately will demonstrate mastery of the objective without the supports (unless the supports are to be permanent or lead to subsequent objectives that will not have the supports included). *NOTE: If you would like suggestions for IEP objectives please use form below and I will add them to this post.*

Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1

- Goal 1: Xxxx will accurately simplify expressions and solve 1 variable linear equations.
- Objective 1: Xxxx will simplify a given algebraic expression 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).
- Objective 2: Xxxx will solve a given 1 variable linear equation by simplifying first 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).
- Objective 3: Xxxx will solve a given 1 variable linear equation with a variable on both sides 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).

- Goal 2: Xxxx will accurately complete linear function problems by identifying and using slope and intercepts.
- Objective 1: Xxxx will identify and interpret slope given various representations (equation, graph or table) 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).
- Objective 2: Xxxx will identify and interpret y-intercept given various representations (equation, graph or table) 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).
- Objective 3: Xxxx will convert between various forms of a linear function 8 out of 10 times with only minor algebraic mistakes (e.g. arithmetic error).

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This is right on target for the team taught general education High School math classes I co-teach and where the goal is to make the grade level curriculum accessible to the mild to moderate need student with an IEP.

I also teach a self contained High School math classes for students with moderate to severe needs who typically have cognitive issues. I approach the problem by trying to unpack the standards to get to a level that they might successfully access. Perhaps for your standard of identifing slope I might have a goal of identifying which line has a ‘steeper’ slope based on it’s graphic representation.

Having said that I struggle to right goals for the self contained class and wonder what ideas you might have to add?

Yes! Breaking topics down into smaller parts is an effective approach for students who struggle. Here is a link to a photo of slope being addressed as rise and run only using bears riding a bike up and down hills: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2M7mXX9hLMRNG1BTzJxOGRfREU

As for the students in a self-contained classroom, I always look at the bigger picture. What math will the students need in post-secondary life? Slope in “real life” plays out as a rate of change, e.g. pizza toppings cost $2 each. My position is that students who will not continue with education after exiting special ed should receive math pertinent to their lives. See the category of Consumer Math in the menu on this blog.

Regardless, I am happy to share ideas. Do you want suggestions for an algebra 1 type of class? I can whittle down the topics to fit a self-contained setting.

Love the bike magnetics for the whiteboard to illustrate slope, I gotta get me some!

More examples? No, I am comfortable with the team taught classes. As I understand the law, students with cognitive disablilities, such as the ones in my self contained classes, are never-the-less expected to have goals derived from grade level (as indicated by age) goals. I can unpack such things down to the right level, like you suggest with pizza toppings, One can then follow the letter of the law by the ‘unpacking’ of the standard down to where slope is the rate of change for adding $2 toppings. Now for math practices we also want them to model, so a model could be seen done as a graph that shows the slope of $2 toppings and $3 toppings and noting which one builds faster.

I guess my issue is why these standards have to applied in such cases, and I guess my answer is that ‘it’s the law’. I think actually I’m just venting.

Ah yes, I remember your consumer math effort. I agree, this is a much more appropiate standard to work towards for students that are moderate to severly affected. Please continue with your good work, and many thanks!

[…] I can use this data to identify where the student is struggling and how to help. NOTE: the math objective would use the same verb as the problem: solve the linear […]