IEP Goals for Writing - With Samples

By Meredith Laden

IEP goals in written expression should include individual goals in various areas including content, fluency and focus. The following sample goals for writing can be used for primary level students with needs in the area of written expression.

Developing Written Expression Goals

What types of writing goals have you set for your students in the past? As with goals in any content area, growth in the area of written expression needs to be determined first by establishing a baseline. This can be done using writing prompts, fluency probes and spelling word lists as well as other standardized, standard based and curriculum designed assessments.

Need should be determined in the areas of fluency, focus, content, style and conventions, and goals should be categorized appropriately depending on need. Since growth in writing can be difficult to measure, the tool used (rubric, amount of words or other grading system) should be clear from the inception of the goal.

Content Goals

The following sample IEP goals for writing are directed at improving the student's content which includes the presence, development and support of ideas.

  • Given a writing assignment, the student will improve his content from a score of 2 (Basic) to a score of 3 (Proficient) using a district writing rubric.
  • With the use of a graphic organizer, the student will produce a (insert anticipated number) paragraph essay that includes a topic sentence, at least (insert anticipated number) transition words and a conclusion.
  • Given a topic, the student will compose (insert number of paragraphs required) in which each will include a topic sentence, at least (insert anticipated number) supporting details and logical sequence.

Fluency Goals

Depending on the level of the student, fluency goals can be used to measure letters written, words written or words written correctly (where words with spelling errors are not given credit).

  • Given a (insert number of minutes) timed writing probe, the student will increase the total number of words written correctly from (current baseline number of words) to (anticipated number of words)

Focus Goals

Focus is important in writing so the student does not go off topic and confuses the reader or presents too much, or conflicting, information.

  • Given a written assignment at his current grade level of (insert current grade level), the student will improve his focus (single topic or staying on a given topic) from a rubric score of 2 (Basic) to a rubric score of 3 (Proficient) on three out of four written assignments.

Conventions and Editing Goals

The goals in this section focus on the student's ability to use the conventions of language properly, including correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and word usage and to correct mistakes through editing.

  • Given a one paragraph writing sample at the (student's current grade level), the student will correct spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors accurately with two or fewer errors.
  • Given a prompt, the student will complete (anticipated number) sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation with (percentage of accuracy anticipated) increasing from baseline of (current percentage of accuracy).

Style Goals

Helping a students find his "voice" and improve his writing style can be one of the most difficult things to teach and measure. Goals should be specific, as whether a student has improved his writing style can be subjective.

  • Given a written assignment, the student will include at least three descriptive words appropriate to the text.
  • Given a three paragraph written assignment, the student will vary sentence structure throughout each paragraph.
  • Given a written assignment, the student will correctly include one or more simile and/or metaphor in his response.


IEP Goals and Objectives Bank: Search IEP goals and objectives by content area.

National Writing Project: Ideas and strategies by experienced teachers to help support and enhance writing instruction at all grade levels.