Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals vs. Standards

There is a lot of talk these days about Standards: Common Core Standards, State Standards, etc... and it's had me thinking.  What's the difference between IEP Goals & Standards?

Listening to a recent podcast - With Students in Mind, episode 7 - and Russ Goerend talks quite a lot about teaching his class to the standards and even giving grades based on standards.  And all I kept thinking was how is this any different than IEP goals?  IEP goals are just a way to measure progress, like standards.  IEP goals are monitored on a regular basis, like standards.  IEP goals are standards!

OK, so there are a few differences that I can think of Goals are individualized to each student, while standards are more generalized.  Another large difference I can think of is that Standards are shared with students, while goals are not.  Many schools are sharing standards with students, as a way to increase student success.  Why aren't we doing it with IEP goals?

I admit, this is not something I've considered very much until recently, but I think it's a conversation we need to have.  I teach students with significant cognitive disabilities and I've never done this.  And it occurs to me that maybe I should.  I'm expecting my students to "meet" standards, but they've never been told what it is that I want them to do.  Just like their peers in general education, if they don't know what they are working towards, how can they meet it?

I don't have an answer to this question at this time, but I do think it's something that we need to consider as educators, especially special educators.  I know it's something I'll be looking into!


Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons:  BabyDinosaur

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