A stop sign
  • “80% is a good number for a goal.” Then, someone else said:
  • “I agree! But, I want it to read 4 out of 5!” Finally, trying to please both of these individuals, someone said:
  • “Why not both? Let it read 80% on 4 out of 5 attempts!” IEP teams at school systems across the nation went forth to make goals that followed this template without taking the time to realize that they were mathematically horrible for the student. That’s how it goes in my mind, anyway. In reality, it is probably a combination of limited time, conformity, and plain old human laziness.

64 Is The New Passing Bar?

  • “Given visual supports and provided explicit instruction using a multisensory approach, Student will listen to sounds in target words, and encode real/nonsense (CV, VC, CVC) words with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 documented opportunities by 02/17/2023.” There are a few things wrong with this goal, but let’s focus on the success measurement. What this goal is really saying is:
  • Given visual supports and provided explicit instruction using a multisensory approach, Student will listen to sounds in target words, and encode real/nonsense (CV, VC, CVC) words with 80% accuracy on (4/5 = 80%) of documented opportunities.
  • 80% of 80% = 64% ! Here’s a visual:
80 Percent on 4 out of 5 Trial Example Spreadsheet
80% on 4 out of 5 Trial Example

Should You Recognize Safety Hazards 64% of the Time?

  • “When presented with a real-life scenario involving safety hazards, Student will recognize the danger in each and identify an appropriate action to take in response to it with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 documented opportunities.” Again, this goal is really saying:
  • When presented with a real-life scenario involving safety hazards, Student will recognize the danger in each and identify an appropriate action to take in response to it with 80% accuracy in (4/5 = 80%) of documented opportunities.
  • Are you really okay with your child crossing the street safely only 64% of the time?

Watch Out for Low Bars

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Harley Stagner

Harley Stagner

I write about Educational Rights, IEPs, and Down Syndrome.