Course of Study and Annual IEP Goals

Course of Study

The student's course of study should align with their measurable postsecondary goals. This should be a multi-year listing of courses that the student will take in order to enable him or her to reach their postsecondary goals.

Sample course of study for a student whose measurable postsecondary goals are:

  • Amy will enroll in a 4-year university in the psychology program.
  • Amy will work as a substance abuse counselor.
Subject School Year
School Year
School Year
School Year
English English I English II English III English IV
Math Algebra I Geometry Algebra II Pre-Calculus
Science Biology Chemistry Physics  
History European History Asian-African History U.S. History U.S. Government
Foreign Language Spanish I Spanish II Spanish III Spanish IV
Elective       Psychology
Elective       Anatomy and Physiology

Note: When planning a course of study, do not disregard graduation requirements.

Tip: It may not always be possible to match a student's postsecondary goals exactly with a class offered by the high school or if it doesn't fit into this year's schedule. In this case, think about courses that address soft skills or secondary skills that would help the student achieve his or her postsecondary goal or be successful in a postsecondary environment.

Course of study resources:

Annual IEP goals related to transition service needs

Annual IEP goals are not to be confused with postsecondary goals.

Annual IEP goals are familiar to teachers and IEP Team members. These are goals that address the student's academic or functional behavioral needs. These are not to be confused with the measurable postsecondary goals.

Annual IEP goals are goals that will be achieved during the IEP cycle. They are those math, reading, writing, and behavioral goals that teachers and IEP teams have been writing for years.

Things to consider when writing annual IEP goals that relate to the student's transition service needs:

  • What are the student's measurable postsecondary goals?
  • What are the student's academic challenges?
  • What skills will the student need in the desired postschool setting(s)?
  • What annual IEP goals can be written and worked on while still in high school that will reasonably enable the student to be successful in the desired postschool settings?
Examples of Annual IEP goals aligned with Postsecondary Goals
Postsecondary Goals Annual (Skill-based) IEP Goals
Education/Training Goal: Thomas plans to enroll in an emergency medical technician training program, after high school. Goal Focus - Math Skills: Thomas will be able to solve word problems involving percentages and decimals, with 100% accuracy, 9 out of 10 times, by April 2013. 
Employment Goal: After graduating high school, Wendell plans to work in his father's automotive business. Goal Focus - Communication Skills: By March 2013, Wendell will maintain appropriate eye contact when speaking with others in 4 out of 5 opportunities, as measured by teacher observation. 
Independent Living Skills Goal: Vickie plans to live in an apartment with a roommate, after graduating high school.  Goal Focus - Healthcare Skills: Under the supervision of the school nurse, Vickie will use a pill packer this year to safely self-administer her medicaiton during the school day. 

(This chart was taken from the Massachusettts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, May 2012. For the full chart, click here.)