I will never forget this one day when Kevin was a preschooler. We had an IEP meeting, and one of his proposed math IEP goals was to be able to visualize and identify what 2 of something looks like or what 3 of something looks like.

That same day, my younger son came up to me with two baby blankets, one in each hand, and said, “Look, mommy! TWO blankies!” Ouch. He’s two and a half years younger, and he already had the skills that his brother lacked—a beginning math skill.

math iep goals

Math IEP goals are one of my nemeses as an advocate. Because here’s the thing: very few math skills are stand-alone skills.

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And, when parents ask me for assistance, they’ll ask for things like a 6th grade math IEP goal, even though their child is not performing at the level of 6th grade math content.

What one kindergarten child can do as far as kindergarten math IEP goals varies from child to child.

A pencil sits on top of a math multiplication sheet.

Math IEP Goals

To perform even the most basic skill, a student needs other foundational skills.

I find that when you dig deep underneath the skill deficits behind the math deficits, you often find a whole host of other issues.

Math GoalFoundation Skill
Number and Operations* Understand place value and the base-ten number system
* Develop fluency with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
* Solve problems involving fractions, decimals, and percentages
Algebra* Understand patterns, functions, and relationships
* Solve equations and inequalities
* Analyze and interpret graphs and data
Geometry* Understand basic geometric concepts such as points, lines, and angles
* Identify and classify shapes
* Calculate perimeter, area, and volume
Measurement* Develop an understanding of units and systems of measurement
* Measure and estimate length, weight, capacity, and time
* Solve problems involving conversions between units
Data Analysis & Probability* Collect, organize, and represent data
* Analyze and interpret data using measures of central tendency and variability
* Understand basic concepts of probability

Math Goals

We often forget that math skills often begin with memorization. Parents and teachers sing songs about counting to ten. So is a child actually counting to ten? Or are they just singing a memorized song? A child can tell you 2+2=4. But is that a memorized phrase? Can that child actually visualize what two of something looks like?

Being able to memorize your home address and knowing where you live are two different skills. See my point?

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If a child has unaddressed reading issues, they cannot do word problems. Math learning cannot occur without either working memory or accommodations for a lack of working memory. And there are many other subsets that our kids lack.

The child also has to be able to assign symbols to an idea. Three, III, and 3 all mean the same thing.

As an exercise, let’s say we put 3 donut holes in front of a child. Ask them to count them. They get to 3. But could they assign the number 3 in a matching exercise?

Furthermore, can I look at a plate with 5 donut holes and tell you which plate has more donut holes?

Three colorful sprinkled donuts on a wooden table, perfect for a math-inspired IEP goal setting session.
I’ll happily practice math if we’re counting donuts.

Foundations of Math Skills

  • Understanding size and measurements
  • Number sense
  • Ability to count verbally (first forward, then backward)
  • Recognizing numerals
  • Spatial awareness, visualizing what “3” of something looks like.
  • More than, less than
  • Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)
  • patterns
  • estimating
  • sequences
  • problem-solving
  • comparison
  • sorting
  • language
  • working memory

What happens is that some kids are great at either memorizing or masking, until they can’t. So it is assumed that they have sort of stalled out on math skills when the fact is that they likely always lacked the basics, but it wasn’t evident.

Screenshot of Math IEP Goals
From the University of Chicago list below.

Too many people who write math goals approach it from the point of view of a mathematician. Look at the goal above for 1st grade, the part where it says “calculate and compare the values of combinations and coins.”

It makes me cringe. We all know that a nickel is bigger than a dime but worth less. To know and memorize this also requires flexible thinking, as in “bigger is not always more.”

I get that this is a standards-based list, but I just cannot stress enough how important it is to address what lies underneath successful math skills.

A wooden abacus, perfect for math exercises and achieving IEP goals, is placed on a clean white background.
It seems old-fashioned, but an abacus provides a multi-sensory approach to learning math.

Math Skills IEP Goals

Ok, so my point is…or I am pleading with you, if you have found this blog post, to make sure that the underlying skills have been evaluated and addressed. I know that many parents and educators come to lists of IEP math goals, choose what fits, and that’s it.

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If the foundation skill isn’t there, the math skill will never be achieved. And this can be harmful to a child’s mental health, to be constantly given goals you cannot achieve or be able to define why you cannot do them.

Please promise me that you won’t come here, grab your needed goal ideas to complete the IEP and just bounce, ok?

A young boy engaging in reading with a book in his mouth.

Math Goals for an IEP

Here you go: the printable list of Math IEP Goals.

I have Money Goals for an IEP in a related post. And Word Problem IEP Goals are a separate post too.

I have a love/hate relationship with this list. I liked that it does list the skills incremental skill sets by age/grade.

But, it is just that–a list. It does not go into any of the pre-skills that are necessary. “Do mental arithmetic” is a useless command if you lack working memory or the ability to visualize quantity.

I hope this helps. In some cases, the child will need a good neuropsychological evaluation to determine what the root of the issue is.

Functional Math IEP Goals Examples

I have a whole separate list of money IEP goals, if you want more details and more specificity.

Here are five potential Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals for functional math:

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  1. Goal: Money Management
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate proficiency in counting and making change with dollars and coins in real-life situations, such as purchasing items at a store, with at least 80% accuracy across three consecutive data collection points.
  2. Goal: Budgeting and Planning
    • Objective: Over the IEP period, the student will develop the ability to create and maintain a personal budget for a specified period (e.g., month) with at least 90% accuracy, including tracking expenses, income, and savings goals, as measured by teacher observation and review of budgeting documents.
  3. Goal: Measurement Skills
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will accurately measure and estimate lengths, weights, and volumes of commonly used items (e.g., groceries, household objects) using appropriate units (e.g., inches, pounds, liters) in at least 4 out of 5 opportunities, as assessed by teacher-created tasks and practical applications.
  4. Goal: Time Management
    • Objective: Over the course of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate improved proficiency in telling time, including reading analog and digital clocks, and understanding time-related concepts (e.g., elapsed time, schedules) in various contexts, achieving at least 80% accuracy on time-related tasks across different settings.
  5. Goal: Problem Solving in Daily Situations
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will be able to solve practical math problems encountered in daily living independently, such as calculating recipe measurements, determining sale prices, and interpreting transit schedules, with at least 75% accuracy as measured by teacher observation and performance on problem-solving tasks.

These goals are designed to help students develop functional math skills that are directly applicable to real-life situations, promoting independence and success in various environments.

Life Skills Math Goals for an IEP

Please note that I have previously done another post about IEP goals for Money Skills.

  1. Match objects to objects (one-to-one correspondence).
  2. Count with meaning.
  3. Identify and match numerals.
  4. Match objects that occur in pairs.
  5. Identify the basic shapes of a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle when they have functional relevance.
  6. Discriminate between left and right.
  7. Use a number line.
  8. Identify the ordinal positions of people and objects.
  9. Follow oral directions involving a sequence of steps described in their ordinal sequence.
  10. Identify numerals of personal importance (such as birth date, age, address, telephone number, and social security number) when this information appears on written materials and documents.
  11. Write numerals when supplying personal data on various forms and documents.
  12. Identify the written expression for numerals when it appears in written materials.
  13. Write the written expression for numerals when requested to do so on checks, deposit and withdrawal slips, and other financial transactions.
  14. Identify the fractions ½, 1/3, and ¼ when they occur alone and when they are part of simple mixed numbers.
  15. Correctly compute simple subtraction problems when presented with various terms for subtracting: take away, minus, and subtract.
  16. Use the process signs (-) and (+) in addition and subtraction when given simple arithmetic problems.
  17. Identify and use numbers appearing on common equipment, appliances, and materials.
  18. Discriminate between large and small and big and little items.
  19. Discriminate between short and tall and short and long.
  20. Discriminate between full and empty.
  21. Use ruler to measure the dimension of objects and things.
  22. Use measuring cups and spoons in cooking and other functional activities.
  23. Use a scale to measure his or her weight and a food scale to measure in food preparation activities.
  24. Uses a yardstick and a measuring tape to measure length, width, depth, and height.
  25. Measure objects and recipe items using whole numbers, fractions (1/2, 1/3, and ¼), and mixed numbers.
  26. Estimate size, distance, and quantity.
Mini teaspoon measuring cup is perfect for helping individuals with math iep goals.

Math Calculation IEP Goals

Here are five potential IEP goals for math calculation skills:

  1. Goal: Addition and Subtraction Fluency
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate mastery of basic addition and subtraction facts up to 20, achieving at least 90% accuracy on timed assessments administered bi-weekly.
  2. Goal: Multiplication and Division Proficiency
    • Objective: Over the course of the IEP period, the student will develop fluency in multiplication and division facts up to 10, accurately solving multiplication and division problems in written and mental calculations with at least 80% accuracy across multiple assessments.
  3. Goal: Problem Solving with Math Operations
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will be able to solve multi-step math word problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with numbers up to 100, demonstrating understanding of the problem-solving process and achieving at least 70% accuracy on problem-solving tasks administered monthly.
  4. Goal: Understanding Place Value
    • Objective: Over the IEP period, the student will develop a solid understanding of place value concepts up to the thousands place, including the ability to identify and represent the value of digits in various positions within a number, achieving at least 80% accuracy on place value exercises and assessments conducted quarterly.
  5. Goal: Mathematical Reasoning and Critical Thinking
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate improved ability to apply mathematical reasoning and critical thinking skills to solve complex math problems, including identifying patterns, making conjectures, and justifying solutions, with at least 75% accuracy on problem-solving tasks administered bi-monthly.

These goals focus on building foundational math calculation skills, promoting fluency, problem-solving abilities, and mathematical reasoning.

Measurable IEP Goals for Math

IEP teams can put any math skill into the IEP goal formula and add in the personal details that are relevant to the student.

That will make your IEP math goal measurable.

IEP counseling goals worksheet.
Put any skill into the IEP goal formula to make it measurable.

IEP Math Goals

Here’s a list of 25 IEP goals for math, covering various aspects including calculation, computation, problem-solving, and mathematical reasoning:

  1. Student will accurately add and subtract within (insert range) using appropriate strategies and tools.
  2. Student will demonstrate proficiency in multiplication and division facts up to (insert level).
  3. Student will solve multi-step addition and subtraction word problems with regrouping accurately.
  4. Student will solve multi-digit multiplication problems with 90% accuracy.
  5. Student will accurately divide whole numbers by one-digit divisors with remainders.
  6. Student will apply the order of operations correctly to solve numerical expressions.
  7. Student will solve fraction addition and subtraction problems with like and unlike denominators.
  8. Student will accurately multiply fractions and mixed numbers.
  9. Student will solve word problems involving decimal operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) with 85% accuracy.
  10. Student will apply knowledge of factors and multiples to solve mathematical problems.
  11. Student will accurately calculate area and perimeter of geometric shapes.
  12. Student will solve mathematical puzzles and brain teasers involving logical reasoning and numerical patterns.
  13. Student will accurately solve algebraic equations involving one variable.
  14. Student will graph linear equations and interpret the meaning of slope and y-intercept.
  15. Student will analyze and interpret data displayed in tables, graphs, and charts.
  16. Student will accurately calculate probability and make predictions based on probability outcomes.
  17. Student will demonstrate understanding of geometric transformations (translations, rotations, reflections, dilations).
  18. Student will solve real-world mathematical problems involving measurement conversions (e.g., length, weight, volume).
  19. Student will accurately calculate percentages and apply percentage concepts in real-life situations.
  20. Student will demonstrate fluency in mental math strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  21. Student will solve mathematical problems involving ratios and proportions.
  22. Student will apply knowledge of geometry to identify and classify shapes based on their properties.
  23. Student will accurately solve mathematical problems involving time, including elapsed time and time conversions.
  24. Student will demonstrate proficiency in using mathematical tools and technology (e.g., calculators, spreadsheets, geometric software).
  25. Student will accurately solve two-step equations and inequalities involving integers and rational numbers.

Math IEP Goals

These goals cover a range of math skills and concepts suitable for students with diverse learning needs and abilities. Adjust goals based on individual student requirements and grade level expectations.

Don’t miss my other lists of IEP goal ideas in the IEP goal bank.

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