• Math problem solving is a critical skill for students with learning disabilities that requires individualized support and attention.
  • Effective math problem solving IEP goals are specific, measurable, and achievable, and are developed through collaboration with parents, teachers, and other stakeholders.
  • By setting realistic goals, monitoring progress, and adjusting goals as needed, educators can help students with learning disabilities build their confidence and independence in math problem solving.

When a child has math skills and can apply them to everyday life, it can be something we take for granted.

Many of us are familiar with the moaning and groaning while doing math and saying, “But I’m never going to use this in my everyday life!” But, you might!

A pencil aids in math problem solving for IEP goals as it sits on top of a sheet of paper.

My teen can now do a lot of math in his head. I’ve noticed it while we are out shopping and he sees something he wants. He can quickly calculate in his head if he can afford it with the money in his pocket.

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Or, he can calculate in his head what the sale price will be if it is a certain percentage off the full price.

Recently, he asked for a subscription to Spotify. I made him an offer to gather and take out the trash weekly in exchange for this. He quickly calculated how much he was being “paid” to take out the trash every week and decided that it was worth a Spotify subscription.

In every-day conversations, math enters, and we don’t even realize it. Just the other day, I said to him, “Well, I heard that about 70% of the population has the COVID vaccine.” Without math skills and being able to visualize and apply them, this sentence has no meaning.

Even if you say something as mundane as “But you only ate half of your dinner!” you must have visualization and math skills for this phrase to have any impact.

Math problem solving is a crucial skill that students need to develop to succeed academically and in their future careers. Or, at least, support them if they are struggling to learn them. For students with learning disabilities, math problem solving can be a particularly challenging area that requires individualized support and attention.

This is where Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals come in.

IEP goals are specific, measurable objectives that are designed to help students with learning disabilities achieve academic success.

In the context of math problem solving, IEP goals can focus on a range of skills, including understanding mathematical concepts, applying problem-solving strategies, and monitoring progress. By setting realistic and achievable goals, educators can help students with learning disabilities build their confidence and independence in math problem solving.

To create effective math problem solving IEP goals, teachers will collaborate with parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to identify the student’s strengths and areas of need, assess their current level of mathematical understanding, and develop a plan for achieving their goals.

This article will explore the key components of math problem solving IEP goals, provide examples of effective goals, and offer strategies for monitoring progress and adjusting goals as needed.

By following these guidelines, educators can help students with learning disabilities develop the skills they need to succeed in math and beyond. And parents can better understand what a good math IEP goal looks like.

A girl is solving a math problem.

Understanding IEP Goals in Math Problem Solving

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are designed to help students with disabilities receive the support they need to succeed in school. IEP goals in math problem solving are specific objectives that are tailored to meet the needs of each individual student.

These goals are designed to help students develop the skills they need to solve math problems and succeed in math class.

IEP goals in math problem solving can cover a wide range of skills, including:

  • Understanding math concepts
  • Solving math problems
  • Using math tools and technology
  • Applying math skills to real-world situations

When developing IEP goals in math problem solving, it is important to consider the individual needs of each student. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

This means that they should be clear and concise, and should include specific details about what the student is expected to achieve and when they are expected to achieve it.

To help ensure that IEP goals in math problem solving are effective, it is important to involve parents, teachers, and other members of the student’s IEP team in the goal-setting process.

This can help to ensure that goals are realistic and achievable, and that they are tailored to meet the individual needs of each student.

IEP goals in math problem solving are an important tool for helping students with disabilities succeed in math class.

By setting clear, specific goals that are tailored to meet the individual needs of each student, educators can help to ensure that students are able to develop the skills they need to succeed in math and beyond.

A wooden abacus used for math problem solving.

IEP Goals for Math Problem Solving

When setting IEP goals for math problem solving, it is important to ensure that they are realistic and achievable. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation for both the student and the teacher.

Here are some tips for setting realistic IEP goals for math problem solving.

Assess the student’s current level of math problem-solving skills

Before setting goals, it is important to assess the student’s current level of math problem-solving skills. This can help identify areas of student strength and weakness and guide the development of appropriate goals. Typically this information is in the child’s Present Levels section of the IEP.

Teachers can use a variety of assessment tools, such as standardized tests, teacher observations, and student work samples, to gather information about the student’s math problem-solving abilities.

Use SMART criteria to develop goals

When developing IEP goals for math problem solving, it is important to use the SMART criteria. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Goals that meet these criteria are more likely to be achievable and effective. For example, a SMART goal for a student who struggles with math problem solving might be: “By the end of the school year, the student will accurately solve 80% of math word problems at grade level.”

Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps

Breaking down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps can help students feel more successful and motivated. Teachers can use a variety of strategies, such as scaffolding, modeling, and guided practice, to help students achieve their goals.

For example, a teacher might break down the goal of solving multi-step word problems into smaller steps, such as identifying key information, choosing an appropriate operation, and checking their work.

Involve the student in goal-setting

Involving the student in the goal-setting process can help increase motivation and ownership. Students can provide input on their strengths and weaknesses, suggest goals that are meaningful to them, and track their progress towards achieving their goals.

Teachers can use a variety of strategies, such as student-led conferences, goal-setting worksheets, and progress monitoring tools, to involve students in the goal-setting process.

By following these tips, teachers can develop realistic and effective IEP goals for math problem solving that help students achieve success and build confidence in their math abilities.

Math problem solving skills are reinforced through a set of stairs with numbers written on them.

Examples of Math Problem Solving IEP Goals

Math problem solving is a crucial skill for students with learning disabilities. It helps them to understand mathematical concepts and apply them to real-world situations.

In this section, we will explore some examples of math problem solving IEP goals for students at different levels.

Keep in mind that many IEP goals are aligned with state standards. If a child has a modified curriculum, then the IEP goals should reflect that.

Math Problem Solving Goals

Here are five potential IEP goals for math problem-solving skills:

  1. Goal: Understanding and Applying Problem-Solving Strategies
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate proficiency in identifying and applying appropriate problem-solving strategies, such as drawing diagrams, making tables, or working backwards, to solve a variety of math problems across different mathematical domains, achieving at least 80% accuracy on problem-solving tasks administered biweekly.
  2. Goal: Analyzing and Interpreting Math Word Problems
    • Objective: Over the course of the IEP period, the student will improve their ability to analyze and interpret math word problems by identifying key information, determining relevant mathematical operations, and formulating appropriate problem-solving strategies, achieving at least 70% accuracy on word problem tasks administered monthly.
  3. Goal: Critical Thinking in Math Problem Solving
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will develop critical thinking skills necessary for effective math problem solving, including the ability to evaluate the reasonableness of solutions, identify errors in problem-solving processes, and communicate mathematical reasoning clearly, achieving at least 75% accuracy on critical thinking tasks incorporated into problem-solving assessments bi-monthly.
  4. Goal: Transferring Math Problem-Solving Skills to Real-Life Situations
    • Objective: Over the IEP period, the student will demonstrate the ability to transfer problem-solving skills learned in the classroom to real-life situations, such as budgeting, planning, and decision-making scenarios, achieving at least 80% accuracy on problem-solving tasks conducted in authentic contexts, as measured by teacher observation and documentation.
  5. Goal: Collaborative Problem Solving
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will improve their ability to collaborate with peers to solve complex math problems through group discussions, cooperative learning activities, and peer tutoring sessions, achieving at least 70% accuracy on collaborative problem-solving tasks assessed quarterly.

These goals aim to enhance the student’s ability to effectively solve math problems by developing strategies, critical thinking skills, and the capacity to apply mathematical concepts in practical situations.

Math Reasoning IEP Goals

Here are five IEP goals focused on developing math reasoning skills:

  1. Goal: Mathematical Justification and Explanation
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will improve their ability to provide clear and coherent mathematical justifications and explanations for their problem-solving strategies and solutions across various mathematical domains, achieving at least 80% accuracy in written or verbal explanations assessed bi-weekly.
  2. Goal: Identifying Patterns and Relationships
    • Objective: Over the course of the IEP period, the student will enhance their ability to identify and describe patterns and relationships within mathematical contexts, such as number sequences, geometric figures, and algebraic expressions, achieving at least 70% accuracy on pattern recognition tasks administered monthly.
  3. Goal: Logical Reasoning in Mathematics
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will develop proficiency in applying logical reasoning skills to solve mathematical problems, including making deductions, identifying valid arguments, and evaluating mathematical conjectures, achieving at least 75% accuracy on logical reasoning tasks incorporated into problem-solving assessments bi-monthly.
  4. Goal: Analyzing and Evaluating Mathematical Arguments
    • Objective: Over the IEP period, the student will improve their ability to analyze and evaluate mathematical arguments presented in various forms, such as written proofs, mathematical models, and visual representations, achieving at least 80% accuracy on tasks requiring analysis and evaluation of mathematical arguments administered quarterly.
  5. Goal: Applying Mathematical Reasoning in Real-Life Contexts
    • Objective: By the end of the IEP period, the student will demonstrate the ability to apply mathematical reasoning skills to solve real-life problems and make informed decisions in everyday situations, achieving at least 70% accuracy on problem-solving tasks conducted in authentic contexts, as measured by teacher observation and documentation.

These goals are designed to help students develop strong mathematical reasoning abilities, including the capacity to justify their thinking, recognize patterns, apply logical reasoning, and analyze mathematical arguments.

Elementary Math Goals

  • Goal: Given a word problem, the student will identify the operation needed to solve the problem with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a real-world problem, the student will use a visual aid (such as a picture or manipulative) to represent the problem and solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a multi-step problem, the student will break down the problem into simpler steps and solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.

Middle School Math Goals

  • Goal: Given a real-world problem, the student will create a mathematical model to represent the problem and solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a multi-step problem, the student will use a problem-solving strategy (such as guess and check or work backwards) to solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a word problem, the student will use mathematical language and symbols to represent the problem and solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.

High School Math Goals

  • Goal: Given a real-world problem, the student will analyze the problem, identify the mathematical concepts involved, and formulate a plan to solve it with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a multi-step problem, the student will use critical thinking skills to evaluate the reasonableness of their solution and revise it if necessary with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.
  • Goal: Given a word problem, the student will apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve the problem and explain their reasoning in writing with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation.

They should be tailored to the student’s needs and abilities and should focus on developing their problem-solving skills in real-world contexts.

Strategies for Achieving IEP Goals

IEP goals for math problem solving can be challenging to achieve, but with the right strategies, students can make significant progress. In this section, we will discuss three effective strategies for achieving IEP goals: Explicit Instruction, Peer Tutoring, and Self-Monitoring.

Explicit Instruction in Math

Explicit instruction involves breaking down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps. Teachers can use this strategy to teach math problem-solving skills by providing students with clear, step-by-step instructions and modeling the problem-solving process.

Explicit instruction can be particularly helpful for students who struggle with executive functioning skills, such as planning and organization.

By breaking down the problem-solving process into smaller steps, students can better understand the process and develop the skills they need to solve math problems independently.

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring is another effective strategy for achieving IEP goals. Peer tutoring involves pairing students with a peer who has stronger math problem-solving skills.

The peer tutor can help the student with the IEP goal by modeling problem-solving strategies, providing feedback, and offering support.

Peer tutoring can be particularly helpful for students who struggle with social skills or who are hesitant to ask for help from adults. By working with a peer, students can build confidence and develop the skills they need to solve math problems independently.

Due to a litany of concerns (privacy, bullying), many schools are leaning away from the concept of peer tutors. If you think your child will benefit from it, try to arrange this privately with someone you can trust–a neighbor, cousin, etc.

Self-Monitoring

Self-monitoring is a strategy that involves teaching students to monitor their own progress toward their IEP goals.

Teachers can use this strategy by providing students with clear criteria for success and teaching them to track their progress toward their goals.

Self-monitoring can be particularly helpful for students who struggle with motivation or who have difficulty staying on task. By monitoring their own progress, students can take ownership of their learning and develop the skills they need to achieve their IEP goals.

Explicit instruction, peer tutoring, and self-monitoring are effective strategies for achieving IEP goals in math problem solving.

By using these strategies, teachers can help students develop the skills they need to solve math problems independently and achieve their IEP goals.

Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Goals

Once IEP goals have been established for a student’s math problem-solving skills, it is important to monitor their progress regularly.

Progress monitoring allows teachers to determine whether the student is making adequate progress towards their goals, and to make necessary adjustments to the goals or instructional strategies if progress is not being made.

There are several ways to monitor progress, including:

  • Observation: Teachers can observe the student’s problem-solving skills during classwork, homework, and assessments to determine whether they are making progress towards their goals.
  • Data Collection: Teachers can collect data on the student’s performance on specific problem-solving tasks or assessments to track progress over time.
  • Checklists: Teachers can use checklists to track the student’s progress on specific skills or tasks related to their problem-solving goals.

Once progress has been monitored, teachers can adjust the student’s goals or instructional strategies as necessary. This may involve modifying the goals themselves, changing the teaching methods used to support the student, or providing additional support or resources to help the student achieve their goals.

It is important to involve the student and their family in the goal-setting and progress monitoring process, as they can provide valuable insights into the student’s strengths, challenges, and learning preferences. By working together, teachers, students, and families can ensure that the student’s math problem-solving goals are challenging, achievable, and tailored to their individual needs.

Collaboration with Parents and Teachers

Collaboration between parents and teachers is essential for the success of students with math problem-solving IEP goals. Parents can provide valuable information about their child’s strengths and weaknesses, which can help teachers create more effective IEP goals.

Teachers, in turn, can provide parents with feedback on their child’s progress and offer suggestions for how they can support their child’s learning at home.

One way to facilitate collaboration is to hold regular meetings between parents and teachers. These meetings can be used to discuss the student’s progress, set goals, and identify areas where additional support may be needed.

It’s important that both parties come prepared to these meetings with specific examples of what’s been working and what hasn’t, as well as any questions or concerns they may have.

Another way to foster collaboration is to provide parents with resources and strategies they can use to support their child’s learning at home. This might include providing access to online math resources, suggesting math games and activities, or offering tips on how to help their child with homework.

Finally, it’s important to keep lines of communication open between parents and teachers throughout the school year. This can be done through regular progress reports, email updates, or phone calls.

By working together, parents and teachers can help ensure that students with math problem-solving IEP goals are receiving the support they need to succeed.

A child is solving a math problem in a notebook.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of IEP goals for math problem solving in 6th grade?

Some examples of IEP goals for math problem solving in 6th grade include setting goals for solving multi-step word problems, identifying relevant information, and using different strategies to solve problems. Additionally, students may be expected to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts by explaining their problem-solving strategies.

What are the goals of problem solving in mathematics for elementary students?

The goals of problem solving in mathematics for elementary students are to develop critical thinking skills, promote logical reasoning, and enhance problem-solving abilities. Students should be able to identify and understand the problem, develop a plan to solve it, and check their work for accuracy.

What is an example of a problem solving IEP goal for math?

An example of a problem solving IEP goal for math is for a student to solve real-world problems using appropriate mathematical strategies. This may include setting goals for identifying key information in word problems, selecting appropriate operations to solve problems, and checking their work for accuracy.

What are some IEP goals for math reasoning and word problems?

Some IEP goals for math reasoning and word problems include setting goals for identifying key information, using appropriate mathematical operations to solve problems, and checking their work for accuracy. Additionally, students may be expected to explain their problem-solving strategies and demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts.

What are the typical IEP goals for math problem solving in 7th grade?

Typical IEP goals for math problem solving in 7th grade include setting goals for solving multi-step word problems, using appropriate mathematical operations to solve problems, and checking their work for accuracy. Additionally, students may be expected to explain their problem-solving strategies and demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts.

What is the IEP goal for math problem solving in 1st grade?

The IEP goal for math problem solving in 1st grade is to develop basic problem-solving skills and to promote logical reasoning. Students should be able to identify and understand the problem, develop a plan to solve it, and check their work for accuracy. Additionally, students may be expected to demonstrate their understanding of basic mathematical concepts.

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