Annual IEP Goals

Annual IEP goals are one-year goals that will advance the student towards his or her measurable postsecondary goals.

Essential Elements

  • An annual transition goal is a statement of measurement of a student’s progress in a specific skill or behavior related to his/her transition service needs, over a period of one year. The goal contains the behavior or skill to be measured, the conditions under which the skill or behavior will be measured,  and the criterion or level of performance expected.
  • For each of the postsecondary goal areas (i.e., employment, postsecondary training, and independent living), an annual goal and short-term objectives or benchmarks are included in the IEP related to the student’s transition services needs.
  • Annual goals should focus on the transition service needs of the student.
  • An annual goal can be used to measure the student’s progress related to specific transition services that are being provided.
  • As with any annual goal, it must be measurable.

Background Information


Explanation of the annual goal requirement and how it connects to other transition components on the IEP. 3:11-minutes.


  • Life After High School Transition Tool Kit, (PDF, 80 pages, 2018) from the NH Parent Information Center to help parents understand postsecondary transition planning. Includes examples.
  • Measureable Annual Goals and Benchmarks page from New Hampshire exemplar IEPs:
  • The I’m Determined website from Virginia offers an online transition guide with lots of ideas for annual goals, broken out by age ranges from 10 to 21. There are sections for independent living, employment, postsecondary education, and self-determination.
  • The TAGG  (Transition Assessment and Goal Generator) helps you use transition assessments to develop annual transition goals. The TAGG professional, student, and family versions identify students’ strengths and needs, then provide annual transition goals.
  • A one-hour webinar from the Strafford Learning Center in New Hampshire, part three of a series, Secondary Transition. Part 3 focuses on developing annual goals that help students increase skills or knowledge in areas that are relevant to their transition service needs.

I-13 Requirement

Do annual goal(s) relate to the student’s transition services needs?

Essential Elements adapted from O’Leary (2010), Reviewer Reference Form for the Transition Requirements Checklist

Updated 1/25/18