Measurable Postsecondary Goals

June 29, 2022. This page is currently being updated. Don’t worry about typos and unfinished sentences. We’ll be done soon!

Backward planning means you first define the ultimate objective, then develop a plan to achieve that objective. Postsecondary goals are the ultimate objective of a transition-focused IEP. Transition services, courses of study and annual goals are the plan steps to reasonably enable the student to get there.

I-13 Requirement

Is there an appropriate and measurable postsecondary goal or goals that covers education or training, employment, and, as needed, independent living?

Essential Elements

  • Postsecondary goals represent the student’s perspective about their next step after high school. They can be included in the IEP at any earlier point, but once a student is 16, postsecondary goals must be measurable. They are based on the student’s strengths, preferences and interests, and are identified through use of age-appropriate transition assessments. 
  • Measurable means they clearly describe the specific action, step or activity the student will undertake after high school completion. The student should be able to easily determine later if they have achieved a goal.

  • IEP teams should discuss postsecondary goals with the student any time high school courses and diplomas are discussed. This helps keep courses and diplomas aligned with the postsecondary goals and helps the student and family understand the relationship between their in-school decisions and post-school plans.

  • Each student’s post-school plan and needs are different. Early in the planning process, postsecondary goals can and should be general. They become more specific and more measurable as students near high school completion, and as they learn more about themselves and their goals.

  • Goals are most often found out of compliance with Indicator 13 because:

    • no specific area of interest was identified by age 16, or

    • the area of interest does not align with transition assessment results, or

    • the goal is not measurable/cannot be observed, or

    • the goal is not stated to occur after graduation or completion of high school.

Student-Led Process

Measurable postsecondary goals drive a transition-focused IEP, and launch the student’s post-school life. When students and team members share the development of the plan and discuss elements of the IEP within that context, transition services, course of study and annual goals naturally fall into place. The whole IEP works to assist the student with a smooth transition to their life after high school. Along the way, the student learns to set goals, work to achieve goals, revise goals as needed, and persevere.

There is a strong base of evidence showing student-led, transition-focused IEP meetings help students build self-determination skills. Help your students prepare to lead or co-lead their meetings. Encourage them to begin participating at the level and pace where they are comfortable, and give them increased responsibility and roles over time.

At a minimum, try to start the IEP meeting by having the student assist with introductions, then read or show their measurable postsecondary goal statements. The lead-off by the student, followed by team members providing progress updates and present levels of academic and functional performance in relationship to the goals, creates a student-led, transition-focused IEP meeting agenda. 

Background Information

Overview of MPSGs

There are three areas: education or training, employment, and as needed, independent living. 4:55-minutes.

Essential Elements of a MPSG


Student Engagement

Engaging students in writing their postsecondary goals. 4:08 minutes.


Education/training: four-year college or university, technical college, two-year college, military, specific vocational or career field, independent living skill training, vocational training program, apprenticeship, on-the-job training, Job Corps, or other program

Employment: paid (competitive, supported, sheltered), unpaid, or other

Independent living skills: adult living, daily living, independent living, financial, transportation, and other skills



Education/Training: Upon completion of high school, John will attend the Information Technology training program at a NH community college. Younger: After graduation, John will enroll in a program in the computer field at a local community college.

Employment: After college graduation, John will work full-time as a computer technician in the computer technology field. Younger: After college, John will work full-time with computers.

Independent Living Skills: John will live with roommates/peers in an assisted living program after graduation. Younger: John will live away from his parents after graduation.


Education/training: Upon completion of high school, Riley 

Employment: Upon graduation from high school, Riley will work full time as a general laborer for a construction company.

Independent living skills: Upon completion of high school, Riley


Education/training: Upon completion of high school, Paul

Employment: Upon graduation from high school, Paul

Independent living skills: Upon completion of high school, Paul will live in a community-based independent living situation.


Neither of these statements reveals actual goals. The statements are just expressions of interest.

  • Education/training: Clare thinks she would like to pursue postsecondary education at a four-year college.
  • Employment: Clare has expressed interest in graphic arts and animal technician fields of employment.


Page revision begun 6/29/22