Working Smarter, Not Harder with AI

By Trish Geraghty

     AI is everywhere! I can’t open a tab or an email without seeing something about AI. Initially I have to admit I was skeptical. Then one day camping with some friends the topic of AI came up and we thought it would be fun to see if AI could recognize if an IEP goal was measurable or not (fun campfire topic I know). Not only could it recognize that the goal was not measurable, it gave suggestions to make the goal measurable! After that experience, I’ve changed my thought-process. In my mind AI went from a fun experiment to an active resource to enhance work productivity. 

     If you ask any special education practitioner about their greatest pain point, inevitably the response is paperwork. Enter AI as a solution. Karim Lakhani recently said, “AI Won’t Replace Humans — But Humans With AI Will Replace Humans Without AI.” (Harvard Business Review 2023). The need will always be there to review and ensure that what is produced by AI is appropriate to the situation and context. Let’s explore how to use AI to write measurable IEP goals. 

     In the realm of special education, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) play a pivotal role in tailoring education to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. One critical aspect of creating effective IEPs is the creation of clear, measurable goals. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) can greatly assist educators in writing goals that are not only personalized but also easily measurable. 

     AI algorithms can analyze a student’s past performance and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and specific areas of need. This data-driven approach allows educators to create IEP goals that are finely tuned to an individual student’s abilities and areas of growth. By drawing insights from a vast pool of educational data, AI can provide recommendations for goals that align with a student’s current skill level.

     Furthermore, AI can help educators draft goals that are inherently measurable. Traditionally, IEP goals might be vague or be mega goals, making it difficult to track progress. AI, however, can offer precise and quantifiable language for goals. For example, instead of a goal like “Improve reading skills,” AI can suggest a goal like “Increase reading fluency from 50 to 75 words per minute within six months.” Even with this example created using AI, more information would be needed in order to be truly measurable. Make sure to double check the requirements of a measurable goal when using AI that include a student’s current performance (baseline), context (grade level or rubric-specific), how often the goal will be measured, what tool will be used to measure, and expectations for goal attainment. 

    AI can also monitor a student’s progress in real-time. By integrating AI-powered educational software, educators can collect data on a student’s performance and assess whether they are meeting their IEP goals. If a student is not making adequate progress, AI can recommend adjustments to the goals or instructional strategies.

     Moreover, using AI to write measurable IEP goals can save educators valuable time. With AI-generated goal suggestions, teachers can focus more on individualizing instruction and supporting their students, rather than struggling to create goals from scratch. Time saving in this process, creates an opportunity to focus on how specially designed instruction will be crafted and implemented. 

     In conclusion, the integration of AI in special education holds great potential for improving the IEP goal-setting process. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, AI can assist educators in crafting personalized, measurable, and achievable goals, ultimately helping students with disabilities receive the education they deserve. It’s a technological advancement that has the potential to make a profound impact on the lives of students and the educators who support them.


Trish Geraghty
Trish Geraghty, an accomplished educational leader with 20+ years of experience, excels in curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development. Her proven track record includes successful support for schools, districts, educators, and students. Committed to ensuring universal access to high-quality learning, Trish is a visionary advocate for inclusive education. Her innovative approach to curriculum development reflects a keen understanding of evolving standards. Trish's transformative influence extends beyond traditional boundaries, actively contributing to the broader advancement of education. A catalyst for positive change, she inspires excellence in others, shaping the future of education through unwavering commitment and visionary leadership.

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