Listening Comprehension IEP Goals: Main Goals, Importance, Ways to Formulate, Intervention Strategies

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Editorial Team

The US Department of Education proposes formulation, implementation, and review of IEP goals if any student needs extra support to attain age-appropriate academic competency. IEP, as we discussed in our previous post on Vocabulary IEPs, stands for Individualized Education Programs. The public schools in the US form IEP goals for about 13 academic competencies including reading and listening skills, number skills, social skills, etc.

In this post, let’s explore:

  1. What are listening comprehension IEP goals?
  2. Why listening comprehension IEP goals are important
  3. Ways to formulate IEP goals for listening comprehension
  4. Effective classroom intervention strategies for IEP goal attainment

So, let’s start!

What are listening comprehension IEP goals?

Listening comprehension is an essential language skill that depends on how refined the learning ability of a child through auditory means is. The most common way to check this skill is by giving dictation to a child. Further, an early language skill learner should demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in following listening comprehension skills with 80-100% accuracy, when explained to him 4-5 times:

  • Recall correctly what is spoken to them
  • Recall the sequence of information given by auditory means
  • Recall information both logically and sequentially
  • Paraphrase correctly
  • Categorize information
  • Explain orally the content’s language, format, and style spoken to them
  • Differentiate between fact and opinion
  • Raise appropriate and logical doubts on statements made to them
  • Draw conclusions

Once these IEP goals are achieved, the next levels of listening comprehension will include:

  • Follow one-step and two-step directions given orally to them
  • Then, move to correctly follow three-step and four-step directions
  • Use prior knowledge to demonstrate recall

Further, the American University in Cairo has dictated the following IEP goals for college-going students:

  • make notes after listening to the passage spoken to them
  • extract the main thought from supporting information
  • employ contextual clues to guess the meaning of words new to them
  • understand a speaker’s purpose and message’s tonality
  • derive inferences from discourse and predict ensuing actionable
  • discuss the content of a lecture or listening passage and present it orally or in writing
  • employ digital tools to develop auditory comprehension

Why listening comprehension IEP goals are important

According to the work done on listening comprehension[1] by Young-Suk Grace Kim and Heather Pilcher, University of California, this language skill plays an important role in developing other learning abilities, that comprise:

  • Vocabulary building
  • Sentence structure and grammar
  • Working memory
  • Inference drawing ability
  • Mindful absorption of the message and the following instruction
  • Cognitive skill development

Hence, a child capable of doing things correctly after listening to instructions or of passing on messages as they are, to another receiver can do so due to his well-built listening comprehension.

While listening, children have to demonstrate attentiveness to words, messages, and tone (attention capacity); further, to tell the answer or to repeat, they have to retain the thought in mind process it (working memory), and paraphrase it, they need words and syntax (vocabulary and grammar skill).

Thus, listening comprehension IEP goals do way more than help to build language skills. They are required to assess the mental growth of children and to understand their respective development needs.

Ways to formulate IEP goals for listening comprehension

US Govt stipulates that IEPs should be simple, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Using this guidance as a base, the schools set IEP goals in the following ways:

a. Set Benchmarks: Lucy (a hypothetical name) will recall three sentences from the passage read out to her. It is an example of setting a benchmark. Depending upon the proficiency achieved, the next benchmarks corresponding to increasing difficulties can be set.

b. Take formative and summative tests: IEP goal formulation can be done based on periodic assessments. The evaluators can conduct weekly, fortnightly, and monthly evaluations to check and discuss progress with parents/guardians.

c. Check growth against set standards: An average national student sample is taken as a reference and the extent of achievement of IEP goals is found out to decide the ensuing curriculum’s contents.

Regular reporting of progress and saving it to compare past results can help ascertain the relevance and correctness of IEP goals. When the student is not meeting the IEP goals, one should contemplate a change in goals to meet the individual’s learning pace.

IEP goals’ attainment strategies

Teachers have an objective in hand in the shape of Listening Comprehension IEP goals. They can achieve this objective by:

  • Playing fun games: Whisper a sentence in the child’s ear and ask him to pass on the message to one sitting next to him clockwise. The other child follows suit and the round completes when the last child reads out the message back to the teacher. It can help teachers identify the weak students in the link and design teaching curricula for those accordingly.
  • Read the story in an interactive manner: Don’t just read out the story, but ask questions from it randomly and anytime in the middle of narration. It helps check the recall, attention, and working memory levels of children.
  • Introduce audiobooks: Ask children to join online reading apps and be a member too. Listen to the audiobooks together and ask the child about the topic, information flow, and other details.
  • Read-aloud sessions by students: One student reads aloud an adapted lesson or literature and the other students (for which IEP goals are designed) are asked literacy recall questions. This helps students stay attentive in anticipation of a question coming his or her way, which eventually improves listening comprehension[2].

Wrapping up,

IEP goals for building listening comprehension are a cognitive attempt to make education inclusive for children with learning difficulties. Setting correct goals, having useful intervention strategies in place, and periodic assessments are necessary to achieve the very purpose behind these goals. The more individualistically these are designed, the better are for the achievement of academic competence of children with varying learning capabilities.


  1. Kim, Young-Suk & Pilcher, Heather. (2016). What Is Listening Comprehension and What Does It Take to Improve Listening Comprehension?. 10.1007/978-3-319-31235-4_10.
  2. Hudson, Melissa & Browder, Diane. (2014). Improving Listening Comprehension Responses for Students With Moderate Intellectual Disability During Literacy Class. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. 39. 11-29. 10.1177/1540796914534634.

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