Goal Setting and Student Growth!



Here’s Q2 from our #formativechat about fostering growth mindset. How can you incorporate goal setting as a part of your normal classroom routine? How can you ensure that students create goals that are meaningful to them? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Shout-out to @Melissa_Asztalos for hosting on Monday night!


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Goal setting can be part of the portfolio process. Students can periodically choose work and reflect on that work and set goals towards mastery.


I love the idea of incorporating goal-setting as part of the portfolio process. Way to make the growth tracking consistent, visual and cumulative!


Goal setting is very important. One thing I have found is that most of my MS students have no idea how to set a goal and be able to work towards that goal. I have tried using SMART goal techniques, which seemed to confuse them even more. I no longer ask for “goals.” I ask for them to state what they would like to accomplish (specific assignment - and they can’t just say finish it) and what 2 steps are they going to take to accomplish whatever they stated. I also ask how will they know (and they can’t say grades) that they have accomplished it. If someone has something better, please share it. I am always looking for new ways to help my students to be more productive and proactive in their learning. Thanks


This seems like a practical strategy for helping students take greater ownership of learning on an assignment and with skills taught within a learning unit. Autumn, one of our regular #formativechat participants shared a related idea in our chat on Monday. She has her students use a self-assessment checklist for socratic seminars:

I could see something like this being useful if some of your students have trouble recalling the skills they should learn within a unit because with the checklist, the skills would be right in front of them. You could have them complete the checklist at the end of a learning activity to mark the skills they still need to work on and leave notes of what specifically they need to focus on within those skills. If done repeatedly, they could compare checklists over a period of time and look for growth.


I like the idea of asking how they will know they have reached their goal without simply saying, “I got an A.” They could say they are able to teach it to a friend or their parents.


I’ve had similar experiences to what @Rachel_Kerr states

Maybe it’s a MS thing. One of the things that helped is the inclusion of a strong reflection piece based on Edutopia’s question set. The “forward looking” provides some specific prompts that the students have been better able to answer than when I call for “SMART” goals.


I love this resource! My MS students also struggled with setting SMART goals as well. I think part of it was because perhaps we did them at the very beginning of the year when they had little to no experience with the curriculum they were going to learn. Perhaps if I had allowed them more time to experience it and had more learning conversations leading up to goal-setting, they would have had an easier time creating them. I think that using a more standards-based learning approach would have helped as well so that students could focus on skills over grades.