The Importance of Setting goals for Academic Success
Goal setting as defined in Classroom Instruction that Works, is the process of establishing a direction for learning (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). At Rockhampton Girls Grammar School we use the process of goal setting each term to ensure students have a specific focus for their learning. In Care, students are given opportunity to reflect on their learning and achievements from the past term and set SMART goals for the upcoming term.
Students use their grades to determine their grade point average (GPA) and identify a subject they would like to improve in. From this we focus on creating goals that are:
Specific – students ponder what they want to accomplish and who needs to be included.
Measurable - Focus is on how each student can measure progress and know if they have successfully met their goal.
Achievable – further consideration goes into determining whether each has the skills required to achieve the goal and if not, who/what can help.
Relevant – students need to identify why they are setting this goal.
Time-bound – allows a deadline for the goal.
This is recorded in their student planners. Each Care Teacher then spends time with individual students to discuss implementation and purpose of the goal. The recording of each goal and progress indicators within the student planner allow students to be able to easily refer to the term’s goal.
Our teachers are also central to this process. As each student identifies a subject to focus on, that class teacher is notified and works with the student to discuss strategies for improvement and develop a plan of action.
Successes are then celebrated with the students at the end of each academic semester with the awarding of half and full academic colours, and awards for academic improvement.
But why do we do this at all? Previous studies have shown that ‘many students’ greatest problems in school are related to irresponsibility, not inability’ (Jenkins, 1994). Having students involved in creating and setting their own academic goals keeps them focused on their desired outcomes, encourages them to take responsibility in their own learning and provides a clear direction for success (Dotson, 2016)).
Over the holidays, take some time to talk with your daughters about what their goals were for Semester 1 and determine some new goals for Semester 2.
Director of Middle Years
Dotson, R. (2016) Goal setting to Increase Student Academic Performance. The Journal of School Administration Research and Development, Vol 1, Number 1, Summer 2016, p44-46.
Jenkins, D. (1994). An eight-step plan for teaching responsibility. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Is-sues and Ideas, 67(5), 269-270.
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA.