Essays academic service


A discussion on students setting and achieveing goals

Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Researchers note the relationship between setting challenging goals and student achievement 1.

Both laboratory and field studies consistently demonstrated decades ago that setting specific and challenging goals leads to enhanced performance 2.

In addition to the immediate increased student achievement resulting from setting goals, completing challenging goals is also closely related to increased self-esteem and self-efficacy 3.

Although there is ample evidence that setting challenging goals has a number of positive outcomes, this does not mean students come to our classes ready and able to establish solid learning goals for themselves. As faculty, we must find ways to not only develop challenging learning environments for our students, but to create learning environments whereby students set goals that challenge themselves. Inspiring students to set and achieve challenging goals is highly correlated with most IDEA items, although it is most strongly related to items 2 helped students answer their own questions7 explained reasons for criticismsand 8 stimulated intellectual effort.

  • Urge students to keep their immediate goals small and achievable;
  • The only requirements I present to the class are that I need to be able to assign them a grade that reflects their mastery of the material, and they need to be cognizant that within the class there exist multiple learning preferences;
  • The following prompts can get the conversations started;
  • The easiest way to assess the value of setting goals is to document when goals have been accomplished.

These items pertain to motivating students to take some responsibility for their own learning and to giving a rationale for feedback provided to the student. Interestingly, item 15 does not correlate with items 33 amount of reading and 35 difficulty of the subjectand it correlates only weakly with item 34 amount of course work. This suggests difficulty and amount of reading do not result in students setting challenging goals for themselves, and that amount of work assigned may not be a critical factor.

The inspiration to set, accept, and achieve goals must come from the students.

  • There are a few things you can do in your course to inspire students to set and to achieve challenging goals;
  • For example, researchers 4 have noted that when students value the time they spend preparing for class, they are more involved and more positive in their attitudes;
  • Online polls can be used to gather student input on course goals relevant to their interests;
  • The following prompts can get the conversations started:

That said, the teacher can help students to set reasonable goals by demonstrating that course objectives and assignments are reasonable, relevant, and achievable.

For example, researchers 4 have noted that when students value the time they spend preparing for class, they are more involved and more positive in their attitudes.

There are a few things you can do in your course to inspire students to set and to achieve challenging goals. Everyone is more willing to work longer and harder when there is value to the task to be completed. There are many ways to show the direct application of the material in the class: Find a way to show students that the material learned can be used to directly help individuals or to solve pervasive issues in society.

Effective Goal Setting for Students

I have asked my introductory psychology course to do this on a number of occasions with solid success.

The only requirements I present to the class are that I need to be able to assign them a grade that reflects their mastery of the material, and they need to be cognizant that within the class there exist multiple learning preferences. The students decide on the number of examinations, the days of examinations, types of papers to be written, and other aspects of the course. I can make adjustments to maintain standards, but overall I have found that I will end up with a syllabus and course that students are more invested in because they have helped to create it and have assisted in setting course goals and assessment measures.

For example, if students know that their final projects will be published on the web, they will challenge themselves to complete more extensive projects 5. In order to realize success, students a discussion on students setting and achieveing goals to have prompt and informative feedback as they complete their projects. It is also important that students develop an understanding or awareness of their own level of performance. Metacognition, or knowing what one knows, is an important skill for students to develop in meeting challenging goals.

Evidence suggests that when students are taught to develop improved metacognitive skills, they are more likely to meet goals and achievement improves 6, 7. Grade contracts have been reported to reduce the anxiety level of the student by having them focus on tasks, instead of worrying about specific grades on specific assignments.

Research has demonstrated that grade contracting results in enhanced student learning and in students setting challenging goals in the course by contracting for a high grade at the beginning of the semester 8. It is well accepted that expectations of high levels of work will result in higher level of work. This turns into a wonderful self-fulfilling prophecy when challenging goals are encouraged, supported, and realized. There are many ways in which emerging technologies can be used to assist students with setting and achieving challenging goals.

Online polls can be used to gather student input on course goals relevant to their interests. Text chats and emails can facilitate quick and private communication with students about their individual a discussion on students setting and achieveing goals goals.

For example, you might ask students to set up personal wikis or blogs with pages or categories for each of their learning goals. As the course progresses, have students update their sites with supporting evidence showing how they are achieving goals. Instructors can monitor the wikis or blogs and provide students with feedback through comment tools as appropriate. Consider making these e-portfolios available to other students in the course or open to the Web—authentic audiences that can motivate students to take more ownership of their work 9.

A critical component in achieving goals is the formative assessment.

Students setting goals must have information as to the extent to which goals e. There are a variety of methods in which formative assessments have been adapted to the online environment 11, 12. Very short responses, carefully worded, could also be submitted through a microblogging service like Twitter. Other forms of feedback can be helpful, too. It is now very easy to set up relatively quick online appointments to discuss student goals and achievement toward those goals.

Chats can be scheduled for times that might be very difficult in the past, particularly in situations in which either the student or the instructor has small children.

Also, when structured properly, online communication typically takes much less time that face to face meetings, while still building strong interpersonal connections.

Finally, a social networking site could be established whereby students post the goals that they would like to be public in an effort to gain peer support. Students may set personal goals related to study time or class attendance and then be held accountable through the social networking site.

Where Teachers Meet and Learn

This kind of public peer accountability can actually be easier to implement in online environments than in face-to-face environments where the time available for sharing individual goals and progress is more limited. Behavior modification and motivation literature 7, 13 conclude that public goals are more likely to be achieved than private goals.

It is essential to determine the extent to which the goals have been accomplished in any area of goal setting. This not only justifies the rationale for setting goals, but also demonstrates to the students the learning realized by setting and achieving challenging goals.

The easiest way to assess the value of setting goals is to document when goals have been accomplished.

Inspired students to set and achieve goals which really challenged them

For this, it is important to state goals in ways that are specific and measurable. Another way to assess the impact of setting challenging goals is to look at work turned in with this method, versus methods in the past where goals were not set. Compare final projects with projects completed in the same course the previous year.

Finally, you could use any of a number of classroom assessment techniques to determine whether setting challenging goals results in deeper learning or more critical thinking: Learning is facilitated when individuals set reasonable, yet challenging goals, and then supported in reaching those goals. References and Resources Feldman, K. Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching: Evidence from student ratings.

Permissions

Goal setting and task performance: Psychological Bulletin, 90 1 ,125-152. Making the most of college: Students speak their minds.

The relationship of disciplinary differences and the value of class preparation time to student ratings of teaching. Implementing the seven principles: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Learning and motivation in the postsecondary classroom. Journal of Chemical Education, 74 6722-727. Social pedagogies as a framework for course design.

  • Ideas from the Field Subscribe to ASCD Express, our free e-mail newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month;
  • Metacognition, or knowing what one knows, is an important skill for students to develop in meeting challenging goals;
  • Both laboratory and field studies consistently demonstrated decades ago that setting specific and challenging goals leads to enhanced performance 2;
  • It should be a cyclical process that requires teachers to set aside time in the classroom for students to think about, discuss, and share the ways they are establishing and reaching their goals see figure, " Setting Student Goals ";
  • Basics of Effective Goal Setting Express goals positively:

Fluency in distance learning. Information Age Publishing, Inc.