As an educator, it's important to keep track of your student's progress throughout the year. Setting goals is a great way to not only keep track of progress but also help students develop a growth mindset. By setting goals, students have something to strive towards and can see the progress they are making towards their ultimate learning outcomes. In this blog post, we will explore a simple way to track and manage student goals throughout the year.
As a teacher trying to implement goal setting, I created a goal book to help me track individual progress, aligning it to the curriculum relevant to the year level I was teaching. This goal book is easily adaptable to provide extension, and to cater for those students who needed additional support to reach benchmarks. It also made learning visible to both the student, and their parent/s.
Set the goals
Firstly, start by typing in goals for both English and Mathematics (or other subjects) that are reflective of the Curriculum and the student’s year level (or ability level). Once you have your goals, print out a goal book for each student onto thick, durable card. You can choose from 20 or 24 boxes for goals, and edit the titles if required.
I purposely re-worded outcomes from the curriculum into child-friendly language so that students could comprehend. I went through goals with individual students, and they selected the one they wanted to work towards.
Demonstrating mastery of a goal
When students are ready to demonstrate their mastery of a goal, they can either be tested or have their book open during a task to be checked. Use a sticker, stamp or simply tick to cover the goal they have successfully achieved. For some goals, you may require students to demonstrate mastery after three turns - in this case, place three little ticks into the box before placing a sticker over the top (or however you set this benchmark). Discussing how you intend to assess the mastery of the goal with the student/s are imperative.
In my class, I had a dedicated basket for students to place their goal book into when they felt ready to be assessed. This was a great method for students demonstrating mastery, of say, skip counting, or identifying numbers. I would have few tools next to this basket, such as a whiteboard and marker (for students to demonstrate), or maths manipulatives. Sometimes, especially with writing or reading goals, students would otherwise place goal book open on desk during set tasks to show their mastery via work samples. Goals
To ensure parents can see the learning being done each term, an option is to print two booklets - they are identical in everything but colour. One goes home to parents, and the other stays with the student. On completion of all goals, students are given a new book, or you may choose to leave several boxes blank so that new goals can be written in. This is a way of providing extension and ensures that the learning remains visible.
These books are great to get out (in conjunction with work samples) for parent-teacher interviews to directly show student progress and areas they're working on.
It's important to set goals that cater to the different abilities within your class - goals for students working below, at and above Curriculum benchmarks. This ensures that all students are challenged and have something to work towards. Set goals to cover a term's worth of learning so they only need to be created once a term.
In conclusion, tracking and managing student goals throughout the year is an essential part of teaching. By setting goals, students have something to strive towards and can see the progress they are making towards their ultimate learning outcomes. The simple goal book system we have outlined in this post is a great way to keep track of student progress and ensure learning remains visible. So why not give it a try and see the positive impact it can have on your students' learning journeys?