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    How to Set Goals with Students

    by Brianna Richard, on Aug 25, 2021 1:21:38 PM

    Educators are regularly setting goals for students. We set goals for standardized test scores, goals for making it through the day without shouting out, and even goals for walking down the hallways in a straight line. Educators do a fantastic job of setting goals for students and spend the year working towards achieving them. But how often are our students involved in the goal-setting process and creating goals for themselves?

    markus-winkler-LNzuOK1GxRU-unsplashPhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

    Research shows that when students set goals and track their progress it improves engagement and academic growth. Goal setting helps students build valuable life skills and encourages organization and consistency. It also gives educators valuable insight into areas that students feel they need to grow. (Dotson, 2016)

    When setting goals with students, begin by sharing a vague goal with students. Then, use the SMART acronym to help make it more detailed and obtainable. SMART goals were developed in 1981 by George Doran and Arthur Miller. Lucky for teachers there are a plethora of thinking maps and materials online using the helpful acronym and breaking it down for all ages groups. The letters of smart stand for the following.

    • S- Specific: What exactly are you trying to do or achieve?
    • M- Measurable: How can you measure or track your achievement?
    • A- Attainable: What tools do you have to reach your goal? With the tools available can you make it happen?
    • R- Realistic: Is this something you know you can meet?
    • T- Timely: How quickly do you want to meet your goal? (Doran, 1981)

    Using the SMART acronym will help students to visualize their goal and ensure that it is practical and useful in helping them to have a successful year. Both older and younger grades can display the goals on Bloomz in students’ online portfolios. Posting goals makes it easy to refer back to throughout the year ensuring students are on the path to success. Do you track goals with your students? Share a resource below!


    • Dotson, R. (2016). Goal Setting to Increase Student Academic Performance. Journal of School Administration Research and Development. Published.
    • Doran, G. T. (1981). "There's a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives", Management Review, Vol. 70, Issue 11, pp. 35-36.
    Topics:Back to Schoolnew school yearGoals