There is strong evidence that indicates that challenging and achievable learning goals influence achievement provided that the individual is involved in setting them.
Achievement is enhanced when challenging, rather than "do your best" goals, relative to the students' presence competencies, are set.
Why are Learning goals vital?
Learning goals are vital in improving development and allowing us to see the best path forward. They have a self-energizing effect if they are appropriately challenging as they can motivate students to exert effort in line with the difficulty or demands of the goal.
"Do your best" goals are too easily attained. In other words, anything that is achieved can be defined as your best.
But the challenge should not be so difficult that it is seen as unattainable. Rather parents, teachers and students must be able to see a clear pathway to achievement of the goal.
Using SMART goals, students can see the way forward. SMART goals stand for:
The below framework may be useful too for goal setting:
By: <provide the goal achievement date>
I will have: <indicate the goal>
So that: <detail the outcome>
Additionally, students need to maintain a growth mindset, rather than a static mindset if students are genuinely involved in setting goals and short or medium term targets (that is, success criteria) that they believe will help them reach these goals. Many students see their intelligence, and consequently their future achievement, as a fixed entity (fixed mindset) rather than something that can grow and develop (growth mindset) . If teachers and students work together to adopt a growth mindset, then the expectations and levels of achievement can improve, sometimes dramatically.
So with the new semester underway and Semester 1 reports filed away, I would ask all parents to ask their child:
1. What are the learning goals you have set for this Term or Semester?
2. Have they received feedback from recent class based activities or assessment tasks?
This feedback should then be used to check if they are on track to achieve their goals, or if more work needs to be done.