When I say goal setting I don’t want students to think, “My goal is to get an A by the end of the quarter.” The goal is to reach a level of proficiency on a learning standard. And when I say progress monitoring I don’t mean the students should only check their grades on-line. It means the students chart their progress and reflect on what needs to be done to demonstrate proficiency.
These ten minutes of class may be the most empowering time for my sixth graders because it is their time to reflect on their progress. Plus, by shifting the focus from grades to learning the students have put the horse in front of the cart. Granted it has taken some time, but they know the conversation in my classroom is about learning.
I’ve only been doing goal setting and progress monitoring since the start of the year (along with Standards Based Grading), so I would love your feedback on what works for you.
In my classes, students set goals using Marzano’s 4 point proficiency scale knowing that 3 is the target. Every time students complete a formative assessment, they monitor their progress using a version of this Student Goal Setting 7NS1 document. They keep their goal setting sheets in a three prong folder at school.
It’s a simple but powerful process; students monitor their progress by shading in a bar chart. The visual representation makes an impact. They own their learning, and they identify “growth opportunities.”
Here’s an example:
What I like about the scale is how it’s not connected to a grade. I know that eventually I need to issue a grade, but the focus remains on learning until I need to convert it.
As far as results? When converted to grades zero students in my four math classes earned lower than a 75% in the first quarter. The real test will be this winter and spring when students take the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. I know it’s not solely due to goal setting. Formative assessments and standards based grading are other variables that enter into the equation.
Hattie’s and Marzano’s research convinced me to try it. My experience thus far has convinced me to continue.
I’m interested in learning how others are implementing goal setting and progress monitoring. Please share your experience.