Long Term Goals
In a standards-driven education world, teachers need to use these standards in to guide their daily lessons and teaching. In order to create long-term learning goals for students, we can use these standards to drive what the students need to learn. Creating these goals can be done individually, or for a whole class, depending on the needs of your students. There are a few things to remember when creating long-term learning goals for students.
The first thing you want to do is look at the standards the students are required to master. The curriculum that you use should already be aligned to your state’s standards, so you should not have to double check to make sure that they are in alignment. Depending on the grade level you teach, you may have to do this for one or more subjects.
Next, the most important thing is to involve the students in the process. If students are involved in creating their goals, they will be more willing and able to achieve them. If you are doing this by class, this can be done together. For example, in a math class if working on fractions, the students can help to create a long-term goal for fractions such as, “Given 40 addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division fraction problems, the students will answer at least 32 correctly." The best time to create long-term goals in the beginning of a new unit. You do not want to do it by chapter because that would be a short-term learning goal.
After you have figured out what the students need to learn and have the students ready to participate in the process, you can start creating the long-term goals. The key to creating a goal is to make sure that they are measurable. Avoid creating goals using the words “the students will learn" or “the students will understand." These terms are very vague and cannot be measured. When creating goals you want to start out with a condition, such as “given 20 problems," or “given a reading passage at the 6th grade level." By starting with a condition, the teacher is then able to establish a test or worksheet that will measure the student’s progress toward the goal. The next part of the goal is the student’s name, followed by how you want the students to perform. Here is an English example, “Given a reading passage at the 4th grade level, Billy will be able to identify all the nouns with at least 80% accuracy." Notice how this goal can be measured.
Once the goals are created, give the students a copy of their goals. Have them track their progress as well. It is important to keep the students as highly involved in this process as possible. Creating goals can also help the teacher. If a majority of a class does not meet a particular learning goal, then the teacher can readjust their teaching. Creating these goals is a work in process; they can always be edited and revised later.
After you have created a few you will see that they become easier to create. This is a very important task, not only for the teacher, but it gives the students something to work toward. Try it out in your classroom and see how it works. You may be surprised by the results.