Action Research with Student Goal Setting

by Pam Burroughs

Instructional Support Leader

Lee-Hamilton Elementary

Unmotivated students seems to be an increasing problem for many teachers.  I believe in the power of student goal setting to help change this situation.  When students set goals for themselves and their progress, they are taking ownership over their learning.

I worked with several students in a 2nd grade classroom to set goals, create an action plan, and track their progress.  This is a project that will need to continue all year.  I found that this work was difficult for me to do since I am not the classroom teacher, and it was not a classroom in which I am working directly.

In the future moving forward with this work, I would like to model conferring with students for the teacher to implement the goal setting and action planning with her students in order for there to be more consistency for the kids.  To do this well, it would require more of a commitment on my part to be in the classroom for a set amount of time.  Therefore, it would be better for me to have chosen a classroom I am already committed to working in consistently, or do a coaching cycle with this teacher.  However, our school is working on Assessment Capable Learners through the Cooperative Work Grant.  So, I believe all teachers will be able to fine tune their practices to support student goal setting.

The students I have been working with went from 75% below grade level in reading, to 56% below grade level according to the Teacher College Benchmark assessments from September to November.  Students used a bar graph to track their reading level, and a graphic organizer to create a goal and steps to support their reaching that goal.  While this classroom was not in my present coaching cycle, student growth is still occurring.  I am eager to see where these students will be at the end of the year with the work the teachers are doing with student goal setting in Assessment Capable Learners.

This action research was a wonderful learning experience for me.  I will continue to find areas of interest and look closely at what impact different practices have on student learning thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained by participating in this work.