Getting_started.jpgSetting Objectives and Providing feedback

Having students set objectives can provide them with a direction for their learning. Goals should not be too specific, they should be easily adaptable to the students own objectives.

  • Set a core goal for a each unit, encourage students to personalize that goal by identifying the areas of interest to them.

Example: Asking questions like, “ I want to know’ or “ I want to know more about...” allows students to think more about their interests and are more actively in the goal-setting process.

  • Use contracts to outline the specific goals that students must meet and the grade that they will receive if they meet these goals.


Researchers give feedback generally to provide positive results. While teachers can never give too much,they should mange the form that feedbacks take.

  • Make sure that the feedback is corrective, tell students how they did in relation to specific levels of knowledge.

  • Rubrics are a good way to allow students to provide feedback and show relation to specific levels of knowledge.

  • Keep the feedback timely and specific.

  • Encourage the students to lead feedback sessions.


To help students with directions and help them to think about their own learning setting objectives and providing feedback is a good way. Teachers should provide define concrete, measurable objectives and encourage the students to personalize goals themselves. Feedback should be provided timely and refer to specific levels of performance.

Marzano’s recommendations for the classroom practice include:

  • Setting objectives that are not too specific


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  • Personalizing objectives

  • Communicating objectives

  • Negotiating contracts

  • Using criterion-referenced feedback and explanations

  • Using feedback from assessments

  • Engaging the student in peer feedback

  • Asking students to self- assess



Setting objectives

Setting objectives involves specific teacher and student behaviors. These include both decision- making and communicating. Teachers first have to select and refine learning goals; the goals should be narrow or broad specific or general. To properly show effective goal setting suggest that goals should be set with narrow focus that will actually minimize learning, this is because students focus on what is being communicated as important. If the goals are too focused then the students will ignore the related information. Another reason, goal setting is based off of the act of communicating. Students address on what has been set forth as an objective, communicating these objectives becomes central to success. Once the students have setting objectives down it will become a thoughtful exercise in considering how to generalize selected learning objectives while ensuring student focus, then letting students in on process through clear communication.


Key Research Findings

  • Instructional goals should not be too specific. Goals that are too narrowly focused they can limit students learning.

  • Students should be encouraged to personalize the teacher’s goals, this increases learning. Having the student ownership enhances learning focus. Studies have shown that students benefit of setting sub-goals derived from the larger teacher-defined goals.

  • There are some studies that indicates that student learning ‘contracts’ are effective developing student ownership and completion of goals. Students and teachers should have a contract agreement for a grade a student will receive for established criteria.


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Having students set learning goals is another instructional practice which will benefit from fine- tuning. Teachers who set, define, and communicate appropriate learning objectives employ research-based strategies such as:

  1. Goals should be flexible and general. If a goal is too focused on a narrowly defined outcome, it limits learning potential. Students should not be shown only one example of successful learning because it will inhibit the possible range of artifacts that they can create in their authentic construction of knowledge.

  2. Student ownership makes a difference. Have students create their own goals. Helping them to personalize and refine their own set of goals by providing and sharing examples, modeling the process, or creating strategies for documenting and completion like video-recording, learning journals or contracts.

  3. Allow enough time to adapt goals. Give students enough time for them to adapt the concepts and ideas in goals that have to do with their interest, learning styles, and existing knowledge base.

  4. Advance organizers to introduce goals. Teachers should use related strategies to enhance goals that are introduced to their students. Advance organizers can help students to prepare for, focus on and personalize their goals.

  5. Help the students to understand different kinds of goals. There are short and long term goals. Within a classroom there are many different instructional practices, setting and meeting objectives that may need to take many different forms. Provide the students practice in setting personal goals and meeting them in different contexts.

  6. Focus goals on understanding. Arrange for the goals to be less about accomplishing tasks and more about focusing on understanding and applying concepts.