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Tips From Dr. Marzano

Designing & Teaching Learning Goals & Objectives

 

Designing & Teaching Learning Goals & ObjectivesThe following tips are designed to assist you in applying the latest research in tangible ways in your classroom, school, or district.

 

It is necessary to write goals at different levels of complexity. This new taxonomy is broken down into four levels of complexity.

Retrieval Goals Student has a basic recognition of information and execution of procedures.
Comprehension Student has the ability to identify critical features of knowledge.
Analysis Student makes inferences that go beyond what was directly taught, sometimes referred to as “higher order.”
Knowledge Utilization Student is able to use new knowledge to address real-world issues.
(p. 27)

Educators may use four types of goals to help students achieve knowledge utilization.

The different goals—decision-making goals, problem-solving goals, experimenting goals, and investigating goals—will require a leading verb to prompt the student to discover a new skill. Verbs such as decide, solve, experiment, and research should be used when designing assessments for students to achieve new knowledge in the content of a robust task (p. 49).

Individual systems of learning goals can be broken down into the perspective of the entire school year or be more unit specific if needed.

Within a single unit of instruction, a teacher typically addresses a few academic learning goals and even fewer noncognitive goals. Exactly how many goals that should be identified is indeterminate. That noted, a two-week unit of instruction can address somewhere between two and three goals without taxing the resources of individual teachers and the capacities of students (p. 79).

To design specifying goals, use verbs such as make and defend, predict, judge, and deduce.

Specifying goals require students to make and defend predictions about what might happen or what will necessarily happen in a given situation. Specifying goals are deductive in nature in that they require students to reason from a rule or a principle to make and defend predictions (pp. 47–48).

Identifying a target goal for a unit of instruction is the first step in building a scale.

The process of creating multiple goals organized in a scale begins by identifying a target goal for a unit of instruction. These goals must usually be gleaned from state standards documents, district standards documents, or district lists of essential learner outcomes. This represents the target for all students in the class. The next step is to determine the level of complexity of the target learning goal using the New Taxonomy framework. The teacher would next construct a goal at a lower level, and then at a higher level, which can then be organized into a scale (pp. 63–66).

Effective learning goals provide both student and teacher with a clear understanding of the target knowledge.

Target knowledge can be defined as the information and/or skill, strategy, or process that demonstrates attainment of the learning goal. To translate general statements like those often found in state and district documents and essential learner outcomes, a teacher must articulate the more specific declarative or procedural knowledge implied in the general statement (p. 17).

Noncognitive goals can be a viable instructional focus.

Durlak and Weissberg's study is noteworthy because it demonstrates that noncognitive goals can be a viable instructional focus. It is also noteworthy because it supports the linkage between noncognitive goals and achievement outcomes. Their meta-analysis found that effective after-school programs produced a positive impact on participating students' academic achievement with an effect size of .31, which translates to a 12 percentile point gain (p. 8).

Specific goals provide a clear direction for behavior and a clear indication of desired performance, and as such they serve as motivators.

In their 1990 meta-analysis of organizational studies, Locke and Latham found effect sizes that ranged from .42–.80 for specific instead of general goals (translating to a 16–29 percentile point gain). They argued that specific goals provide more concrete guidance for achievement that more general goals lack. A lack of concrete guidance creates ambiguity that students in school and laborers in the workforce simply have trouble translating into specific expected behaviors. Specific goals provide a clear direction for behavior and a clear indication of desired performance, and as such they serve as motivators (p. 6).

Two important characteristics of learning goals are goal specificity and goal difficulty.

From the research reported, one can conclude that two important characteristics of learning goals are goal specificity and goal difficulty. Goal specificity refers to the degree to which goals are defined in terms of clear and distinct outcomes. Goal difficulty refers to the degree to which goals provide a challenge to students (p. 4).

Analysis goals require students to go beyond what was actually taught in class and make inferences that create new awareness.

Analysis goals require students to go beyond what was actually taught in class and make inferences that create new awareness. There are five types of analysis goals a teacher might design: matching goals, classifying goals, analyzing errors goals, generalizing goals, and specifying goals (p. 39).

 

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