Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

January 5, 2014

Setting Academic Goals

Happy 2014!  New beginnings, a fresh start‚Ķ.what‚Äôs not to love?  Every year I INSIST that I will read more, run farther and eat healthier.  Without any further thought, the first week of January, I run a few miles more, finally finish the book I started last summer, and successfully avoid eating anything processed.  By February 1st I am usually rewarding the fact that I even went for a run with a bag of Cheetos. (Hey!  I earned those!) Reading at this point involves my daughter‚Äôs favorite Fancy Nancy book and my son‚Äôs novel project, that in all honesty, we should have started weeks ago. The bottom line is that  setting goals can‚Äôt be based solely on good intentions.  The more we plan, the more sucessful we are.

But do students actually understand this? How many parents and teachers out there hear, ‚ÄúI‚Äôll do better next semester,‚Äù or ‚ÄúI know I have to study harder, I promise I will next time.‚Äù  Many of the students I work with, struggle to see the ‚Äúbig picture.‚Äù  This year, help students set goals by teaching them how to be more SPECIFIC.

Instead of:

I will do better in school


I will do better in science class by turning in my assignments on time, asking for help when I need it and using flashcards to study vocabulary for 15 minutes per day.

Instead of:

I will make sure I read the book for English class


I will read 15 pages of the required reading book  between 4:00 ‚Äì 5:00pm every school day until the book is finished.  I will read in my room where it is quiet and I can concentrate.  I will write any questions I have about what I am reading on a note card to show my teacher.

Have students write down their goals and keep them in a place where they will see them often.  As the parent or teacher, set a date for yourself to check in whith the child and discuss what is working and what may need to be changed. 

Jessica DeLing, M.Ed., Educational Specialist  


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