Monday, November 7, 2016

Learning Targets at Belmont High School

This year at Belmont High School we have been spending a great deal of time talking about learning targets. Teachers are beginning to use them in the form of "I can" statements in all of our classes. The effective use of learning targets at the classroom level is a critical compontent of our transition to competency-based teaching and learning.  A teacher's ability to write good learning targets is far more complex than it may appear on the surface.  It's more than just posting  daily objectives on the board. Good learning targets should describe what students are expected to learn, why the learning expectation is important, and what the work will look like when the target has been met.

Writing good learning targets is an important skill that teachers must practice in order to master.  In the following article, Susan Brookhart and Connie Moss write about the importance of good learning targets.  Brookhart and Moss assert that effective learning targets will:
  • Describe exactly what students will learn by the end of a day’s lesson.
  • Use language students can understand.
  • Be stated from the point of view of a student who has yet to master the knowledge or skill being taught.
  • Contain a performance of understanding that translates the description into action – what students will do, make, say, or write during the lesson.
  • Include student look-fors or criteria for success in terms that describe mastery of the learning target, not a score or grade.
  Please take the time to read the article that was published in the Educational Leadership journal, October, 2014.  I hope you enjoy the article.