Kids’ Goal-Setting: SMART Goals

Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.

Smart Goals Blackboard SignAs educators we are called upon at the beginning of each school year to set goals for ourselves. Throughout the year, we reflect and change our practice based on our goals. Educators and parents can play a valuable role in modeling goal-setting and teaching students how to set goals of their own.

To help your students set goals, declare a week in October to be Kids Goal Setting week. Here are examples of SMART goals for students at each school level.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific. What is it that you want to accomplish? Usually answers the 5 Ws (Who? What? Where? When? Why?)
  • Measurable. How will you know when the goal is accomplished?
  • Attainable. Is it realistic?
  • Relevant. Does this goal meet a need?
  • Time-bound. What is the deadline for meeting this goal?

SMART Goal for Elementary Student
dreamstime_s_21260519-c-pressmaster.jpgPoorly defined goal: Become a better reader.

SMART Goal: I will increase my reading level from a Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) score of 30 to a DRA of 40 by the end of third grade. To reach this goal, I will increase my reading time outside of school from 20 minutes a day to 30 minutes a day. I will go to the library with my family and pick out books at my reading level that interest me. (This goal would require adult help to write.)

  • Specific. The goal identifies a specific reading score increase.
  • Measurable. The goal is measurable with DRA scores and states a specific desired increase in that score. It also has a measurable means for attaining the goal: a specific number of minutes for which the student will increase daily reading time.
  • Attainable. The student’s goal represents a reasonable amount of progress given the time frame.
  • Relevant. This goal is relevant for an elementary school student because reading is an important skill to practice at the elementary level.
  • Time-bound. The goal has an end date and takes into account the amount of work that will need to be accomplished in that time frame.

SMART Goal for Middle School Student
wikimedia commons kids choir detail by Eva Rinaldi
Poorly defined goal: Participate in extracurricular activities.

SMART Goal: I will participate in three extracurricular activities during my 6th-grade year. I will make a list of clubs and sports programs in which I am interested and then talk to teachers or advisors of those organizations. I will complete applications for the organizations by the required due dates.

  • Specific. The goal identifies a specific number of extracurricular activities and a process for selecting and joining them.
  • Measurable. The goal is measurable because it states a specific number of activities in which the student will participate.
  • Attainable. Three extracurricular activities is a reasonable number for a middle school student to participate in throughout the whole school year.
  • Relevant. This goal is relevant for a middle school student because it is important for middle school students to establish interests outside of school and to make friends.
  • Time-bound. The goal has an end date and takes into account the amount of work that will need to be accomplished in that time frame.

SMART Goal for High School Student
College applicaiton formsPoorly defined goal: Apply to college.

SMART Goal: During the fall of my senior year, I will complete applications to five colleges by November 15 in order to get them in by the November 30 deadline. To accomplish this goal, I will decide on five colleges to apply for by meeting with my school counselor. I will gather all the application materials I need (including three letters of recommendation), write my personal essays for the schools, and submit the applications online.

  • Specific. The goal names a specific number of applications to complete, a process to follow, and a timeline for doing so.
  • Measurable. The goal is measurable because it states a specific number of schools for which the student will apply.
  • Attainable. This goal is realistic because it gives a reasonable number of schools to apply for in the amount of time specified. It also gives some buffer time if the goal is not met so the student still has time to finish the applications by the November 30 deadline.
  • Relevant. This goal is relevant for a high school senior seeking to attend college after high school.
  • Time-bound. The goal has a specific end date and takes into account the amount of work that will need to be done in that time frame.

Check out my previous Free Spirit Publishing blog posts about SMART goals here.

How do you help students create SMART goals?


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About Danielle R. Schultz

School Counselor blogger for Free Spirit Publishing Blog
This entry was posted in Counselor's Corner and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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