To what extent do students understand what they are supposed to learn in your class? How do you know? These questions provide food for thought as to how we share our knowledge with our students. Often times, we make assumptions that students know what we want them to learn. Clear Learning Targets provide one method that we can use to ensure students know our expectation.
According to Robert Marzano, “Students who can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot.” It makes sense that if students can articulate what they are learning about that they understand the “target” or goal teachers set for them.
As you recall from the NC FALCON module, Clear Learning Targets are the first of three components of the formative assessment process. Clear Learning Targets are derived by reviewing the standards to be taught, prioritizing the information to scaffold learning, and writing targets to help students understand where they are going.
Clear Learning Targets should be:
- a measurable achievement expectation of what students should know, understand and be able to do
- taught in 1-2 lessons
- written in student-friendly language
Not only should a learning target provide what students should know and be able to do, but it should also inherently address or suggest the criteria for success.
Note that in the two non-examples at right, no clear criteria for success is indicated.
Target #2 is far too broad to be explored in 1-2 class periods. Furthermore, the target is not specific to the concepts or the culture to be studied.
In Target #5, no measurable criteria have been established for students to demonstrate their understanding.