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Should teachers set 'goals' for individual children?

(30 Posts)
Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 13:14:45

At each parents evening (for one of mine) we get a piece of paper that lists strengths, areas that need to be developed, and in 10 mins or so a parent and teacher mutually agree what the 'goals' are going forward.

I think it's a great idea and after coming away from DC's parents evening (at another school) with only a VERY vague idea of how they are doing I couldn't help wondering how this system might universally improve things?

MORgueOSKY Wed 28-Oct-09 13:30:09

I thought that was standard practice

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 13:32:36

Is it really? At DS's school we get a piece of paper the parents and the teacher mutually sign (as per the above) and this begins in reception.

I've never heard of other schools doing this.

AMumInScotland Wed 28-Oct-09 13:33:15

At Primary school, DS always had personal objectives for the year - though they were agreed between him and the teacher, not us as parents. But we knoew what he was supposed to be focussing on, as well as the more general "what we're covering this year" stuff.

paddingtonbear1 Wed 28-Oct-09 13:35:05

we have this for dd, but she has an IEP. Not sure it's the same for every child in the class.

mankyscotslass Wed 28-Oct-09 13:36:26

It's standard practise as far as I know, part of the Ofsted inspection is that the children are assessed, given targets and regular feedback, as are the parents. That the targets are clear and achievable and that they are realistic. Or at least, that's what I remember from the last report done at ours.

carocaro Wed 28-Oct-09 13:37:16

Yes, we have it in the form of an IEP, as DS1 has dyslexia, it really helps focus us with the areas he needs help with

FrightsMonth Wed 28-Oct-09 13:37:40

We have this - "target-setting" parents evening is next week. Usually get an academic goal and a personal goal IIRC.

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 13:52:33

So if a teacher isn't 'goal setting' and telling you what your child's objectives are precisely this is going against what ofsted recommends?

cece Wed 28-Oct-09 13:59:04

Standard practice I think, but perhaps not the sharing with parents bit. But certainly the children will know their goals/targets.

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 14:02:47

Thanks. How would a year one child 'know' what its goals were? Doesn't it make sense to be transparent about goals etc with parents?

TheFallenMadonna Wed 28-Oct-09 14:04:48

My DC have a target card with their goals on it, and points stickers on the other side.

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 14:13:53

To PP, what sort of goals? For which year? Thanks.

cece Wed 28-Oct-09 14:52:37

An IEP is something different, it is for children with SEN.

I think it would be quite diffiuclt logistically to share all of each child's goals with the parents. Some of them can change quite frequently. If goals are met then new ones are given. Sometimes within a week or two.

For Year 5 I might set

Use a verb to start at least 5 sentences in your stories.
or
Use descriptive words before nouns.

cece Wed 28-Oct-09 14:54:15

Yr 1 children perfectlky capable of remembering a target
eg. use spaces between words

Miggsie Wed 28-Oct-09 15:00:13

My DD's school has goals, all the way from reception.

DD in reception had a goal of "play with her peers more" as she tended to gravitate towards adults.

Now in yr1 she has lots of friends and her goal is to get her spelling correct! She writes reams, but with terrribly idiosynchratic spellings.

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 15:00:55

Ok, Cece I see, thanks. Sounds a very sensible idea.

With the year 5 example where would you write this or would you review verbally from time to time?

bigcar Wed 28-Oct-09 15:05:41

Our school has a target setting day every term. They only go in that day for their 15 minute appointment with parent and teacher. Bit of discussion on old targets then discussion of new targets. Usually things like remembering punctuation, paragraphs etc, occasionally managing to keep bottom on seat and not disrupt the class blush Works for my lot, keeps them focused.

Cortina Wed 28-Oct-09 15:14:58

bigcar that sounds great and fab you involve parents too! Must keep parents happy so they have some idea of what to support etc.

bigcar Wed 28-Oct-09 15:41:07

cortina, sorry, wasn't very clear, I'm a parent blush It was my dd1 that couldn't sit still at primary school! I think it's a lea policy, all the schools, both primary and secondary do the same. Gives me a good idea what to check when they are doing their homework.

cece Wed 28-Oct-09 17:53:18

In our school Literacy targets are written on a target sheet stuck on the inside cover of their work book. So children can refer to them as they need to. They take these books home to do their homework so parents can see their targets if they look. They get changed farly regularly. They have to demonstrate meeting their target three times before they get given a new one.

SlackSally Thu 29-Oct-09 23:53:08

I'm currently training as an English teacher so hopefully I can shed a little light. As a trainee, I'm being taught the very latest reccomendations, which are implemented to different degrees by existing teachers!

We are taught to assess under a framework called 'Assessment for Learning'. Basically, this means that virtually all assessment has to be formative- it needs to inform future teaching and learning. So you test what a pupil knows and tell them what they need to progress, which is in the form of a target.

It's usually really specific, e.g. 'Josh, at the moment you're working at a level 4 in your writing, to progress to a level 5, you need to use a variety of sentence structures'. Josh will have this made very clear to him. I'm not sure how I feel about this as I think it can tend towards being a little reductive, but it's certainly what we're told/required to do.

Assessment for learning also advocates the child 'owning' their own assessment and targets, hence someone mentioning that they're sort of agreed between teacher and pupil.

Hope this helps.

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 30-Oct-09 02:07:36

Most "existing teachers" and schools I know are using AFL SlackSally. But just because that is what you are taught in college doesn't necessarily mean its the best thing to do.

IMO it's like most things in education-Just a current fad. I started my teaching career as the NC was introduced; where there were some 50 attainment targets for pupils to reach in science amongst other things. hmm

Sorry, but speaking as a very experienced (and successful) primary school teacher, AFL is not all that. If you ask around, many children are given a similar target so it's really not as "personalised" as you might be led to believe. hmm

One of the problems with the AFL structure is that it can be very demoralising for some children. "Yes you have achieved XYZ but if you had included ABC then you would be at level H." angry

Bloody levels! What ever happened to the "Well done! This is a really excellent piece of work!" (for your level of ability!) with out a big fat BUT ( or in the case of the school where I work EBI (even better if...)

Oh FGS I'm on my orange box again somebody stop me! grin

ravenAK Fri 30-Oct-09 03:09:26

Its strength is in setting very specific areas to develop, & crediting things done well.

As a secondary English teacher who's been involved in AfL/APP from the outset, I find it hugely useful.

More importantly, so do the kids - I've just returned assessed pieces of work to years 7 & 9, & they do like the way we give feedback - it's an A4 sheet of assessment focuses with the areas of attainment highlighted, & a cover sheet with their attainment, their target, & a comment on their work. It sounds an awful lot more cumbersome than it is.

It does encourage progress - students can quickly see, for example, that they structured their work in paragraphs but they need to work on making links between those paragraphs, so that the whole piece of writing 'flows'. It's the best way of communicating to students HOW they can improve that I've come across in 10 years' teaching.

& yes, calling it 'level 5'is pretty crude, but it's effective - I routinely now get students assessing each others' work & saying things like 'you'd really need to include more persuasive techniques to get a level 6 here'...it encourages reflection.

I really don't like giving feedback that just says 'well done' - I wouldn't thank you for it myself; I'd want to understand what I'd done well & what I needed to do next.

I do do individual cover sheets for all assessed pieces - I've got a blank on Publisher & use the office clipboard to cut'n'paste comments. So to a degree, yes, some students within a group will have similar or identical targets. It also informs ME - if I'm pasting 'try to comment more on the structure of the text' for the 20th time, then I need to ensure our next piece of work focuses closely on structure, because obviously my teaching has missed the mark there.

I've started printing out two copies - IME students like one to take home & show their parents.

So yes, I do set 'goals' for individual children & I think it's fairly routine to do so.

nooka Fri 30-Oct-09 05:11:01

My children had goals in the UK. Since then (US and Canada) it's been much more test orientated, and it does as a parent make it harder to know where they are at I think (well no in the States as they had 1-2hrs homework every night so we knew exactly what they were learning).

It also helps with parents evenings, as it gives some structure. For ds his goals were pretty much always focused around behaviour (basically not disrupting everyone and attempting to think before doing things), whilst dds were more academically orientated. I found it helpful to pick up conversations that were obviously ongoing between the children and their teachers - gave a good idea of the dynamic. Here in Canada things are much less formal and I find it quite hard to know how they are doing (except that ds is still a pain and dd still a star) and where they need support.

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