Why Learning Targets and Scales Are Important
Students need feedback to stay focused on their progress, but the feedback must be based on something attainable and measurable. Clear learning targets, bolstered by actionable feedback, provide:
- Daily objectives that help teachers effectively scaffold instruction
- A system to build on (and deepen) students’ understanding of critical content
- A pathway to autonomy so students can take ownership of their learning
- Valuable information that students need to improve on their skills
Creating goals and scales doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Students don’t need to see all of their learning goals at the same time. They don’t need to see past or future goals. They only need access to the goals that pertain to what they are learning today. This gives teachers a lot of flexibility in how to communicate them.
“If I do the following, I can meet the goal.”
A well-devised scale helps students engage in important inner dialogues. It answers the question, “What is expected of me?” and enables them to see that even the most challenging tasks are entirely possible. In short, it empowers them take control of their learning. However, for all of this to happen, they need teachers to provide the goals and scales.
Goals are the easy part. Teachers know what they want students to learn, but a goal without an accompanying scale leaves the equation half complete. Scale building is essential.