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Step Into Student Goal Setting

Step Into Student Goal Setting
A Path to Growth, Motivation, and Agency

Co-publication with NWEA

February 2022 | 144 pages | Corwin

Using Goals to Amplify Student Learning

Step Into Student Goal Setting provides an action plan for answering the question: What does this student know and how do I build from it?

Research-driven and practical, this guide shows teachers how to integrate formative assessment, student metacognition, and motivational strategies to make goal setting an integral instructional strategy. Author Chase Nordengren weaves research and case studies with practical strategies to demonstrate how goal setting, with clear learning intentions and plenty of scaffolded support by teachers, can lead to high learning growth and student agency.

Readers will find:

  • Actionable strategies for incorporating goal setting in instructional practice
  • Tips for using goals as motivational strategies to drive learning growth
  • Guidance on how to coach students through setting their own goals – recalibrating and celebrating along the way
  • Vignettes and examples to demonstrate what goal setting looks like in the classroom

By demonstrating how to set, monitor, and evaluate goals, this guide equips teachers with the tools they need to help students take ownership of their learning journeys.

Chapter 1: What Good Goals Look Like
Chapter 2: Start Early and Keep It Up: Setting Goals for All Students
Chapter 3: Build the Habit
Chapter 4: Showcase Success Through Balanced Assessment
Chapter 5: Create Personal Relevance
Chapter 6: Use Student Choice to Support Autonomy
Conclusion: A Vision for the Goal Setting Classroom

We know every student is advancing their learning at a different speed. This book makes a great case for goal setting as a critical way to realize student potential. Nordengren offers research backed evidence along with valuable advice for all educators about the power of goal setting to advance learning, motivate students and establish long term knowledge that will help students succeed.  

Chris Minnich
Chief Executive Officer, NWEA

When students know the goals of learning they are more receptive to teaching, feedback, and assessment; and more likely to engage and enjoy the hard work of learning.  This is the go-to book to learn more about effective and efficient goal setting, and how to involve the students in setting and evaluating progress to mastery and deeper learning goals.  The book also recognizes that every student already has their goals so how to work from these to entice them to also aim for your goals (and not the other way around).

John Hattie
Author of the Visible Learning series

As we find ourselves immersed in resetting and reimagining schools for student directed learning, Chase Nordengren provides us with current research on student motivation while offering educators practical strategies for student goal setting. Through Setting the Path: Using Goals to Drive Learning for Students, practitioners are offered a well grounded WHY for this practice along with essentials for measuring learning, supporting autonomy, developing a classroom culture of "academic press", and "One-on-One" conversations, all which empower learners as well as teachers on this journey. This is a tool that can be used by administrators with staff to shift the paradigm, by classroom teachers to reflect and rethink their positions on student directed learning and open the door for a school to ground themselves in how humans learn. Let's get started! 

Anna Sugarman
-Professional Learning Coordinator, Shenendehowa Central Schools

Chase Nordengren's book carefully balances a grounding in research related to goal setting (with gentle reminders not to rely on a single study) with practical suggestions for how to turn that research into classroom practice. To support students increase their use of goal setting practices and move towards greater autonomy of learning, teachers may need to engage with similar strategies: to that end Chase also provides opportunities for teachers to reflect, plan, and act on the recommendations within each chapter. This book provides a wealth of tools for teacher learning communities to engage with over an extended period of time to address an important teaching practice that will support student learning.

Caroline Wylie,
Principal Research Scientist, ETS

In his book, Chase Nordengren reminds us about the power of intentionality and how we can use goal-setting to empower our students to become agents in their own learning. With a combination of practical application and thoughtful approaches, he helps re-cast goal-setting from an often used strategy, to a pedagogy that ensures the centering of our students. It's a perfect read for anyone who is ready to re-ignite purposeful learning.

Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 National Teacher of the Year
2010 National Teacher of the Year

What if the best parts of our assessment and teaching practices were focused around the humans they are intended to most impact? In other words, what if our assessment practices were student-centered by design? What if we could live these values in our classrooms; learn through empathy so we can understand the lived experience of each and every student; begin the learning journey by centering students as active partners; co-create aspirational outcomes; and  liberate students to build their own pathways to achieve their visions? Step Into Student Goal Setting is an opportunity to do just that. Nordengren's book offers tangible steps all educators and students can take as they unlearn disempowering educational habits and roles, opting instead for a student-powered system that elevates student involvement and shared decision making that gives students a stake in their own future.

Erin Whitlock
Professional Practice Consultant with the Center for Great Public Schools at the Oregon Education Association

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ISBN: 9781071855201