The Problem with Pass or Fail – Target Setting and Progress

By Karen Simmons, Early Years

Target setting has always been difficult within the curriculum that we teach.  This is mainly due to the fact that our qualifications are pass or fail within Early Years.  However, to help with this a colleague has come up with a solution that allows students to set their own short term targets to get the best outcomes from students.

This is done by using a that the students complete on a daily basis. The students file the completed templates each day in a small folder which they make their own by personalising them.  Download template here – Student Action daily no 2

The students write about what they plan to achieve that day which could be taken from the aims and objectives given at the beginning of the lesson.  These targets are listed and ideas are given.

These ideas may be what work do they intend to finish? What have they been asked to do? What are they behind with? The targets may also be more specific to the student i.e. to concentrate and remain focused, to be punctual, to take part in discussion, to ask/answer questions, participation etc.

This allows students to take responsibility for their own learning, encourages independent learning and achieve short term aims at their own pace.  It also makes students aware of incomplete work that needs to be finished as homework and allows the student to plan for this.

At the end of the day/lesson the students are given time to review the action plan. Did they achieve everything they had planned to?  If not why not? What went well, what didn’t? What needs to be completed in the next session or for homework?  The action plan is looked at and commented on by the tutor at the end of each day and again at the end of the week.

This has highlighted areas of concern and students have been found to write comments that would otherwise have been missed, particularly if the student does not feel they can communicate their concerns easily.  The action plan gives the opportunity to voice any concerns or opinions, good or bad, and allows the Tutor to act on these concerns/opinions promptly.

The Action Plan encourages students to think about what they need to achieve throughout the day, giving a sense of achievement when one of their targets is completed and helps to keep the students focused on expectations.

The Action Plan is a good way for students to organise their own time by completing and following a simple list on what they aim to achieve that day and giving ideas on how they are going to achieve the targets.

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