Tuesday, March 15, 2005

SMART Process

Message from Marc Siciliano after SAM / Baruch participants visited the Bronx Guild.

Great day. I'm certainly excited about the data collected and the ideasdiscussed. As expected, we're left with the "now what?" action steps thatreally speak to progress and accountability.I originally planned to use the attached document in my work with scienceteachers. Charles and I attempted it briefly -- and we both think there'spromise. I'm not sure if/how this fits, but I'm thinking of the next layerof PD using this model. We have staff-wide PD that address constructivistteaching and, more specifically, conferencing. With the teachers we'recoaching, I'm suggesting that we create specific, measurable goals relatedto their practice and student progress. Essentially, this piece becomes theindividualized PD our teachers need. The 3-step process includes thecreation of goals, an action plan and assessment.I'm sure I'm not capturing the essence of my proposal, but read the doc whenyou have a chance and see if this fits. Thoughts?

Science PD: The Goal Planning Process
File “Goal Planning.doc” Updated March 15, 2005

Goal Planning Step 1: Set Goals
The Goal Planning Process provides teachers, principals, and schools with the tools to create and manage professional learning communities within core courses, and with structures to set priorities for ongoing support and professional development for the school year. Individual teachers will set their own “implementation goals,” with a focus on their own progress. Teachers are to target three goal areas with at least one goal each: student achievement, instructional improvement, and content area literacy.

Achievement goals
Student achievement goals describe a concrete, desired change in student academic performance. Generally, teachers should use major summative assessments as a target of a goal instead of small assignments. Achievement goals might address one or more of the following:
Grade distribution, including the percentage of pass/fail at the semester break
Local assessments, including proficiency on end-of-unit exams and/or major projects or assignments
State assessments, including Regents scores
Participation rates, or attendance rates in academic activities, such as the completion rate on homework over a period of time

Instruction Goals
Instruction goals describe a change in teacher practices that can lead to increased student achievement. Instruction goals might address one or more of these areas:
Incorporating new pedagogies, such as cooperative learning, hands-on activities, or guided inquiry investigations
Curriculum development, such as creating and enacting new units of instruction focused on particular content or themes
Tool development, such as creating and enacting new rubrics for essays or projects, or new assessment systems for tracking student performance
Incorporating new technologies, such as PowerPoint presentations or graphing calculators, within existing instructional units
Actions that address special population needs, such as enhancing the support provided to ELL and special education students

Literacy Goals
Literacy goals should focus on: reading, thinking, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, or visually representing in response to text. Literacy goals may focus on either achievement or instruction (as described above), but should have a particular focus on these literacy ideals. Literacy goals might address:
Content standards regarding literacy, including enhancing ways for students to communicate and interact with informational text
Specific teacher or student actions that address a component of: comprehension, fluency, word knowledge, and writing

The SMART Process
First, goals should be driven by data about the school and the students that learn there. They should explicitly address gaps in performance, so that by attaining goals, gaps in student performance are closed. Second, a teacher’s implementation goals should be written in a manner so that student learning or student activities are the focus of the goal’s actions. Third, while long-term goal setting is encouraged, the goals that drive the planning process should be able to be achieved within one semester. For example, a long-term effort to lower the failure rate to 10% from 44% over three years should target a reduction of 6% per semester so that ongoing progress can be measured.

Each goal that is drafted by a teacher should be subjected to the SMART process in an effort to further hone its clarity. The SMART process has many sources and many variations, but all of them use the acronym S-M-A-R-T as a device to remind goal setters of several crucial aspects of highly effective goals. SMART stands for “specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound.”


For example, saying that you want to have fun this weekend is not specific, but saying that you want to go on one mountain hike of at least 8 miles is.
Saying you want your students to be better citizens is not measurable, but saying you want them to average over 82% on the department’s U.S. Constitution test is.
Saying you want your students to hand in their homework more often is not action-oriented, but saying you want to establish a new system for managing homework grading so that students take it more seriously is.
Saying you will improve Regents scores by 75% is not realistic, but saying you will increase them by 20% is.
And saying you want the Cubs to win the World Series is not time-bound, but saying you want them to win in 2005 is.

Goal Planning Step 2: Action Planning
Once each goal is set, teachers should discuss as broadly as possible the actions it will take to accomplish it. Those actions will likely group together in a logical way, and a few “key actions” will emerge as the main steps. From this discussion, the teacher will create an action plan that articulates these steps.

Key Actions
What steps or activities must teachers accomplish to achieve this goal?
What products will be created?

Key actions generally fall into four different categories, which can serve as useful prompts in planning discussions:
Materials to get or produce describe items that need to be acquired (laboratory equipment, copies of literature for students to read) or produced by the teacher (review packets for students).
Common lessons describe lessons and units that will be developed and enacted collaboratively by a few teachers.
Organizational changes describe changes in school processes or logistics that may be required to facilitate attainment of goals.
Professional development needs describe efforts to build new knowledge teachers will need in order to enact their action plans.

Timeframe and Due Dates
Teachers should determine a realistic timeframe for each key action, and identify which steps depend on other steps for their completion. Once the essential elements of the work have been described, the teacher should select specific due dates for each action.

Goal Planning Step 3: Reflection
Reflection is an ongoing and active part of The Goal Planning Process where teachers pause to take stock of their accomplishments and discuss their process for working together to make further progress. The reflection stage always begins with analysis of the results, based on specific assessment tools named during the early stages of planning. After reflection, goals and action plans may be revised and updated, so that an evolving, constantly growing cycle of improvement emerges. Broadly speaking, reflections should consist of discussions of answers to three basic questions for each goal:
Did I accomplish this goal?
If not, what were the obstacles that I have control over?
What adjustments to this goal and this action plan might help overcome these obstacles?

Formal reflections should occur each semester and will drive the continuing process of honing the plan.

Note: Plan and email message from Marc Siciliano

1 comment:

SAM said...

I think that student achievement and instruction are two excellent choices for goal areas.

Student Achievement Goals.

Why the focus on summative rather than formative assessment? I’m guessing we want to be able to have a measure at the end (summative) of our success – makes sense. I only worry that it puts the focus of assessment on “the assessment of learning rather than assessment for learning,” in the words of Rick Stiggins. Perhaps assessment for learning falls into an instructional goal.

Instructional Goals

So, in this framework might 10 different teachers work on 10 different strategies? If they do, how does this affect the use of common staff development time? Or, are the various goals of teachers inside of this process not related to common staff development agendas? Or, does one look for some common thread amongst the chosen goals and make that the focus? Or, something else?

SMART: I like it. Excellent criteria for establishing goals and would be helpful to us all.

Reflection is essential and a great aspect of this approach. For this reason, I think goals should be set to be accomplished in less than a semester…maybe quarters or smaller increments of time. The phenomenon I notice is that ending at the semester or year leaves little to no time to take alternative action. It also allows for too much time to pass before results are inspected. So, let’s say a teacher who is overwhelmed doesn’t work on his or her project / goals. We may not know until the semester check in. I suppose this is avoided by building in shorter term due dates.