Students and teachers seeing benefits in understanding, achievement, and motivation.
The US History team at South Cobb High School – along with the Social Studies Supervisor, Professional Learning Specialist, and Title I Academic Coaches – have embarked on a book study of Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today’s Lessonby Connie M. Moss and Susan M. Brookhart. The text provides a theoretical and practical background into the evidence-based practice of creating and using learning targets in the classroom. Learning targets “…describe, in language that students understand, the lesson-sized chunk of information, skills, and reasoning processes that students will come to know deeply (Moss & Brookhart, 2012).” Using learning targets in the classroom shifts the focus off of what the teachers are doing and onto what the students are doing; the focus is on learning and students producing evidence of that learning.
The teachers began their book study at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, and continued the work over the summer. They report that their lessons are much more focused this year, they are moving through the curriculum faster than they have previously, and their planning is taking less time. They state that their students are performing better on assessments than in previous years, and that their students are holding them accountable for the learning targets each day. One teacher reported that their students won’t leave the classroom until they can meet the learning target. Another says that their students have changed their note-taking methods to align with the learning targets, and have even stopped taking notes in the middle of class when the teacher went off on a tangent that wasn’t aligned to the learning goals for the day!
The benefits of learning targets aren’t just for the teachers, though. The students are just as excited about them. When asked how learning targets have affected their learning experience, students said that they had a better understanding of what they were learning and why they were learning it, and felt better prepared for tests. Students even lamented that other subject areas were not using learning targets yet! Check out what the students had to say about using learning targets in the videos below:
How have learning targets benefitted students? – https://youtu.be/7fcpPdEbx1c
Do students feel better prepare for tests as a result of using learning targets? – https://youtu.be/m6vAWlm1CDc
Title I District Academic Coach