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Aligning Goals in an Action Research Plan

Aligning Goals in an Action Research Plan


In this lesson, student examine how to align goals in an action research plan.

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Video Transcription

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Hi everyone, and welcome. In this lesson, we'll be looking at aligning goals in an action plan. We have a lot to get to, so let's get started.

I'm sure you've had this experience. You go to the supermarket and you grab a carriage and begin to do your shopping. You quickly realize something just isn't quite right. The wheels aren't rolling like they should. You look down and notice one of the four wheels is not like the others. It's turned at a 90 degree angle. In short of getting a new carriage, there's nothing you can do about it.

What do you do? I've been guilty of pushing through it, becoming frustrated and angry along the way. When our goals are misaligned, that can be frustrating, as well. One of the goals of setting the goal in an action plan is making sure that it's aligned to the school's goal, which in turn should align to the goals of the district. Think back to that shopping cart analogy. If the wheels are all out of whack, you will not get to where you want to Go.

I want to demonstrate for you how to ensure that this alignment happens. Like I said, you need your SMART goal to be aligned to the district's strategic goal, so let's try it. We'll use a pretty generic one. Let's say the district's strategic goal was to increase the achievement of all students by providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences.

Now let's also look at the goal in context of the district's vision and mission. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, comprehensive educational experience that supports each student's academic, social, and emotional development, and prepares them to be global citizens who are college and career and life ready. Our vision is to be a world class school system that develops the whole student and inspires them to be the critical thinkers, problem solvers, artists, and inventors who make contributions to their communities, our nation, and the world.

At the district level, these three work very well together, but our task is to attempt to create a SMART goal that is also aligned. We will come back to this slide in a little bit. OK, so this is the scenario. The English department gets together and decides to write the following goal. By the end of the school year, 85% or more of our students will demonstrate proficiency in all writing standards as assessed of the departmental narrative, informative, and argumentative writing rubrics.

Now the question is, is it SMART? This goal tells us specifically what wants to be accomplished. It refers to the measurement tool being used. It's attainable. It's also relevant, and we know that the English teachers are responsible for it since they wrote it. And the time is clearly stated.

Will this goal help us to achieve the larger goals we identified in our team mission, vision, and goals? If yes, continue. If no, alter the goal before proceeding. The next question to ask is whether or not this goal will help us achieve the larger goals outlined in the district's mission, vision, and goals. So let's go ahead and ask ourselves the question, is this goal going to help us achieve the larger goals outlined in the district mission, vision, and goals? The answer is emphatically yes.

Let's take this one step further. If we are confident the English department's goal is aligned with the district's mission, vision, and goal, and we are, then it's time to develop an action plan. And here it is. The team will create a collection of formative assessments, including exit tickets, 3-2-1 charts, consensograms, and so on. The information gathered from this process will help teachers create more rigorous learning experiences.

Step two, the English department will swap papers and blind score student work, then discuss the results. These discussions will certainly guide future lessons. Step three, from there, the teachers will select benchmark papers and share them with their students. This step appears to be lacking in terms of helping all students improve. Although it is important to look at benchmark papers, that in and of itself is not enough, so I'm going to add a step that targets those students still struggling. The teacher will require explicit teaching in the area of weakness to those students who fall below the benchmark. And finally, the team will analyze the results monthly and adjust plans as needed.

By increasing the number of formative assessments and utilizing benchmark papers, this action plan addresses the district goal of increase the achievement of all students by providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences. Once met, the goal of 85% proficiency on writing will certainly help the school and the district meet their goals, and move them one step closer to realizing their vision, as well. All the wheels will be aligned and pointing in the same direction.

We covered a lot in this lesson so let's go ahead and summarize. We started by talking about goal setting, and moved on to aligning those goals with the district's vision, mission, and strategic goals. We reviewed SMART goals and how to check if your goal meets the criteria of SMART. Next, we went through a pretty comprehensive sample of the process, and ended by introducing action planning.

Here's your daily dose of food for thought. It's more of an assignment today. Read the following goal, which is definitely not SMART, and make changes to it. Good luck.

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Aligning Goals in an Action Research Plan"

(00:00-00:08) Intro

(00:09-00:40) Shopping Cart

(00:41-01:01) Goal Setting

(01:02-03:19) Goal Alignment

(03:20-04:25) Action Plan

(04:26-04:55) Alignment

(04:56-05:51) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Boston Public Schools: Goals & Action Plans  

This page on the  Boston Public Schools site offers professional development modules on the development and review of goal setting and action plans. This page provides useful examples and demonstrations of goal and plan development and evaluation.

Chittenden Central Supervisory Union: Action Planning

The Chittenden Central Supervisory Union (CCSU) provides useful resources for the development of continuous improvement plans and strategies. These resources include detailed explanations of how to use the provided tools.