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Applying SMART Goals

Applying SMART Goals

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson you will review the components of SMART goals and develop a SMART goal connected to content.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and in today's video lesson, I will be exploring the topic of applying SMART goals. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives, and we'll answer the following two questions together in this video lesson-- what are SMART goals and the components of these goals, and what does it look like to write these goals?

Let's start by reviewing what SMART goals are. Remember, these goals are intended to help establish expectations and timelines, as well as how we will measure when the goals are met.

The letters in the word SMART stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-frame or Timely. The purpose of these goals is to better practice, as well as increase the levels of student achievement.

This is not a SMART goal-- students will improve their writing skills. There's no way to measure this goal. There's no time-frame attached. It doesn't tell us why improvement is needed or how it will be used either.

Let's look at a sample SMART goal. During the 2014-15 school year, 90% of students will improve their evidence based response writing skills as measured by an increase in one rubric level on the district spring common task as measured against the fall district baseline.

So if someone were to ask us, is this a SMART goal, we would say yes. It is specific. It gives a time-frame. It's measurable-- 90% of the students. It's attainable. This goal was written based on what students were doing before and measuring them by an increase in one rubric level. It's relevant. And again, there's a time-frame attached to it, the 2014-15 school year.

Let's look at another example, and while we go over this example, we'll look at a great tool for building SMART goals. And it's a format that you ask yourself questions along the way to make sure all of the components are there.

During this school year, 100% of my students will improve in instructional reading level. Each student will move up at least to grade level in reading from fall to spring based on the reading assessment. Furthermore, students who are below grade level will increase their instructional reading level by 1.5 years.

So let's go through the questions that you can use to guide your writing of SMART goals. Is this goal specific? Can members easily explain this goal? Yes, it's very specific. It gives us the time-frame, this current school year. It gives us the measurement tool, 100% of students, and they'll improve in one instructional reading level or 1.5 if they're below grade level.

Can we list specific actions necessary to achieve this goal? Yes, students need to go up at least one grade level from fall to spring, based on the reading assessment, or if they're below grade level, they need to go up by 1.5 years.

Let's look at the M or measurable. Is this goal measurable? It is measurable. Our students need to increase by one instructional reading level or by 1.5 years if they're below grade level, and this is 100% of students. How will you measure it? And we'll use the reading assessment to measure this.

What is the specific number associated with achieving this goal? Again, 100% of students.

What will you do if you struggle to meet this school? This is something that's not written here, but we would have to make sure that there were plans in place for those that did not move up for that one instructional reading level or 1.5 years for the below-level students.

Who will measure, with what, and how often? We will use the reading assessment, and we will use that in the fall upon entering school and again in the spring.

Let's look at the A. Is this goal realistic? Yes, it is realistic. 100% of students should improve in instructional reading level. This doesn't give one grade level for every single student, but instead, it says that each student will move up based on their pretest score.

What supports will you need to put in place to reach this goal? This would be dependent on your classroom and grade level. We'd want to make sure that we had tools along the way to help measure along the way, not just by the pre and post-tests but to see where students were in the entire process.

How will you hold everyone accountable? And again, this would be important to make sure we're tracking progress along the way.

Who is responsible for the steps? Both the student and the teacher have responsibility in this goal. Students have responsibility to work hard and make sure they're tracking their progress. And the teacher has responsibility to make sure the students have what they need at the grade levels that they're reading in.

Let's look at the R or the relevant part of this goal. Why have you selected this goal? Well, it's important for us, as reading teachers, to make sure our students are increasing, and that's why we have selected this goal.

What is the anticipated impact of achieving this goal? Students will continue to improve their reading levels as they go through each of our classes.

What research supports this goal? And again, we're making sure that we keep our students at the correct grade level so that they can accomplish and be successful with all of their work as they continue forward.

Let's look at the T, time bound. What are the checkpoints along the way? And here, we only have established within the actual written goal the pre-test and the post-test, but it would be important to make sure that we were tracking progress along the way in the classroom.

What is to be accomplished by each checkpoint and by whom? The teacher would be assessing pre and post school year.

What is the final deadline that must be met? And the final deadline here is spring, towards the end of the year.

Who is responsible? The teacher is responsible for making sure that this is staying on track and that 100% of the students do, in fact, improve in instructional reading level.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the following questions-- what are SMART goals and the components of these goals? And we also looked at what does it look like to write these goals?

I walked you through a process of looking at each of the letters, S- M- A- R- T and asking yourself questions to guide your writing of these goals.

We also reviewed what SMART goals were. Remember, those are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound.

Now that you're more familiar with SMART goals and how to write these, let's reflect. What might the challenges be in writing SMART goals? Can you think of examples of SMART goals for various scenarios?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson, applying SMART goals. I hope you found value in this video lesson, and I hope you're able to apply these ideas about writing SMART goals to your own teaching.

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description, so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Notes on “Applying SMART Goals”


(00:00- 00:22) Intro/Objectives

(00:23- 01:08) What are SMART Goals?

(01:09- 01:55) Example #1 of SMART Goal

(01:56- 03:12) Example #2/Template (S)

(03:13- 04:06) Example #2/Template (M)

(04:07- 05:07)  Example #2/Template (A)

(05:08- 05:41) Example #2/Template (R)

(05:42- 06:22) Example #2/Template (T)

(06:23- 06:50) Recap

(06:51- 07:34) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Student Learning S.M.A.R.T Goals & Objectives

This presentation from the Eugene School District includes a clear overview with some examples of how to apply SMART goals to improve and inform instruction. The presentation breaks the development, implementation, and analysis of the goals into easy to follow steps.

Cedar Rapids School District: SMART Goals

This is a great resource to use as a reference sheet when you are developing your own SMART goals.