Our newest member Mindee could use some feedback:

Hi –

I am an Elementary FLES (Spanish) teacher and am a recent convert to TPRS. Totally sold, through and through. Love this blog. I have to do a Smart Goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) as required by the State of Va. and every year it’s on everyone’s dreaded to dos list. You set a goal for a certain group of kids (i.e. students can describe 3 attributes of animals and habitats), you give a pretest, show your administrator your goal and test data…… you go through the year w/a variety of strategies to accomplish your goal, do a post test in the Spring. If you don’t meet your goal it affects your evaluation. Total BS.

Since I really love TPRS I’d love to do something related so I’m not just wasting my time. Any ideas for me? Has anyone done this before?



6 thoughts on “SMART Goals”

  1. Can you make it simple by writing a paragraph using language you think you might be teaching throughout the year. Like, a 4-5 sentence paragraph, then write 10 t/f, multiple choice, and short answer questions (short answers Qs could be written in English, both the teacher Q and the student answer). This would be a reading comprehension test.

    Or maybe even more simple is to do a Free Write for the pretest and another Free Write for the posttest. In the Free Write you assess the writing production’s 1) range of vocabulary, 2) accuracy of language, 3) organization of ideas. These 3 criteria are found in the IB writing production rubrics.

  2. Last year I used freewrite word counts. My principal loved it, the kids exceeded the goal quickly, and it was easy! Just count the words. Bam.

    1. Nicole Sherf, MaFLA board member advised at a workshop to base the grade on quantity rather than on quality at the beginner level. This is what you are saying, Tina, and has been part of TPRS for a long time.

      Text-level may also be a way to look at growth: Are students writing words / phrases / simple sentences / complex sentences / paragraphs / stories?

      Using Robert Patrick’s Self-assessment for writing is a great way to let the kids track and verify their growth over the year. As I watched my students self-assess in June it was so rewarding to see them get excited about how much they had improved.

      Btw, Mindee, we have Smart goals here in MA. One of the questions is what administrators do with that information. I recently had a principal who had a gotcha approach to things. I now have one who has a reflection approach. I was put on an Improvement Plan for not teaching grammar and for not having a variety of methods to engage all learners (although they were 95-100% engaged during observations, except for the class in which I gave an almost typical grammar presentation). My new principal’s plan is that we meet once a month (instead of once a week) and let me reflect on what I did for the past month, what worked and what did not (instead of producing weekly lesson plans for approval).

      You may want to think through the possibilities based on CI practices. Go through the list of activities, OWI/ Invisibles/ Free writes / jGR / SSR / Super 7 / 100 most frequent words / Dictados. Ask yourself what could be an attainable, measurable goal? A hundred word story in 5 minutes. Write meanings of the 100 most frequent words. Can create/describe a OWI/Invisible using the guiding questions (age, color, residence, interest, etc.) Consistently able to engage in conversational skills as assessed by Interpersonal Communication Skills (jGR/dGR).

      For SSR, measure how long students are able to read to themselves: on the pre-test they are probably looking around after about 5 minutes; by the end of the year they may read 25 minutes before they are ready for a change; use a timer to note when, say, the third student starts looking around, at the clock, or is otherwise disengaging.

      Can use the seven verbs essential to narration (Super 7) in present or past time frame. You could propose it as a research problem: Will the students be able to use the Super 7 in a story without explicitly teaching them as a list of seven words that should be included in stories? That is, will non-targeted result in these seven basic verbs?

      1. Thank you so much Ben for posting my question. This is great! And thank you all for these interesting possibilities. Am I correct that most of you teach Middle or High School? I teach prek-5. I’m assuming I could adjust for the age. I have a thousand questions to ask but I’m going to try to find some of the answers by searching things out on this blog first. What a gold mine!

        1. I did the same exact thing as Tina last year for my goal, Mindee. I brought it in samples for my eval meeting showing several students growth from 1st quarter to then end, and they were so impressed with the writing samples. I also only paid attention to word count and comprehensibility, not accuracy! I only teach level 1 in MS.

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