Academic Goal Settings

Teaching your child how to set and attain goals is an important life skill. When helping your child set goals, it’s important to get his/her commitment first. There’s little motivation for him/her to achieve the goal if he/she doesn’t have a say in setting them. Note the following points that can lead to success:

  • Specific, measurable, and attainable
  • Break down the process into pieces
  • Action and evaluation

A goal must be specific and measurable to recognize achievement. “Get better grades” is not specific enough. “I will raise my math and reading grades one letter grade by the end of the quarter” is specific, easily measurable, and has a target date. Most importantly, a goal must be attainable. A regular “C” student should not expect to suddenly get straight “A’s,” but he/she can work toward that by first bringing up his/her grades, step by step.

Once your child has set a specific goal, break it down into smaller pieces, and then list what he/she needs to do to meet it. For academic goals, steps could include:

  • Memorizing specific facts
  • Finding a tutor
  • Securing a quiet place and time to do homework each night
  • Focusing on a difficult skill first
  • Working with a parent/teacher regularly

Once you’ve made the plan, it’s time to put it into action. There will no doubt be setbacks along the way, but help your child identify where his/her challenges are, and revise the plan if needed. On the target date, evaluate whether or not the goal was met. If it was, create a new goal! If not, evaluate why. Was there something that could have been done differently?

A successfully reached goal is a great boost to a child’s self-confidence and can motivate him/her to continue moving forward. Your help and encouragement are a vital part of your child’s success.