Sunday, August 5, 2012

Be a SMARTie

A Harvard study was conducted to explain why 3% of their graduates from the MBA program made 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates combined. What did they conclude? Those 3% of graduates had clear written goals, and plans to accomplish them. Hence one of the reasons for the popularization of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

But what are S.M.A.R.T. goals? S.M.A.R.T. is actually an acronym for the following:

Specific: Good goals are clear, precise, and definite. If your goals are too broad, too general, or too fuzzy, they will be hard to achieve. Ask yourself what do I want to accomplish? Why? (specific reasons, purposes or benefits of accomplishing the goal) Who is involved?

Measurable: The goal must be written so that you can measure your progress toward it, so you'll know when you've achieved it. It should answer questions such as how much? How many? and How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable: Make sure that your goal is not too difficult or too easy. Think about the steps you will have to take to achieve the goal. Think about HOW this goal will be accomplished.

Realistic/Relevant: Set a goal that really matters or that is aligned with and supports other goals. Ask does it seem worthwhile? Is it the right time? Does this match our efforts/needs? What will it look like when it's reached?

Timely: The goal should have a definite timeline.

This year at our school, each grade level is working on their own S.M.A.R.T. goals. As the Reading Specialist & Literacy Coach it is my job to help each level with their goals. But, it is also imperative that I have goals for myself as well. Remember, "setting goals helps improve our experience and performance. It also shows that we are happier when we are progressing towards our goals." (

Here is how I am tracking my goals this is a free online platform to track your goals. It allows you to set, track, and achieve your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Take this tutorial to see more: S.M.A.R.T. Goals Tour.

See my goals below:

S.M.A.R.T. goals are meant to be long term anywhere from 1 to 3 years in length. What's nice about this program is that it allows me to input time frames and constantly check and update my progress towards my goals through the use of tasks.

When setting your S.M.A.R.T. goals, here are some things to keep in mind:

Suggested words when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:
  • Choose a verb: increase, decrease, reduce, improve, deliver, grow
  • Define the object: what you wish or will work toward to get better at and for whom
  • Identify how much: target goals and a reference to the meeting of success
  • Identify by when: time frame for completion of goal

Happy Goal Setting!


  1. Hi there! I teach 6th grade reading and we are doing SMART goals this year for the first time. I am at a loss with what type of goal to have. Do you think you can help me?? I don't have any "benchmark" assessments like F and P that the elementary teachers use. I just don't even know where to begin!
    Please help if you can! Thank you!

  2. Teachers College offers free assessments online that you can use to assess your students. You can find the assessments here that you can print out and use with your students. They have a student copy as well as a teacher copy where you can do your running record. I laminated the student copies so I can use them over and over and I put each leveled story into a folder and keep them on hand for when I want to assess my students. This will give you the child's reading accuracy, rate, fluency and comprehension.