Student-Driven Goal-Setting and Attainment: What Causes Differences in Perception Between Student and Teacher?

When students determine their own goals and design their own rubrics for measuring outcomes, goal attainment is dependent on whether the student’s rating or the teacher’s rating is utilized as the outcome measure.

Key Takeaway: When students determine their own goals and design their own rubrics for measuring outcomes, goal attainment is dependent on whether the student’s rating or the teacher’s rating is utilized as the outcome measure. Further research is needed to determine why student and teacher ratings can diverge and to what degree these can be used to draw conclusions on the efficacy of interventions. —Akane Yoshida

The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) is “a teaching model implemented by teachers to enable their students to self-direct and self-regulate their actions in pursuit of goals” (Shogren et al., 2017). In this 2021 article, Shogren et al. analyze their findings from a 3-year trial in which they examined the impact of different educator supports for the implementation of SDLMI in inclusive, secondary core content classes. Students participating in the study were supported in creating their own Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) rubrics to rate themselves and to allow their teachers to rate them. 

The authors’ analysis sought to determine the following:

  1. How much agreement is there between student and teacher ratings of student goal attainment?
  2. Does the impact of different educator supports for the implementation of SDLMI on goal attainment outcomes vary across student and teacher ratings?
  3. Does the impact of student disability status on goal attainment outcomes vary across student and teacher ratings?

In relation to research question 1, the authors found that there was “only a fair amount” of agreement on student goal attainment outcomes, and those discrepancies were most pronounced where ratings suggested that outcomes were far less or far more than expected. Of this, the authors suggest:

Could it be that students and teachers are providing different perspectives, likely influenced by unique contextual factors, of goal attainment outcomes? Furthermore, how do student and teacher ratings correspond to actual student skills and use of these skills in general education classrooms? Are student or teacher ratings more aligned with actual performance?” 

In relation to research question 2, the authors conclude thus:

[T]he findings suggest a critical need to attend to the role of differing perceptions of outcomes in the analysis of intervention efficacy. When examining the impact of student versus teacher ratings in estimating the effect of teacher implementation supports, student ratings of goal attainment suggested a larger impact as teachers received more intensive supports for implementation.” 

With regards to research question 3, the impact of student disability status on differences in goal attainment ratings between students and teachers, the authors found that student disability status led to teachers giving substantially lower ratings of goal attainment compared to students, prompting them to wonder:

[D]o students overestimate their strengths while teachers identify areas of additional instructional needs and supports? Or are teachers’ expectations of students’ capacities shaped by students having an identified disability...Or are both meaningful yet independent, self-perceptions of outcomes that could predict observed outcomes in distinct ways?” 

The authors state the need for ongoing research to be conducted, to further explore how students with disabilities in inclusive settings can be supported to successfully engage in goal setting, as well as determine to what extent student ratings and teacher ratings are aligned with actual behavior in the classroom.

Summarized Article:

Shogren, K. A., Hicks, T. A., Raley, S. K., Pace, J. R., Rifenbark, G. G., & Lane, K. L. (2021). Student and teacher perceptions of goal attainment during intervention with the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction. The Journal of Special Education, 55(2), 101-112.

Summary by: Akane Yoshida — Akane believes that developing supportive and nurturing relationships with students is key to helping them to attain their personal benchmarks for success. She loves how the MARIO Framework operationalizes this process and utilizes systematic measurement of student learning and teacher effectiveness to guide interventions.

Additional References:

  1. Shogren, K. A., Wehmeyer, M. L., Burke, K. M., & Palmer, S. B. (2017). The Self-Determination Learning Model of Instruction: Teacher's Guide. Lawrence, KS: Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities.

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Join the MARIO Family

We are a dedicated group of learners that are constantly seeking to improve the lives of the children we care for. Whether you are a teacher, parent, assistant, or administrator, we give you free access to the most recent special education related research and practices available. Our twice monthly MARIO Memo summarizes and shares studies from peer-reviewed journals, while our learning letters provide insights from MARIO classrooms.

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