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Squared saunalahden koulu 13
How to illustrate what a student needs to know to achieve a certain level of competence?

The Goal Indicator

Marker Helsinki, Finland
The Goal Indicator is a concrete tool for learning. It helps the student to understand the objectives and assessment criteria of a course. With the Goal Indicator, the teacher is able to use differentiation in teaching methods and to interact and work better with the students.

What is it all about?

“The Goal Indicator provides students with an in-depth mapping and understanding of their own skills and development possibilities.”

Eve Lappalainen, Lecturer in Mathematics Education

Assessment is the most important factor guiding student learning. Therefore, it must be transparent: students need to know what a grade or final evaluation of a particular unit is based on and what they have to do in order to achieve the grade they want.

Each student's learning process is unique. Others need more and others less time to attain goals and to grasp learning content. In this case, it is important that teaching allows personalized learning and that students can progress towards the set goals at their own pace.

The Goal Indicator is a tool that allows the student to gain a complete understanding of what they are aiming to learn. They also form an understanding of what they need to learn in order to achieve their own goals. The student themself chooses what they want to pursue during each learning unit and progresses systematically towards these goals using the indicator, knowing what grade and final evaluation they will eventually get.

Developing the Goal Indicator began when it was noticed that the best results are not achieved by teaching all students the same contents with the same main goals and that not all students need to reach the same skill level. Students can also have personalized goals, and the task of the teacher is to create a possibility for the students to differentiate their skills.

The Goal Indicator has been developed for high school mathematics education, but it can be applied to other subjects as well, according to the same operating principles.

If a personalized learning path isn’t possible in a subject or course, the Goal Indicator will then function as a criterion for assessment only. As a student progresses with their studies, they can follow the indicator to see what grade each stage of competence corresponds with.

The following steps will help you create a Goal Indicator for your own lessons.

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Intended Outcomes
11 - 15
Age Group
Resources Needed
No special resources required
HundrED Criteria
The easy-to-apply model makes goals identifiable and easy to track for the students.
Students learn to set goals themselves and proceed towards them independently.
The indicator is easy to implement in different subjects, provided that the criteria for the grading system are clear to the teacher.

See this innovation in action.


Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

The Goal Indicator’s Structure
The structure of the Goal Indicator is based on the fact that the very basic knowledge and skills needed to understand the whole learning unit are distinguishable.
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Setting the main goal
Consider what the objectives of the learning unit are – how to name it.
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Putting skills into words
Consider the goals of each practiced skill. Write down all the skills that are needed in order to learn the main goal of the unit.
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Division into basic, applied and advanced skills
Divide your skills into three parts. The basic level of competence includes the skills that comprise the absolute basics of the main goal.
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Creating assessment tasks
Create tasks that measure and reflect each section’s goals and learning content.
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Comprehending the goals
The students get acquainted with set the goals before getting to work.
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