Date of Award

Fall 10-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Third Advisor

Dr. Mike LaChance

Abstract

This dissertation is a mixed-methods study that critically looked at peer-reviewed articles and empirical research findings about goal setting for middle school students and the possible effects that goal setting had on achievement. This project synthesized the information from articles about goal setting in general and, more specifically, the student informed goal-setting processes. The study spawned from the literature review and critically assessed one teacher’s use of the informed goal setting process to affect the achievement of her Midwestern middle school students. Students in the treatment group completed pre and post-questionnaires that assessed their understanding of goal setting and achievement. The researcher used students’ assessment data reports to instruct and coach students on their use of data to establish SMART goals for fall conferences, during the winter and spring R-CBM and MAZE testing, and quantitatively compared the treatment groups’ data to that of a peer-like control group. The researcher analyzed focus group responses for perception trends about the goal setting process. The results of the qualitative information and quantitative data indicated an attitudinal and behavioral shift in the use of the SMART goal setting process; however, the researcher found no statistically significant difference between the treatment and control groups. Goal setting did not have adverse effects on either student performance or behavior; so, with proper feedback, conferencing, and follow-through, goal setting should continue to be part of routine habit-building instruction. Further study is needed to determine the effect that the ‘informed’ aspect had on student attitudes and achievement and to explore parental influences on goal setting and attainment.

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