It is important that learners are well informed about the purpose of the targets, how there are calculated and how these targets are linked to their ‘dreams’ (topic 2). Learners should not see targets as a burden, but rather as a learning motivation. They also need to understand that ‘target setting’ is a life skill that they will need and use in their life beyond school. Therefore, learners will need the assistance and guidance of experienced and wise adults, including their parents/guardians as well as their peers.
Because the AYP approach is based on continuous improvement, learners will have to declare their commitment to their targets through three strategies:
- What they need to ‘do more’;
- What they need to ‘do better’; and
- What they need to ‘do differently’, in order to ensure that they perform 5% better in their subjects.
Once learners have targets, and worked to ultimately achieve them, they will experience that sense of success, and this will build their confidence and encourage them to set further targets and aim to achieve higher and higher. As they become more adept at setting targets, they will unconsciously begin to take ownership of their learning. Other benefits of target setting include:
- Giving learners the opportunity to own their learning;
- Giving learners ownership over their actions and success;
- Teaching them the processes (small steps) between intention and delivery;
- Teaching them about perseverance, and especially when ‘the going gets tough’;
- Assessing the strengths of learners, in order to be realistic, and to identify potential barriers over certain tasks in advance;
- Empowering them with the skill of ‘looking to the future’ (having a timeline), rather than immediate successes and/or challenges.
In our methodology, learners will receive an individual ‘assessment plan’ in each subject, which will display the expected performance level in each of the FATs (formative assessment task) and PATs (practical assessment task), at the beginning of the year. Through this process, they can proactivity ‘own’ and ‘take responsibility’ for the achievement of their targets during every task on a continuous basis, rather than ‘promising to perform well at the end of the year (final examination)’. They will then use the ‘assessment plan’, in order to draw up their ‘study/learning plan’ for each of their assessment tasks. Their study/learning plan will enable them to work independently rather than expecting ‘adults’ to ‘push’ them to learner. They will realise that putting in consistent work will result in more guaranteed success than ‘last minute’ work that is often ‘hoping’ for success. By knowing their targets in advance, they can utilise the ‘second chance opportunity’ more strategically, through well-informed feedback from teachers to ensure that they achieve their expected target in line with their assessment plan. By making the connection between the end results (their targets) and their own commitment and choices (in their study/learning plan) is a hugely beneficial skill for learners to learn during their school years.