Know the facts

UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 6.1: Guide appropriate goal-setting

II. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

Executive Function


Learning can be inaccessible when it requires effective and realistic goal-setting and where there are no options for individuals who differ in such executive functions. Long term and even short terms tasks can raise barriers to learning without the proper embedded support for such goal-setting. The experimental and quantitative evidence listed here indicates the advantages of supports - such as highly explicit goal-setting instruction, varied models, and embedded prompts and scaffolds to estimate effort and task difficulty – for this facet of executive functions. The scholarly reviews and opinion pieces provide additional arguments for why it is important to supports students’ in setting their goals. Although some of these articles are dated, they nonetheless continue to provide guidance on supporting effective goal-setting.

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Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

Butler, D. L. (1997). The roles of goal setting and self-monitoring in students' self-regulated engagement in tasks. Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).

Earley, P. C. (1985). Influence of information choice and task complexity upon goal acceptance, performance and personal goals. Journal of Applied Psychology, 70(3), 481-491.

Fleming, V. M. (2002). Improving students' exam performance by introducing study strategies and goal setting. Teaching of Psychology, 29(2), 115-119.

Fuchs, L., Butterworth, J., & Fuchs, D. (1989). Effects of ongoing curriculum-based measurement on student awareness of goals and progress. Education and Treatment of Children, 12(1), 63-72.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Karns, K., Hamlett, C. L., Katzaroff, M., & Dutka, S. (1997). Effects of task-focused goals on low-achieving students with and without learning disabilities. American Educational Research Journal, 34(3), 513-543.

Fuchs, L. S., Bahr, C. M., & Rieth, H. J. (1989). Effects of goal structures and performance contingencies on the math performance of adolescents with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(9), 554-560.

Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal Educational Psychology, 99(3), 445-476.

Graham, S., MacArthur, C., Schwartz, S., & Page-Voth, V. (1992). Improving the compositions of students with learning disabilities using a strategy involving product and process goal setting. Exceptional Children, 58(4), 322-334.

Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (1993). The efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment. Confirmation from meta-analysis. The American Psychologist, 48(12), 1181-1209.

Meltzer, L. (2007). Executive function in education: From theory to practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Orsmond, P., Merry, S., & Reiling, K. (2002). The use of exemplars and formative feedback when using student derived marking criteria in peer and self-assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(4), 309-323.

Punnett, B. J. (1986). Goal setting and performance among elementary school students. Journal of Educational Research, 80(1), 40-42.

Sachs, A. (1984). Accessing scripts before reading the story. Learning Disability Quarterly, 7(3), 226-228.

Schunk, D. H. (1985). Participation in goal setting: Effects on self-efficacy and skills of learning-disabled children. Journal of Special Education, 19(3), 307-317.

Schunk, D. H. (1996). Goal and self-evaluative influences during children's cognitive skill learning. American Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 359-382.

Troia, G. A., & Graham, S. (2002). The effectiveness of a highly explicit, teacher-directed strategy instruction routine: Changing the writing performance of students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(4), 290-305.

Troia, G. A., Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (1999). Teaching students with learning disabilities to mindfully plan when writing. Exceptional Children, 65(2), 235-252.

Walberg, H. J. (1999). Productive teaching. In H. C. Waxman, & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), New directions for teaching practice and research (pp. 75-104). Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing Corporation.

Wise, K. C., & Okey, J. R. (1983). A meta-analysis of the effects of various science teaching strategies on achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 20(5), 415-425.

Wong, B. Y., Butler, D. L., Ficzere, S. A., & Kuperis, S. (1996). Teaching low achievers and students with learning disabilities to plan, write, and revise opinion essays. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(2), 197-212.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Anderson, A. (1997). Learning strategies in physical education: Self-talk, imagery, and goal-setting. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 68(1), 30-35.

Carroll, J., & Christenson, C. N. K. (1995). Teaching and learning about student goal setting in a fifth-grade classroom. Language Arts, 72(1), 42-49.

Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2004). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to assessment and intervention. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Elliot, A. J. (2005). A conceptual history of the achievement goal construct. In A. J. Elliot, & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 52-72). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Lemos, M. S. (1996). Students' and teachers' goals in the classroom. Learning and Instruction, 6(2), 151-171.

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Rose, D., & Rose, K. (2007). Executive function processes: A curriculum-based intervention. In L. Meltzer (Ed.), Executive function in education (pp. 287-308). New York: Guilford Press.

Schunk, D. H. (2003). Self-efficacy for reading and writing: Influence of modeling, goal setting, and self-evaluation. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 19(2), 159-172.

Last Updated: 02/01/2011

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