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What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?


What are S.M.A.R.T. goals? Smart goals are an acronym for truly delivering attainable goals for educators, business owners, or anyone seeking to achieve a goal. SMART stands for SpecificMeasurableAttainableRealistic, and Timely. Many times people try to set goals with little to no success in meeting the desired outcome. I am certainly not exempt to this trend as well.

Smart goals have been a conceptualized strategy for implementation for years. This strategy-based concept has lasted this long because it works.

Why Use S.M.A.R.T. Goals

My theory is that the adoption of S.M.A.R.T goals is a direct result of people not meeting goals. People need to know the “how” and “why” of their goals. In contrast, if people don’t know the “how’s” and “why’s” they will continue to make costly mistakes. Let’s begin by identifying what the acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for.



To meet a goal, you must identify what the objective is. Do this by being specific about the goal. The following are some examples:

Rather than saying…

Students will learn vocabulary appropriate to the class.

Be specific by stating…

Students will learn the following biology 101 vocabulary terms: cell, membrane, chlorophyll, and absorption.


Next, goals need to be measurable. By providing quantifiable components to your S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can know when you have met your objectives and track your results. Numerical values work well when assessing measurable results. Ask yourself how many, how much, how long, and many other measurable strategies.

Rather than saying…

Students will learn their multiplication tables.

Be measurable by stating…

By March 23, 2021, all 3rd-grade students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the multiplication table with multiples of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to 10.


The next step is to make sure your goals are attainable. Consider the student’s ability and the possibility of achieving your goal. Consider if the students have the background knowledge or skill to meet the goal. Is there motivation to learn? Also, is there enough time to accomplish everything?

Rather than saying…

Students will be able to play a chromatic scale by Monday, December 5.

Make the goal attainable by

Once students have finished learning all chromatic notes, they will be able to perform the one-octave chromatic scale successfully. Complete this within two weeks. The goal should be in whole notes where the quarter note equals 60 beats per minute.


Steps to being attainable relate to being realistic. Consider what type of struggles will be involved in meeting the goal. Remember, the challenge is not a bad thing if it is just out of reach when setting the objective. As a result, student learning will occur. Being realistic is a natural consideration when setting up your goals.

If goals are not realistic, then break your goals down into smaller objectives. Create a foundation of strong lesser skills that that can be part of the larger goal. Remember, realistic challenges help you grow as a learner.


Finally, make your goals timely. Create the pressure needed to take the objective seriously. If you don’t meet the scheduled goal, that is okay. Make a secondary scheduled goal. Some goals take minutes. Others take hours, days, months, and years. Accept it. We all meet goals on our terms.

Final Thoughts

S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you meet objectives that you might have previously failed to achieve. It is an excellent approach to self and classroom improvement. In conclusion, if your smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, you will have the educational scaffolding to meet any objective.



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